In a society where media is heavily prevalent, there will eventually come a time when all of us asks “does media change us?” In some ways, I believe it does. One of the biggest issues young people are facing today is the way media deals with body image. Models have gotten much more skinny, clear skin is a prize we’re all searching for and how others think of the way we dress is something that consumes us in the morning while we’re picking out an outfit.
Roles are assigned through media whether it be by the television shows or movies we watch, or simply by billboards we pass on the way to the mall. There are stores that are given a high brand recognition and those stores sell clothes to the “popular kids” while the lesser sell to the “nerds.” These stores were not simply opened and had these associations. They were worked for and earned by teams of people striving for brand recognition. And how did they do that exactly? Media. Advertising.
10 years ago, at the tender age of 13, the coolest clothing brand for teenage girls was American Eagle. These were the commercials you saw on television of skinny, tan, long hair, free spirited girls chasing boys by the ocean and all you could think was “I want to be like that girl.” How did we achieve that? By buying American Eagle. We were swept up in the brand and allowed media to tell us that if we didn’t wear American Eagle we weren’t the cool girls in school. We didn’t decide this for ourselves, someone else decided it for us and then it spiraled into our peers thinking it as well. Understanding who we actually were got more difficult because we were expected to fall into what society expected of us; not what we expected.