Images are powerful.
Every singe day, I see magazines, visit websites, watch TV, maybe even see a billboard or two. All of these have one thing in common: adverts. In fact, the average person sees around 400-600 adverts each and every day, and we see the people in them more often than we do our own families, and whether or not you want to admit it, these images will influence the things that you do, the way in which you behave, and the decisions you make.
Like I said, images are powerful.
There is one problem however. These images, and even the people in them, are not real. They are part of a constructed image, pieced together by stylists, set directors and Photoshop experts, creating an ideal image, made to sell a product, a brand, an idea.
Whether or not you want to believe it, these images can have an extremely damaging effect on the way we view ourselves and our mental health. Don’t believe me? I’ll give you an example I know to be true.
When I was just 12 years old, during an experiment in science, a technical error led to me being told that my BMI was 13, placing me in the “severely underweight” category. Obviously this is not a good thing, but from the reactions I got you’d think the exact opposite. Every girl that I told proceeded to congratulate me, offering up phrases such as “Well done” or “Good for you”, and in all honesty I was secretly proud of myself.
This attitude towards weight is not only unhealthy, but frightening. I am scared out of my mind that a group of twelve year old girls viewed the words “severely underweight” as a good thing, as something to aim for. Being severely underweight is something that can kill you, not a fucking goal.
The media creates such impossible images of supposed perfection, in turn making us see flaws in ourselves where there are none. Whether we’re being told to lose weight, or that we’re too skinny, there is always something that they want us to aim towards. Why? Like I said before, the companies that create these images want to sell us products, their marketing strategy? Create an unattainable standard and then tell us that their product and their product alone can help us reach that standard.It’s a vicious circle! Worse yet, this strategy trades in the mental and physical health of the masses in exchange for money in the pocket of the select few, all without batting an eyelid.
Personally, I am sick and tired of being told that I should base my self worth on how I look, or the number of inches around my waist, rather than the way I think, and I hope to hell that the next generation doesn’t have to deal with this bullshit.