"Dying" to be Beautiful Beautiful or else -- a message often presented in society, is often detrimental to the American public. The desire to be beautiful has received more attention by blinding the public with images of the "beautiful people." The extent of the message the media portrays to our society is more harmful than beneficial to the average person. The images depict the common person as unattractive which causes many to alter their figure to attain the media's vision of beauty. Unfortunately, these unrealistic pictures mostly affect self-conscious adolescents who are surrounded by images of what the media considers beautiful. Each day, adolescents are exposed to magazines with models who appear extremely emaciated along with men and women who have a perfect, muscular physique. These Calista Flockhart- and Arnold Schwarzenegger-like clones are not representatives of normal, everyday people, so they should not be considered images of beauty.

However, many young adults look up to these fake role models and imitate their appearance. Due to the impact that celebrities have on individuals from the younger generations, people now find themselves bombarded by young Brittany Spears "wannabes" wearing tiny mini skirts and naval-bearing shirts. Seventeen magazine even has a ludicrous section on how to look like a favorite celebrity; it includes ideas as to what clothes to wear and what kind of makeup should be used. The media's influence is driven by the spending power of the younger generation and has purposefully created a superficial generation. Many teenagers and adults have gone to extremes to attain the best, often deadly, appearance possible. Millions of misguided people, including celebrities, have died due to anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa; they are willing to risk their job, or their life to attain the image the media expects.

In 1983, Karen Carpenter, the promising lead singer of The Carpenters, died of heart failure due to anorexia nervosa, which can be attributed to the pressure she received from the media. Unfortunately, Karen Carpenter's story is not uncommon; many teenagers starve themselves due to self-image problems brought on by the media. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are just two reasons why the images the media portrays is disastrous to the American public. Likewise, to gain the Arnold Schwarzenegger image, the use of steroids has also increased among young adults resulting in health problems. Using steroids is a deadly risk since it can cause serious nerve and hormonal damage and affects the user's ability to control his temper. Even Schwarzenegger, who denies using steroids, is seeing the impact of his grueling work out schedules.

A local Centennial High School student, Parker Chamberlin, allegedly began abusing steroids, causing him to lose control and murder his mother. Many young men, similar to Chamberlin, are abusing steroids to extremes causing unpredictable "road rages." Many teenagers feel pressured to have rippling biceps or a "six-pack" stomach, causing the use of steroids to increase among adolescents. This inclination to appear "buff" affects everyone by causing harm to the abuser and his family. Media produced images are partly responsible for the insecurity many adolescents feel towards their body.

These daily images in the media of models and celebrities are often easy triggers for insecure adolescents to abuse themselves. The urgency to be beautiful often causes teenagers to turn to deadly alternatives to achieve the model appearance or athletic vigor. Instead of these fake role models, the media should have positive representations of what real beauty is. Hopefully, these new role models will destroy this shallow generation. Real beauty is achieved through a person's disposition and through benevolent. Therefore, anyone can be considered beautiful.

If someone has a cold heart and a hateful soul, then even all the masks created by the media cannot make the person beautiful. Thus, the media's images of beauty are only superficial; real beauty shines from within a person. An anonymous victim of anorexia once said, "I see myself very clearly, somewhere between fat and thin, but not yet perfect." As the quote illustrates, the media's images are causing many average, healthy adolescents to question their own body image. This never-ending struggle to be at the ultimate level of perfection leads to nothing but harm. Since the American public seems obsessed with being beautiful, the media should redefine the concept of beauty around being healthy, loving, and altruistic. Until we redefine the media's vision of beauty it can only continue to be detrimental to the public who live with these images daily..