Maybe it isn’t new information that the media is highly manipulative and uses imagery and other influences to mold your idea of what is beautiful. Though not new information, it is worth repeating. The media is influencing you - all the time.
The media uses an arsenal of tactics to attract and influence your perceptions. Take a look at a few here:
The media has an agenda: To sell more product and create either a vision of exclusiveness or bandwagoning about a trend. They want you to feel like the image you see is the epitome of excellence, beauty, success, or wealth. That all you need for life’s goals is the image they have created.
What does that do to your body image?
If you are one of the small percentages of people who meet the demographic depicted, it probably validates you. Outside of that small percentage, you likely feel inadequate, unqualified, left out, or some other negative way. It’s difficult to see an ideal when you don’t resemble what is being shown.
Here are some things to consider when you feel influenced by the media:
Things always change- Remember banana clips and stirrup pants? If you do, then you realize that they are not necessarily in style. Sorry if that is news to you. You may also remember the 1980’s when rounder, fuller-figures were the norm. Things always change. What is in style today - whatever is considered the perfect body type, hairstyle, skin color - is going to change. This is how industries keep people spending money. If we settled on one-and-done style, then there would be no reason to buy anything new. This is the focus of media and their push towards a new ideal.
The global community is varied- No matter what is deemed ideal in one area of the world, there is another area where something else - in stark contradiction - is preferred. If what you see in the media is making you feel bad about yourself, think globally and realize who you are and what you’ve got is absolutely perfect.
You’re not always their target audience- Media is targeting an audience. They do this because having an avatar is always the top priority in marketing. It’s possible that you aren’t their target and therefore won’t feel compelled to buy from them or be influenced by them. Don’t feel poorly about yourself if you aren’t the magnet to their steel.
Even they don’t believe what they are presenting- What you see the media promoting is the culmination of many things including digital enhancement and other sleights of hand tricks. If you were sitting in planning meetings with companies, you’d see that the people making the decisions are not always flawless. They are everyday people just like you and me. They likely don’t believe what they are presenting as the only way to be, look, or experience their product, but they must take a position and sell it through their marketing.
In the end, none of it matters- In the end, none of this matters. How you look is irrelevant to the blind. What brand of face cream you use won’t make you a better mom. Holding a cup with a green straw and mermaid won’t make your life magical. In the end, all that matters is being true to yourself and those you love most.
The media has an agenda and it isn’t connected to yours 100% of the time. When the imagery, message, and product are right for you, there will be a connection. Outside of this, keep your head and your heart guarded and know that there are a million ways to show up in this world and the media is only focused on one at a time.
One of my favorite books is Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, and one of the great lessons Morrie teaches is "if the culture doesn't fit, don't buy it." And this little gem has inspired me to be authentic and true to myself. It helps open the way for me to live a very personal, enriching, and Intentional Life.
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