Thursday, June 30, 2016

Body Image

Before we start, let's take a page from the Positive Bunny notebook:

During the summer, it can be easy to get swept up in the wave of aesthetic pressures and expectations enforced by the media.  I'm noticing more and more now just how much of the media is driven by advertisements and the need to "sell" things, and while I do admittedly enjoy movies and magazines and even some television shows, I always have to make a point of it to remember that most of what is shown in the media is highly edited. Advertisements and photo shoots, etc., don't show us reality--they show us an artistic interpretation of it, and they often intend to sell us something.  I keep thinking of an episode of Mad Men when Don and Peggy are trying to develop an ad for a so-so product and someone realizes that the best way to market it is to make consumers feel like there's something "wrong" for them that the product can "fix."  By nature, we are generally unsatisfied with ourselves, and our insecurities enable media messages to swoop in and convince us that a) our flaws are unacceptable and b) they can be cured (for a price, of course).  I'm not trying to point fingers or be a hater (I enjoy finding the right shade of concealer just as much as the next person does), but it's really very sad when media messages and advertising get so stuck in our heads that we lose sight of what's really important and develop completely distorted perceptions of what's "normal" and "real." Our standards become skewed--all of a sudden, we think that anything other than a toned physique and unblemished skin is unacceptably imperfect, and sometimes we even become so obsessed with achieving the "ideal" that we let go of everything that used to be important to us, our physical and mental health included.  Happiness becomes less and less attainable the more addicted we become to "perfection," and what's really crazy is that the idealistic image we're striving for isn't even real. It's the result of a lot of editing and fine-tuning, and it's pretend, but we let it control our lives and make us feel guilty over normal little things like pores and wrinkles.  This needs to be the summer that we free our minds and free our lives so that we can actually enjoy them and do meaningful things with them. No, photo editing software, you are not in charge of what we think is beautiful, and we will appreciate our bodies and our lives no matter how much you want us to believe we need to look a certain way or buy a certain brand to be happy.  Image doesn't equal happiness.  Experience equals happiness.  Love equals happiness.  And a magazine ad is never going to love us. 

<3 Frances

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