Thursday, October 31, 2013

Unattainable Beauty - Paying the Price For the Media's Portrayal!

The American people are fortunate enough to live in country and a society that is compiled and influenced by many different cultures. Like the colors of the seasons, each culture has an intense contribution to what our society deems to be appealing. The term beauty can be interpreted in so many different ways. In terms of physicality, anything from full lips to wide hips can gain attention and spark a trend. Our view of beauty can be appreciated from many different angles but the point of view most relied upon and considered to be acceptable comes to us from the vessels of the media. The media studies and observes the latest trends and definitions of beauty and delivers them to the nation with the hopes of enticing emotions and inducing action. Within the process of editing and delivering a fresh perspective or twist to the consideration of beauty, what often ends up on the cutting room floor is the emphasis on the importance of inner beauty. Our culture has put inner beauty in the same category as a foreign language, meaning, it's a valuable asset to have, but not necessarily possessed by everyone.Studies suggest that the media's portrayal and deliverance of beauty trends are most damaging to young women, namely little girls who are spending every free moment that they have imitating and idolizing what's considered to be beauty according to what they see on television. Our young girls are under a tremendous amount of stress and anguish trying to survive in a world with standards of unattainable beauty. One of the most contributing factors holding up the trey of unattainable beauty is the popularity in music videos that easily suggests that the only way to be considered attractive and worthy of attention is to wear your clothing as tight and as bare as possible(among other things). The only defense of such portrayal is that "sex sells", but what is not included in the debate is what does it cost the buyer?Lack of positive reflections:There is an entire generation that has been heavily influenced by the term "sex sells" and what we are seeing when we turn on our the televisions and when we go to the movies is a direct result of this influential way of thinking. The pressures of having sex and being sexual are almost a prerequisite for the entrance into society. Life can be challenging to the development of a girl's self-esteem. The majority of its development will be spent by comparing that to which is unattainable rather than the exploration and appreciation of everything that makes her unique. Our society rarely embraces what is "different" unless there is a way to make money off of it. Our young girls are being reduced to a product in terms of where they fit in on the opinion pages of society. Instead of esteeming them, decision makers and marketers are in quiet discussion rooms figuring out ways to influence them into feeling that the way that God made them is not good enough, and they are experimenting with different ways to get them to invest in products that will make them believe that they can look like someone else. These same people are then shaking their heads at young single mothers and those who are paying the consequences for trusting in the media's influence more than they trusted in themselves. We live in a society that supports the enticement of emotions in order to make money and then punish the very people that they target by supporting laws that cutback the programs and the assistance that these young mothers and young people need after they find out that society doesn't have a return policy on the lies that they sell!To attain societies statures of beauty would be just like trying to reach a star or a cloud in the sky and it makes it that much easier for people to give up and to believe that what they posses is not beauty. To believe that you are not beautiful and uniquely made is the source of where most low self esteem comes from and it is a proven fact that low self esteem leads to bad decision making, not just for women, but for men as well. With the influence of society and the media's power of portrayal so heavily upon us, our young people are finding it much easier to believe that the chances of appearing in a music video are much greater than the opportunities to go to college. There are some people that reverence the media so much that their only desire in life is to be featured on it in any way possible!Race has even taken a hit in the debate on the media's influence of beauty. It is not often that you will see a "beautiful" African American woman splattered all over television or on magazine covers unless it is specifically catered for the African American culture. It is not often that you will see the appreciation in the many shades and sizes that she's created in being properly utilized. The over excessive portrayal of her being on drugs, on welfare, and "down in out", has deferred the faucet of exposure that would allow the world to see the many intricate parts of her. Studies show that it is more likely for a Caucasian woman to see herself portrayed in many different areas of beauty and success on a regular basis than that of her counterpart (meaning woman of other races), thus being another opportunity to keep the issues of race and inequality alive. Our young girls turn on the television looking to see a positive image of themselves. They hope to see someone doing something that they can aspire to achieve for themselves. They want to see an example of someone that looks just like them who has concurred the odds and is successful not simply because of the way that they look, but because of positive contributions that they have made to the world... So with that being said...Why aren't there enough positive images on Television to fight back the negative influences and one-sided portrayals? Why haven't the media executives recognized the market for such an audience that would appreciate a refreshing outlook of the world? Why would they believe that it wouldn't sell?Let's shield our little girls:The importance of inner beauty is being left out side of the lesson plans in most households and social settings. Lessons in inner beauty are like a shield against the threats of vanity. A young woman that knows who she is, is a force to be reckoned with, and in order for her to know who she is, she has to know what she is not! She is not defined by her race or her physical attributes but she is defined by her God given talents and her desire to use them. It is her passion that sets her apart and it is her uniqueness that makes her bold. It is her knowledge of God that builds her confidence in a world that wishes to belittle her. Teach her that it is what a person does and what they choose to believe in that sets the atmosphere for success, and that their looks play no significant part in the goal of an abundant life.We need to teach our girls about the inconsistencies found within what's considered to be beauty, and how little value outer beauty really has. Outward beauty is nice to have but an ugly inward presence can seep through and ruin it all, therefore; we must take care of the inward so that it shines through the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance or on the height o his stature; because I have refused him, for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart. The outward appearance has little importance concerning the things of God. It is what's hidden on the inside that makes a person valuable. Teach them how to appreciate the way that God made them and how important their attributes are to their purpose (however unique or challenging they may be). Beautiful attributes are not always physical but it is in what we think of, our speech, the way that we treat people, and the way that we handle our situations that reflect true beauty. A solid foundation is what creates longevity and a person's foundation can only be solid if the proper things are invested in it. I encourage you to talk to your little girls and find out how they define beauty. Cultivate their self-esteem with the nutrients of love and God's words so that the world won't have the opportunity to do it.