At an elementary school age I remember looking through a women's magazine showing models in bikinis and halter tops. I remember looking at the models thinking they were so pretty and how I couldn't wait until I grew up so I could look like them.
At the age of 10, I didn't have a big chest, I was under 5 feet tall, and I didn't have the magazine body. As a child looking at the models in the magazine, I couldn't wait for the day to come when I was going to look like a pretty model too.
Beautiful men and women would constantly show up in magazines, on television, and on billboards. I learned quickly that the images portrayed in the media were considered to be the ideal. I wanted to look like the scantily clad pictures of women with thin figures because they were not only beautiful but because I wanted to be "ideal" too.
As a child, I sensed the media world somehow preceded over the real world. I remember seeing pretty faces at school, in the neighborhood, and in the public setting. But, the real faces and bodies I would see in the real world still didn't seem to match the images of people I would see in the magazines, on television, or in movies. It seemed as if the media world magically found all of these beautiful perfect people for the magazines, the television and the big screen.
As I grew older, I eventually learned that the images portrayed in the media were computerized images of the same people I saw at school, in the neighborhood and in the public setting. I learned how technology can turn a human being into what the media considers to be the perfect image.
The media is here for a reason. The media "sells." Real human beings work behind the scenes by using advanced technology to create perfect images. The media uses technology to stimulate our human eyes which in turn creates an emotional response for us to desire to purchase the product. Visual enhancement sells.
At the age of 10, I was focused on more than the "product" in the fashion magazine. The little polka dotted halter top was cute, but I was also focused on the pictures of beautiful and happy young women. I thought, "When I am in my early 20's, I will be happy, have nice boobs, and have a thin body. Life will be perfect when I am around 20 years old."
The problem was that I was only 10 years old and I didn't want to wait 10 more years to be happy and have the perfect body and life. It wasn't that I wasn't happy as a child. I had a great childhood. But the idea of permanence existed when looking at the models. Every time I opened magazines, the same happy faces and beautiful bodies appeared wearing the most adorable clothing or lack-there-of.
To this day, I remember how badly I wanted to have the polka dotted halter top. But I was only 10 and I didn't have cleavage. I figured by the age of 20 that my boobs would grow to at least the size of the pretty model's boobs and by that time I could happily wear adorable halter tops too. My body image was subconsciously being affected just by viewing the pretty, happy, thin, big-breasted models.
At the age of 34, I continue to notice the same effects the media has on society's perception of the perfect body and our body image can be affected as a result. For example, there seems to be an increase in the number of individuals going under the knife in an effort to obtain the "perfect body".
So my questions begin...Are we relying on the media to tell us what the perfect body should look like? Do we believe that if we obtain the "perfect body" then the result will be happiness? Is the media powerful because it stimulates emotions of desire and happiness? If the media portrayed natural, unedited images to the world, then would we be a more "humanized" society?
These questions don't have absolute answers. These questions may trigger personal thoughts and beliefs about our society in general, however.
As I stated in the first paragraph, I will not be waiting to see computerized photos of individuals eating mouth watering fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Most likely we will continue to see beautiful models and the American family eating Hardee's double cheese burgers and fries. The media will continue to market unhealthy foods to society. Our emotions will continue to be triggered as a response. But as human beings we also have the ability to refocus our thinking.
The next time you see a commercial or billboard showing perfectly golden crispy french fries beside a fresh ground meat patty oozing with melted cheese and toppings all between a soft risen sesame bun, try to focus on the commercial or billboard itself. Challenge yourself and pick out specific marketing words that are used, shadowing effects, enhanced coloring or other marketing strategies that are used to make the commercial or billboard visually enhanced. Understand that the images portrayed from the media have been technologically enhanced.
And the next time you see a magazine or internet photo of a smoking hot model, keep in mind these images have been edited and enhanced for "beauty." A great deal of time is spent fine-tuning these photos with enhancements such as: color contrast, cropping, shadowing, wrinkle smoothing, blemish fixing, weight adjusting, facial and body part shaping, hair smoothing, teeth whitening, eye pop and tinting.
These perfect face and body images as well as food images are here to stay. We can chose to let the media portray to us what we should believe the benchmark of health and happiness should be or we can choose to think for ourselves. We can choose to take responsibility for our own health and happiness and do our own research on what is scientifically proven to be beneficial for our health.
I am positive you will not find scientific evidence that fast food hamburgers and french fries provides the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies needs for optimal health and happiness. I am positive you will find scientific evidence that a diet filled with fruits and vegetables coupled with exercise not only provides our bodies with essential vitamins and minerals but also leads to better health and happiness.
And finally, I am nearly positive we will continue to have enhanced computerized images with models eating double bacon cheeseburgers and triple chocolate ice cream bars surrounding us on a daily basis.
Perhaps the next time a product is trying to be sold, you will be able to focus solely on the product versus the product's deliverance.
If you would like to experiment yourself to see just how easy it is to change the way something looks with the use of technology, try one of the on-line photo editing programs. I used http://fotor.com to get a taste of how the media impacts our society.
|100% Computer Enhanced|