By Jessica Fraser
As I stood in line waiting to pay for my groceries this past weekend, I couldn’t help glancing over some of the magazine headlines near the register. As I skimmed over petty gossip on the covers, I did a double take as I read, “Lose 30 pounds in three weeks!”
You have got to be kidding me.
The only way I could lose 30 pounds in three weeks would be if someone cut off my head and then removed most of my thigh. And then chopped off my thumbs (I have big thumbs). Not only is it nearly impossible for a normal human to lose 30 pounds in three weeks, but this type of advertising is a prime example of how media is brainwashing our society. In addition to being completely ridiculous, almost all forms of popular media bombard our minds with promises and images that warp our perception of what we are supposed to look like.
Every day, we are exposed to images of skinny women with brilliantly-white smiles, flawless skin and perfectly proportionate curves. We see photographs of men who look like they spend their entire lives in the gym and who only consume protein shakes and raw eggs. The media paints an image of what the ideal body should be, and we believe it.
Why else would magazines succeed with advertisements that promise dramatic weight loss or overnight abs? The media knows that, as a society, we have bought into the idea of what the “perfect” body should be. They can assume that women want to lose weight and that men want to be strong and muscular.
The problem isn’t the desire to want to look good–I think that everybody tries to look his or her best. I don’t know of a single person who gets ready for the day and thinks, “Gosh, I hope I look really ugly today!” Of course not. We want to look good and feel good about ourselves. The problem is that we believe the lie that the media presents. We are measuring ourselves against the impossible ideal that they have created, and we will never be content if we are constantly trying to reach this unattainable goal.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), the body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only five percent of American females.
Measuring ourselves against society’s ideal is dangerous because it causes dissatisfaction and discontentment. Many people even wonder if the media is to blame for eating disorders and low self-esteem, particularly among women. According to ANAD, 47 percent of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures, and 69 percent of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
We are so caught up with wanting to lose weight that we will go to extreme measures.
According to ANAD, 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. Twenty five percent of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.
It is hard to live in a society that is so critical. It is easy to believe that we are not good enough because we do not meet an unrealistic standard. But we need to reevaluate from where we derive our self-worth. If your self-worth comes from society’s standards and opinions, I am afraid to inform you that you will live a life full of dissatisfaction. You will never be able to be skinny enough, strong enough or “perfect” enough. Why? Because society says so. Look at the magazine covers. Want to lose 30 pounds overnight? Remove a chunk of your thigh. Or consider decapitation.
On a serious note, remember who actually gives you your worth.
Our Father sits on a heavenly throne. We were fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe—a true King. And as sons and daughters of the King, we are all princes and princesses. Royalty is in our bloodline.