The Media and its Effect on Our Self Image

By: Andrew

It seems to me that corporations and the media in modern times love to shove their own versions of ideals down their consumer’s throats. Not only do they try to sell us their products, but they also tell us how we should look, behave, and what we should like.

Many of the advertisements that I see today have either extremely masculine men, or extremely effeminate women in them. The male is usually well built, muscular, and follows the ‘alpha male’ image. The woman is hardly ever normal sized; they are usually rather thin, “gorgeous”, and “model-like”.  Although many people know that these images are usually altered, I believe that this well-known information does not register in the viewer’s minds when they see such ads.

I think that most people who see these images in magazines, on television, in movies, and in advertisement realize that they have been altered, but speaking from personal experience, it can be easy to forget the truth behind these airbrushed images. This portrays the message “if you use this product, you will be like the person that we have modeling for it.” This, of course, is not true. You probably will not be swamped by hordes of the opposite sex by using a product, which is endorsed by a celebrity who has had their own image altered by a digital medium.

Furthermore, I feel that this recent explosion of digital image alteration, and the media’s depiction of physical perfection is irreversibly changing how people think of beauty. It seems that more and more people are concerned with how they look, as if it would be the end of the world if they had a bad hair day. This abundance of altered pictures and media has caused the general public to attempt and strive for this impossible perfection. By doing so, they waste their time, energy, and money, and in my opinion, destroy their self-worth by chasing this unattainable goal. I do not doubt that this never-ending chase could be a source of depression and low self esteem in people, as I have observed in a couple of friends.

With more and more of these image alterations being used to show the subject as nearly “perfect” by today’s standards, I think that many people take these images to heart, as it is easy to forget that even the celebrities shown on television and movies cannot achieve this perfection without the aid of computers. It is a shame that we are allowing our ideals to be shaped by corporations and the media, rather than being content and accepting ourselves for who we are.

Kelly Clarkson Before and After Photoshop Alterations

Male Model Before Photoshop

Male Model After Photoshop

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