TV Turn Offs: The Dark Side of Media

Print More

Television, magazines and digital Internet content play huge roles in what my generation does. We depend on the latest trend to be in sync, or the quickest way to lose weight to be "perfect."

The truth is, "perfect" is what separates us from one another. When we spend our time and energy on competing for perfection, we can’t truly be allies. We are only out for ourselves.

Reality shows depict teens getting drunk, having sex, being bullies and taking drugs. These people are considered the cool kids. They are the ones who have all the friends, who are the most liked and the best athletes in school.

AaliyahSmithHeadshot

Think about MTV’s "16 and Pregnant, "Awkward," "Finding Carter" and the "Teen Mom" franchise. These shows actually make teenagers like me think that in order to be "cool," I have to lose my virginity before sophomore year in high school or I have to smoke and drink at parties. They celebrate the kids who don’t party and don’t get good grades. What message does that send?

One would have to go to non-reality TV to find an example of a clumsy, awkward young woman who has brains and is successful. I’m talking about ABC’s highly successful "Ugly Betty," that ran from 2006-2010. It is ironic that we have to look to fiction to find a bit of reality.

I used to ask myself why people said glasses were for nerds or girls with blonde hair were unintelligent. But now I know why. The media tells them that it is okay to bully brunettes with glasses and good grades.

I feel that sometimes media has brainwashed this whole generation.

Magazines like Seventeen only show the pretty girls who are skinny and clear- faced. They show the tall guy with the abs and nicely fit clothes. They all wear brand new Prada and Michael Kors.

The girls all look the same, wearing the finest makeup and clothes, the best shoes and the most expensive jewelry. Those girls and boys are considered to each be the dream person. The person you want to be.

Even the images of teen girls, with their cleavage shown to the extreme, and their long eyelashes, can make you feel out of place. Researchers studying the images of girls in magazines show that the number of sexualized images of young girls and women has been steadily increasing over the past decade and more ("’Putting On’ Sexiness").

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t looked in the mirror and called myself ugly after looking at a magazine full of pretty models. It’s sad to think that you will not fit in because you’re not a size two or your hair isn’t 16 inches long.

Sometimes I feel pressured to do what all the other teens are doing because I want popularity, I want the looks and I want the attention.

Mostly every teen does.

That’s why media feeds off of our emotions and promotes things that are hard to ignore because they make you feel like mostly everyone has it but you.

Yes, I do not have to watch the TV shows or read the magazines or click on the ads. I have a choice. True, there is no way of stopping what media delivers or what comes onto television.

A study from Texas A&M International University last year showed that peers have more influence on a young woman’s body image than media does.

But I still believe the pressure starts from what we see in the media.

All we can do is hope that in 2015 everyone can be accepted as their own unique selves and that maybe we can have another vision of what it means to be a dream person. That it can be someone who does not look or act like everyone else.

Comments are closed.