By: Shelby Santin,
Everday we are bombarded with images from media. All of these images in some way or another attempt to tell us something about ourselves- how we should look, what we should wear and how we should act. This undoubtedly can have an effect on our self-esteem. It is impossible to escape these images because they are pervasive in our society, and this can be very discouraging. We do, however, have control over how we react to these images. I like to think of these negative media messages as a bully who needs to make others feel bad about themselves in order to gain power- if you take away their effect on you, you take away their power. Here are some tips on how to be a critical viewer of the media and deminish the power of the media on self-esteem:
1. Keep in mind that Images in Media are not real: Models in advertisements and in magazines have been significantly altered from how they actually look. Photoshop and professional make-up can make face features farther or closer together, muscles look bigger and more defined and waist lines slimmer. The dove commercial ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U
) a great job of highlighting the powers of photo shop.
2. Nothing is Done by Accident: Everything shown in an advertisement is done for a reason. Just remember it is trying to sell you something. When you look at an ad try to identify what product or idea it is trying to promote. Separate the product or idea from the image shown to you and point out the tecniques used to manipulate the consumer into buying the product.
3. Be an Active Viewer: Many media images have underlying message about the role of women in society or the perception of beauty in our society etc. When you are presented with an image that makes you feel uneasy- say it out loud. Talk with your friends about what this ad is trying to convey and why it is problematic.
4. Focus on Yourself: I think that the biggest problem with these media messages is how they prompt us to compare ourselves to these images, even though they are not reality. When looking at an image instead of comparing focus on all the things that you love about yourself. Read http://empoweredeatingblog.com/blog/its-valentines-day-what-better-what-to-celebrate-than-loving-your-body/ to learn more about building confidence by focusing on things we love about ourselves.