Media thinks thin



Courtesy Photo

Josie Pacana

— A while ago, I was leafing through a magazine when I came across a picture of a really thin girl and her stick-figure friends laughing with their super hot boyfriends while eating ice cream on a beach.

A message ran across the page that basically said, "She's just like you; if you used a certain brand of face wash." Oh, if only I had known about those face washes that change lives sooner.

The whole time while reading, I was thinking, "Yes, she's just like me; if I decided to be emaciated and threatened a hot guy at gunpoint to worship me." The thought passed, and I flipped the page, only to be bombarded by more pictures of more thin girls selling more facial cleansers.

Nearly every page had an anorexic-looking girl on it, as if that were the norm in our society. After finishing the magazine, I decided that there could be a small connection between these skeleton figures and the eating disorders of America.

Everywhere you look, there are messages telling us all that we should be thin from diet pill commercials, anorexic celebrity tabloids (cough, Nicole Richie, cough), or the air of thinness that seems to walk hand in hand with acceptance and popularity. It isn't enough to be a healthy weight or have an average body mass index anymore.

We, as a culture, aspire to be perfect, and often a synonym for perfect is thin for young adults. God forbid we eat and gain five pounds because then we might get (gasp) fat and move up a size in jeans.

It isn't enough to shop for a medium-size shirt, we have to be a small, or, if we're very good, an extra-small. Our clothing size has come to determine our worth as a person.

Steamboat Springs High School student Molly Parsons, 14, said, "I think that no matter where you look, the media influences teens in general, all over our country, even in our small town of Steamboat."

Until recently, women desired to be curvy. In many cultures, being plumper is considered a good thing because it means you can afford the luxury of food.

America was this way for a while, but ever since images of Kate Moss and Twiggy became popular, many females have had the notion that thinness is the key to happiness.

Most people don't realize that this is a view through rose-colored lenses; anorexic people live lives of hurt and constant worry. If the media didn't make starving yourself seem so attractive, there would not be nearly as many cases of eating disorders.

The media has a huge impact on society, especially on the still-developing minds of teenage girls. If you walked through the halls of Steamboat Springs High School, you would never guess that 60 percent of America's population was overweight. Surely students' thinness can be attributed to athletics, but that cannot account for all cases.

The media has spread its tentacles of influence throughout society, and that includes our oasis. We need to be on alert for the subliminal messages that riddle the media. Only then can we start to fight this disease of thinness and begin to be happy with ourselves for who we are and not what others say we should be.


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