Depression of Happiness " Oh my God Becky look at her butt! It's so big." An excerpt from a very popular rap song describes a fast growing number of girls who believe they are fat no matter what anyone else or the scale tells them. Since they can remember scantly clad models and celebrities have been parading if front of them on a daily basis. This is causing a widespread epidemic of impressionable young girls who do whatever it takes to look like celebrities such as Calista Flockhart or Lara Flynn Boyle. The majority of girls growing up today learn a false lesson at a very early age that unless they look a certain way, society will deem them ugly and fat.
The media plays a major part in this challenge. Most girls can recall being force fed the ways they should look or act. The media attributed to this by weight loss commercials for magic diet pills, reality TV shows such as the Swan or Extreme Makeover, and seeing that the only people that get to be on TV are super thin. In the weight loss commercials, they would show a medium overweight person who then magically transforms in three weeks into a beautiful confident person who can now wear a string bikini. This can show young girls that if they take a magic diet pill or do the South Beach Diet they can look just like the beautiful confident person in the bikini.
This can be detrimental because the young girls do not learn healthy eating habits, instead they learn that they have to look a certain way or they almost kill themselves trying. Reality TV shows such as the Swan or Extreme Makeover can show young girls that with the help of ten experts anyone can look pretty. These girls are living in a society where just a little plastic surgery and dental work can make anyone attractive. It is true, but they need to find the little person inside waiting to come out and show them that it is alright to look different as long as you are healthy. As Ellen Goodman proves how the media can change someone's views of themselves, in her essay Going Thin, Goodman observes "In just thirty eight months, and with only one major channel a TV-free culture that impact defined a fat person as robust has become a TV culture that sees robust as, well, repulsive" (91).
For the entire existence of their native people, Fiji saw being robust as healthy and a good social status. In little more then two years their culture has completely changed. That is a really big difference, and it goes to show that TV has a major affect on society. TV is not the only contributor to this challenge.
Movies and fashion magazines also impact young girls' body image. Sure, celebrities do pack on an extra twenty pounds for certain movie roles, or when they decide to have a child. Two to three weeks later they are back in the spotlight and it looks like they did not gain a pound. Many girls don't understand that many of these celebrities spend lots of money for personal trainers, nutritionists, and chefs to shed the weight they had gained. So what do some girls do to shed the holiday pounds or to keep their figure? They can vomit everything they eat, starve themselves, exercise profusely, use laxatives, or they can use the same magic diet pill they saw on the TV commercial. Some girls do lose the weight by increasing their activity and decreasing their calories, but some feel that it takes too long and they have a date Friday night.
Fashion magazines are just now starting to promote healthy eating and good exercise habits. It used to be that they would feature the latest styles and leave it up to the girls on how exactly they were supposed to fit into those fashions. Now magazines like Seventeen, include healthy recipes and safe exercise techniques that anyone can do. Now that it has been brought to their attention some of the media is taking baby steps to aid this challenge. If you take a step back and think about the media and what they are doing to our girls, it is not intentional. But, even though they do not mean it, it is hurting millions of girls around the world.
Whether the girls are going to the extreme and starving themselves or just wearing clothes that are a few sizes too big to cover up themselves, it is everywhere. It is not just only the girls, but the boys are going through it also. The boys use the same negative weight loss techniques or they are using steroids so they can be on the football team. This is a widespread epidemic that needs to brought down to its knees and be eliminated. There is no way to cut out the media or the pro-eating disorder sites without violating their freedom of speech. The only way to help these girls is to inform them about healthy ways of loosing weight and showing them how deadly it is to use eating disorders as a form of weight control.
These girls need to be helped before it is too late and we go further into this depression of happiness.