Growing up, I used to watch America’s Next top model and read magazines that always focused around beautiful women with flawless figures. The way that the media creates body images for young girls is a contributing factor to why young girls have self image issues. Can you remember the last time you saw a plus size model on the cover of a magazine? A slightly larger woman reporting the weather? Probably not, because unless you are in pristine shape, your hair is perfectly died and styled, the media will not publicize you. My niece who is 6 years old wears lipstick and makeup. She doesn’t have her own products, but she still has something on for nearly every holiday. Why? Because she thinks that make up is what it takes to be beautiful! Even at six years old a person can see the influence that has been bestowed upon her. To make it worse, Toys R Us sells make up kits, as well as many other stores. They sell fake colored hair, and high heels as well. Rather then promote natural beauty, they promote artificiality in hopes of selling a product. The show Toddlers and Tiaras takes beautiful young girls and essentially turns them into dolls. They don’t even look real half of the time! The worst part is that they do it purely to get ratings and for our own entertainment. These young girls have the unfortunate feeling of “needing” to be good enough. It is hard to explain to my 6 year old niece that these photos have been edited on the computer. She thinks that there is actually a girl our there that looks that way! Of course I am not suggesting that tv show start broadcasting the most obese and unattractive people they can find. I would, however, have the ability to connect to a show if the characters were relatable.
This little girl thinks she is overweight (click here)
Another thing that I remember from my childhood, was all the disney movies. The plot went along the lines of a prince riding in on his white horse to rescue the princess and save the day. Disney, in a way, provided a falsehood of what relationships are essentially like in the real world. As a young girl I thought I understood love, having read a lot of book or watched a lot of movies. However, Disney is not realistic, and if I teach my daughter anything it is going to independence. “There is a difference between a man who flatters her and a man who compliments her. A man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her. A man who views her as property and a man who views her properly. A man who lusts after her and a man who loves her….” The nice thing about Disney movies then and now is that they seem to realize that woman can be independent, and they portray them as such. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she doesn’t need a man in her life, and that she can be equally successful without one!
Now more then ever, because of the media’s influence, there is an added stress on parents to raise their child to be confident and strong in their own body. It is impossible to avoid seeing the television shows, movies, commercial for new makeup products, and the over all pressure that society places on young woman today, but with the right strong mentality they can live their life and not be influenced. Times have definitely changed and woman don’t have to take on the full house wife, stay at home, responsibilities. There are job openings and positions for woman in higher up companies. We as woman just need to learn to withstand the various amounts of pressure that society and the media put onto us.