Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Do We Let Celeberties Set the Fasion Trends?

Have you ever looked back at old photo albums, seen what you were wearing and almost cried? For me, eighth grade was the peak of all my fashion catastrophes. This was when I was certain oversized t-shirts, shoulder pads, and excessive bronzer was the way to go.

In Hollywood, fashion slip-up’s don’t hide in old yearbooks, instead, they are plastered across magazines, “worst dressed” lists, and “fashion don’t” tips for all to take note of. We’ve all seen our fair share of Brittany Spears, Amy Weinhouse, and Lil’ Kim trying to put their own spin on fashion and having it bite them in the you know what time and time again. Or the “repeat offenders” like Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan who get ridiculed for wearing their $3,500 Gucci bag more than once, when most of us can barely afford the zipper on it?

Most celebrities hire stylists, make-up artists and hairdressers to make sure they look perfect 24/7. And although we hate to admit it, we associate many styles with different celebrities. We all know Paris Hilton is infamous for her color coordination, even having two cars that match the majority of her outfits; a pink and a powdered-blue Bently. Justin Timberlake’s casual-cool style is identifiable throughout the country. While Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy looks funny without his messenger hat, no one can forget Madonna’s cone-shaped bra. Fashion is more than what type of material you wear, it gives celebrities a stamp. Fashion is supposed to reflect your personality and originality but many people loose their distinct style as they empty their bank accounts and try to duplicate the unaffordable styles of many celebrities. Jessica Simpson toting a Bulga bag. Lindsay Lohan wearing a Dolce & Gabbana gown. Katie Holmes buying Koi Placebo jeans. In nearly every fashion and entertainment magazine on the stands, at least one page is dedicated to what celebrities are wearing. So how does this impact the way we, the non-star-studded general public, dress?

To understand why we obsess over which pair of sunglasses Ashley Olsen is wearing or which handbag Sarah Jessica Parker is carrying, we must first ask the question:

Why are people so obsessed with celebrities in the first place?

“Stars seem to fulfill a fantasy that almost all of us share; that we can throw off the past, transcend the realities of our lives and be reborn as singular selves whose importance can't be denied," explains Michael Joseph Gross, author of the book Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame.

If stars fill our personal aspirations of fame and fortune, then it seems only natural that wearing garments similar to theirs will put us one step closer to living out that dream. To many, “Stars are models of what is to be acceptable, or acceptably rebellious or even acceptably geeky. In high school, you're desperate for shortcuts to acceptance, so you go for that preppy outfit from Sixteen Candles or Eminem's baggy jeans or whatever, because it gives you some security and street cred." (Gross, M)

Throwing on celebrity’s fashion ideas may give fans a healthy dose of self-esteem, but did you ever stop to wonder how celebrities feel about their fans, and what they think about their admirers dressing like them? Many times celebrities are curious about their fans. This is because many times celebrities identify with their fans because many of them are fans themselves. Even the biggest names in the celebrity world are attempting to dress like the stars they most admire, for example Christina Aguilera channeling Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears mimicking Madonna and Simpson imitating Bridget Bardot. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, and no one understands that mentality better than corporate America. Once companies realized the affect celebrity branding had on the masses, celebrities began popping up in ad campaigns for items ranging from high-end designer goods to aspirin and cigarettes. These companies convince you that you identify with that celebrity. “Glo” by Jlo will make you smell just like her, or a certain jewelry will make you glitter and stand out like Paris Hilton. Consumers feel closer to their favorite celebrity by buying the products they advertise with.

With the Internet, it's becoming increasingly easy to buy what your favorite celeb is endorsing. Through Web sites like , fans can log on, find out what their favorite blond singer and actress has recently been spotted in, and then purchase that item right then and there. Fans can also track Lohan at , Nicole Richie at and the cast of the television series The O.C. at These Web sites offer a new frontier in bringing fans one step closer to their favorite stars. Many of these sites have helped redefine the way celebrities dress, which is a plus for their fans. Celebrities understand are the trendsetters of our time, so instead of wearing Dolce and Gabana and couture all the time, they are wearing clothing and accessories that are more accessible to the general public. Celeberties are now shopping at places like or, which makes it easier to imitate their style.

So while many of us are goggling the most trendy purse of the season, the other half of us are reading and hearing about the new gossip about their favorite celebrity. Especially in this dire economy, distraction plays a key role in helping us to avoid some of the inevitable stress that permeates our everyday lives. Why focus on your problems, when you can spend hours chatting about the tragedy of young lovers Chris Brown & Rihanna? And who needs to sulk behind your lack of shopping funds when you can surf the web to find pictures of Mary J. Blige on a perpetual shopping spree in the most expensive shopping districts of NYC? But in reality, celebrities are flesh and blood, just like us, but these days, the entertainment they provide includes virtually every aspect of their lives.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Under/Misrepresented: Media’s Portrayal of Women

The media has put so many constraints on how society is able to define the term woman as there is almost no diversity in the messages they are sending the public. On a superficial level, the looks of the women allowed to appear in the media, particularly those in the fashion industry, put a strain on the average woman by narrowly defining beauty as tall, as slender as possible and blonde. The attack on what an ideal woman should look like is what offends me least.

It is the limited roles women play within our media that are furthering old stereotypes and molding the idea of what a women should be to a few clear standards. Women are incomplete unless they get a man and then keep him satisfied. They are either completely passive or dominating and overly sexual. There is no middle ground and either way the focus of their lives involves pleasing a man. This is evident in television, print media and particularly in advertising.


            Women’s portrayal within television shows is wrong on various levels. To begin with, females are quite underrepresented since female characters only make up one third of the characters on prime time TV and only 18% of the characters on children’s shows (Marquit, 2). Of that limited number of female characters only a mere 28% of women on TV work (Graham ,1). This is partially due to the lack of women writing shows and the men writing them are writing through their experience. Studies have shown that with the hiring of just one woman in a powerful behind the scenes position the women employed to work onscreen increases (GW+M ,1).

            Besides being underrepresented, television furthers traditional stereotypes about women through the types of characters women are allowed to play and the way these characters are perceived by others. There is only a narrow selection of roles they can play, which only continues to limit the narratives we are told about women and gives more weight to those few narratives consumers are provided with, all of which do not clearly depict the average woman.

             One of the most common themes within the plots of television shows is that a women’s success is not measured by her personal accomplishments and their career but rather through their standing with men. The most successful career women are shown as having had to pass up love and are then incomplete because they haven’t found a man. If women are personally successful, they still aren’t fulfilled because they aren’t complete until they’ve found romance (Marquit, 2). Also very prevalent is the way women on shows often discuss romance, making it the focus of female characters whereas men discuss romance on rare occasions (Graham ,1).

            Female characters can be broken down into three categories, the “daydreamer,” the “derailed,” and the “daredevil.” Daydreamers are passive personalities whose aspirations only involve love. The derailed has aspirations that will take the backseat to romantic relationships. Daredevils have strong drives and lots of ambition and don’t see love as the ultimate prize as they are able to maintain focus on their personal goals (Nagel, 1).

            Another way in which women are stereotyped is according to their hair color. The blondes are either “the bitch” of the show or they play the role of the “girl next door.” Redheaded females are often depicted as tomboys but they are still generally attractive (by conventional standards) and thin (MNet, 1).

            Within sitcoms there is a tendency to have females portrayed as “superwomen.” They are able to have jobs a well as singlehandedly care for the home and family. Though this displays women’s ability to take on any role, it still forces women into the category of the home-maker and releases men from any obligation to the home (Marquit, 2). Even though women may be allowed into the workplace, they aren’t ever really allowed out of the home.

            Reality television is no better as the women selected for the shows demonstrate that females are stupid, gold diggers and in desperate need of validation from the opposite sex (Bergeron, 1).

            The appearances of the women on television, as with any women in the media, are not equivalent to that of the average woman and even young children notice this. Over fifty percent of both young boys and girls responded in a survey that female television characters are more attractive than the women they know in real life (Graham, 2). Even worse is that between elementary school and high school, a young girl’s happiness with their appearance drops from sixty percent to twenty nine percent (WAMPOW, 1).

Children also realize the differences in the way men and women are portrayed in television. Being a leader, wanting sex and playing sports are all characteristics of males according to children in a survey, and women are more prone to whining and crying. It was also noticed that women tend to rely on others to help them should a problem arise but males will often take care of things themselves (Graham, 2).

            Besides children being able to clearly see the different way in which women and men are portrayed on television, they are learning that these are the roles genders should play into. Studies have found that if you watch TV fifteen hours or more a week then you are more likely to believe what you see on television (Marquit, 2). If youth are already noticing these gender stereotypes then these messages certainly have an affect on adults who have been consuming media their entire lives. Women are already misrepresented within our media, which is bad enough, children should be sheltered from this media betrayal. Otherwise we are imposing the medias definition of women, which is an unrealistic and sexist one, onto children creating the foundation for the type of thinking that will only further the stereotypes instead of change them.



            Advertising improperly portrays women visually as well as with the select roles they are forced to play. Within television advertising aimed at children, girls are shown in the home seventy percent of the time whereas their boy counterparts are shown exploring life both in and out of the home.  Advertising also tends to show men utilizing the product unlike the women present in the commercial furthering the bias that men are in control and more able to use the product (Marquit, 4).

            A majority of the damage advertising does to women stems from their hyper-sexualization of females. There is much more weight placed on women’s appearance than there is on a mans.  Twenty six percent of the models in commercials had comments referring to the models looks. Only seven percent of males appearances were referred to (Graham, 1).

            Often in advertising, particularly in print publications, a women’s body is dismembered to sell a product. This means that only one body part is focused on, generally a section with sexual connotations related to it, separating it from the whole, and relating it to a product (Greening, 4). This doesn’t allow women to view their bodies as entire entities. Instead they are made up of separate pieces and one area of imperfection makes it impossible for the whole to be beautiful. When women are able to see each part of their body separately, it makes it easier to compare their parts to the women on display in our media. Such a comparison is not only unrealistic but doesn’t allow any woman whose look deviates from the popular images of skinny women, to see themselves as attractive. Media images play a bigger role than do the opinions of friends and family when it comes down to heterosexual women’s formation of their body image. Lesbians have been found to be less affected by this (Risska, 2).

            Among teens, girls who view commercials on television where the models are underweight, lose self-confidence. The greatest losses and body dissatisfaction were found in girls that spend the greatest amount of time and effort on their looks (MNet, 2). Here I think a huge problem is how easy it is for young girls to get stuck consuming these negative media messages making them unable to fully see themselves without comparing themselves to the images they see on television. There are so many messages pushing the same definition of how women should look and act that, for young girls especially, getting caught up in this whirlwind of what the ideal women should be and striving to become that isn’t that difficult.


Print media

            Magazines and news publications also under and misrepresent women. Less than one third of the cover stories on papers involve women and issues relevant to them. It is also clear that the expert opinions of females is rarely desired and is used minimally (Gersh, 1-2).

            Within news media women are not only underrepresented since male experts are consulted eighty seven percent of the time and females are chosen a mere thirteen percent of the time, but progressive messages about women are blocked. News publications feature “anti-feminist” writings more than those promoting a progressive program for women. The New York Times published six opinion pieces from counter-progressive organizations and the Wall Street Journal published five. Neither publication ran articles from large, progressive groups that year (GW+M, 2).

In teens magazines geared toward girls, thirty five percent of the articles revolve around dating issues and only twelve percent are career and school oriented. Articles concerning appearance make up thirty seven percent of the total. In media that our youth consumes, there is already a focus on appearance and relationships with males that is more prevalent than issues concerning their futures, such education and careers (Graham, 2).-GC                                                    


Bergeron, S.(3/8/2007). Reality TV’s dismal portrayal of women. Reclaim the Media.


Gersh, D. (May 15, 1993). Women still underrepresented.Editor & Publisher, vol 126(issue 20),2.


Graham, V. & Hernandez, L.(1997).New studies on media, girls and gender roles. Kaiser Family Foundation/Children Now.


Greening, K.(2006). The objectification and dismemberment of women in the media. Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences. Vol 5.


GW+M.Fewer characters/roles in entertainment media. Girls Women + Media Project.


Nagel, J. (2008)Gender in media Females don’t rule. Animation World Network.3.


Marquit, J.(2009). Images of femininity: media portrayals of women. Associated Content.


MNet.(2009).Media and girls. Media Awareness Network.


Risska, R.(1998). SF state researchers release study about women, the mass media, and the development of body image. SFSU Public Affairs Press Release. 14,3.


WAMPOW.( 2009-03-08). Quick facts. Women Against the Media’s Portrayal of Women.




Sunday, May 3, 2009

America's Obsession With Being Thin

Lately it seems like everyone in the world is obsessed with being thin. Every other commercial is for some kind of diet supplement, system, or gym. One of the most popular shows on television is about people losing weight. Everywhere I turn, I’m bombarded with something about being “healthy,” or “in shape.” The medias’ idea of a healthy body image is unattainable for the majority of females in America. The women I am expected to look up to all weigh less than a small child. At the age of 20, I am the most insecure about my body that I have ever been. The pressures put upon young women to look a certain way, especially while in college, can lead to self-esteem issues, eating disorders, and even death. For my blog, I am going to focus on the pressures women face at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

From a young age, girls are told what they are expected to look like, how they are expected to act, and the consequences of not living up to these expectations. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is attempting to break down these expectations, and help change the way young girls see their bodies. The home page of the Campaign’s website says, “We see beauty all around us. At Dove, we want to help free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes. It’s this message that’s at the heart of our Campaign for Real Beauty and Self-Esteem Fund, and it’s why we continue to create thought-provoking ads, confidence-building programs and messages that embrace all definitions of beauty." The Campaign for Real Beauty has released many commercials and print ads for Dove products showing women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I personally find these commercials refreshing, and wish more companies would take the sort of action Dove is and include a wider variety of women and girls in advertisements. I remember, as a sixth grader, not being able to wear make-up to school. Even though I begged my mom to let me, because every other girl in the whole school was wearing make-up, she said no. In middle school, it seemed like the end of the world. Now, looking back, I wonder why I wasted so much of my time wishing I looked like everyone else. I was only eleven years old, but already wishing I looked twenty. There is something seriously wrong with that. Girls much younger than that are now being exposed to sexualized images of women, and their ideas of what their bodies should look like are already being skewed. The Dove video “Evolution,” from the Campaign for Real Beauty, is the perfect example of the pressures young girls face in regards to their bodies.

The models in the images we are exposed to countless of times a day are the skinniest people on the planet. (Okay, not really, but they are VERY skinny.) According to the Media Awareness Network, the average American woman is 5’4” tall, weights 140 pounds, and is a size 14. The models in advertisements are at least 5’10” and barely a size 2. It is unrealistic to think all American women look like the models in ads on billboards, in magazines, and on television. I personally think models would not be a problem, but because these are the only images we see of women, people have come to believe all women should look like models. Therefore, beauty has become associated with being successful. It is now nearly impossible to become successful without being viewed by society as beautiful.

Mine, and many other college-aged women’s, obsession with celebrity websites and blogs only adds to the pressure to be thin. I visit the blog multiple times a day. Although this is clearly not healthy, recently I have been doing research on the site whenever I log on. The man who writes the blog calls himself Perez Hilton, as in a male, Cuban version of Paris Hilton. Recently, Perez documented his own personal journey of losing weight. Every day he makes fun of celebrities and how they look, and now he has turned this critical eye on himself. The desire to look like celebrities is not uncommon, especially because the obsession with celebrities is so out of control. What is so disturbing about is the amount of articles dedicated to making fun of how celebrities look, especially those who are not stick-thin (such as Rosie O'Donnell). How are women supposed to feel good about their bodies when even their peers are obsessed with being thin? Another website that adds to the growing obsession of women to be thin is Fug is short for the slang term F---ing Ugly, or “Fulgy.” The tag line for the website, “Because Fugly is the New Pretty,” is pretty funny. And although I enjoy the commentary by the authors of the blog, Heather and Jessica, it makes me angry that these two women are making fun of celebrities who are tiny enough as it is. An example of this is this recent post, which completely tears apart the dress Academy Award - Nominated actress Anne Hathaway is wearing.

Reading this post makes me second guess the jeans, tank top, and zip-up I'm wearing right now as I type this. Do I look fat? Do other people think I look fat in this? How much does my stomach stick out? How much does Anne Hathaway work out, do you think? More than me, less than me? How tall is she? How much does she weigh? I should stop eating these Wheat Thins and go for a run ...

Heather and Jessica ridicule what celebs are wearing, and often times the reason for this is because the clothes do not fit the woman. This does not mean these celebs are overweight or out of shape. In fact, they are as a group so underweight they could all stand to gain about twenty pounds. No matter how many times women are told they are beautiful, it is never enough.

All of the pressures women face are doubled by the fact that men expect women to look perfect. Both men and women are affected negatively by the pressure society puts upon women to be thin. This is especially true in college. I am a member of a sorority, and the boys (I cannot yet call them men because of their immaturity towards women) are horrible in the way they treat women. Their side comments are so bad, some girls have developed eating disorders, and often some do not even leave their rooms to go out. Studies have shown, “an estimated five to seven percent of the United States’ undergraduates are afflicted with one or more of these eating disorders, and another 61 percent have displayed eating disordered behaviors,” (Knowlton, 2001). Of that group, women involved in Greek organizations are even more likely to develop some sort of eating disorder.

I did a Google search of “Greek life eating disorders,” and over half of the hits on the first page were links to the websites for Greek life at different colleges. Most provide links to eating disorder websites, where both men and women can learn more about the dangers of an eating disorder. However, I doubt any student actually clicks on those links, and most women battle eating disorders in silence.

Boys can be cruel, even if they are not aware of what they are doing. Just the other day I was sitting on a porch outside of a fraternity house, and there was a group of girls walking by. Every single boy sitting out there made a comment about the girls, just because one of them was “fat.” They called her names, made noises, and laughed at her. I yelled at them, but they did not care. These boys, and there are thousands of them all over the U.S., could care less how they are making women feel. Most are frequent gym-goers, and expect their female counterparts to do the same. Not to mention the types of entertainment they like, almost all of which objectifies women.

One of the most horrible rumors floating around within Greek life nationwide is that of sororities circling the fat on pledges, in front of a group of fraternity guys. Although most of the hype is “he said, she said,” the rumor had to have started somewhere. The thought makes me sick to my stomach. Young women should not have to be subjected to this kind of abuse by their own peers. That issue, that sorority sisters are doing this to one another, is what makes me so angry. True, hazing is something that happens within a mob mentality, but there really is no excuse for putting another person through that kind of humiliation and psychological harm. This kind of hazing, as well as the pressure to "look good" at any kind of sorority event, can lead to eating disorders and sometimes even death.

Although not every girl in a sorority has an eating disorder, there are many girls outside of Greek Life on this campus that struggle every day to maintain a healthy way of life. And "healthy" DOES NOT mean "skinny." Healthy, from my point of view, means eating close to the recommended daily amounts of fruits and veggies, with some sweets thrown in for dessert (or just a snack.) It is impossible for me to not snack on chocolate. I believe skinny models have a less fulfilled life because they do not indulge in something as simple as great food. When I'm having a bad day, a bowl of ice cream can turn everything around.

I wish it was as simple as that: eating a bowl of ice cream and everything will be okay. Maybe if everyone ate some ice cream once in a while, society would not be so obsessed with being thin. In discussing with my group how to change things, I do not really have any ideas. Women have had self esteem issues for hundreds of years, the only thing that has changed are the ideals which women are expected to live up to. In the Sixteenth Century, skinny women were considered poor, because only the wealthy could afford food. Today, it is the complete opposite: skinny equals wealthy. The blog 5 Resolutions to Transform the Fashion and Beauty Industries has some wonderful suggestions as to how women can help change the way the entertainment industries treat them. The 5 Resolutions are: "Educate Ourselves. Educate Our Audience. Take Responsibility. Take Action. Stay Connected" (, 2009). Education, which can be done through blogs such as the Negative Effects of Media, is the key to turning things around.

The marketplace ethic that drives the fashion and beauty industries needs a makeover. Most advertising executives are men who do not think twice about objectifying women in the media. I suggest a complete overhaul of the advertising realm. Only women should be in charge, and men should be objectified. Then maybe people will wake up and realize we cannot live like this anymore.

-- KM

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's not ALL garbage...most of it is though.

Many celebrities aren't completely coked out assholes who aren't deserving of any fame or attention. Some do some good things, they donate money, they adopt children, they help build schools, this however isn't always the focus. Celebrities can do good simply by using their status to get the word out about something they care about. If you think about it, how much more are you going to pay attention to something if it has Will Ferrell or Sarah Silverman in it rather than someone you've never seen? You'll probably pay more attention to the one with the celebrities in it. Which is the aim of PSA's like this.

This reminds me of an essay by Chuck Klosterman in his book IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. He was in Ireland interviewing Bono from U2 and he was conducting part of the interview in Bono's Maserati. He was mentioning how silly fame is and the whole concept of wealth and celebrity is. There was a point where a young child was hitchhiking and Bono pulled over and picked him up. Klosterman wondered for half a second if this was merely because there was a journalist in the car with him or if he regularly did things like this. He quickly realized it was the latter. To have everything so figured out is somewhat enviable, Bono knows that because he's so priviledged that he must help out those less fortunate even if it's something as simple as giving someone a ride home.

However celebrities also function in another way. They have the power to bring us together. Celebrities, not unlike professional sports or even a recent film give people common ground. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your socio-economic status is, mention "Brangelina" or "Tomkat" and you're bound to have someones ears perk up and want to get in on that conversation.

A brief article written by a staff writer at The Lowell makes this point and I think it's completely valid. "Everything in moderation is fine, of course. There’s nothing wrong with a little celebrity obsession. It can actually be a good thing at times. Celebrity obsession brings people together: It provides conversation starters such as, “Damn, don't you think Tom Wellings is hot?” It gives us people to love (We heart Johnny Depp!!!!), it gives us people to hate, it gives us a sense of identity and “culture.” (

"The Soup" is a sort of magazine format show on E! It's been running for quite a while, originally hosted by Hal Sparks, it is now hosted by comedian Joel McHale. The show is basically a recap of all the celebrity news of the week presented in a comical way and generally pokes fun at celebrites for the supid things they do. More than just a recap there are production elements that take it one step further and make it into a sort of sketch show as well. It sound silly and most times it is but it's not trying to be anything that it isn't.

It's a show about stupid things and it knows it. For example Al Roker took home the award for "Outstanding Achievement in Not Broadcasting the Weather While in Front of a Weathermap" at the 2009 Soup Awards:

Stupid? yes. Entertaining? yes. It's not trying to change the world like Bono but it serves it's purpose. If you boil it down, celebrity news is no different than sports news. It doesn't actually mean anything but it's still fun to talk about it.

Celebrities: Not Just Page Six Anymore

As the temperature heats up, the desire to go to the beach is felt by all. This may sound like a great day to most, but to some it is like being placed in front of a firing squad. The thought of laying out in a two piece can be cringing to girls because of the high standards set by the media industry. Most gossip magazines have the most sales with pictures of celebrities in swimsuits on the cover or featured inside. One of Sports Illustrated's highest grossing issue's is the swimsuit edition. This puts pressure on all the girls looking to impress in a bikini, but I have learned that most of the time it is not in their heads. When these pictures of Nicole Richie were released, the media went crazy with her being anorexic, but before it was constant talk of her being overweight or vuloptuous. Then they wonder why girls have eating disorders? It is like you cannot win. Either your too fat or too skinny, short or tall, small or large. At the end of the day if you aren't happy with yourself in your own skin, no one is going to want to be around you.
Girls aren't the only ones brainwashed by the bikini buzz. Men also have their own standards set by the media as to what women should look like in their bathing suits. I experienced this first hand on one of the first warm days of the season. Everyone crowded together at local Puffer's Pond to relax and catch some rays. I happened to be with a group of young men who didn't exactly treat each girl with the respect they deserved. Every comment out of their mouths was about their chest or behind, and if it wasn't that it was about their weight and how they could spare to shed a few pounds. It really made me think about if the tables were turned. What if girls just sat around critiquing every little inch of a boys body? Criticizing eyes are always turned to yound females, and compared to the pin-thin celebs that are pictured on the covers of every magazine.

After a picture of Jessica Simpson was released to the public of her singing at a concert. Headlines of a FAT Simpson were everywhere. Even on the news outlet CNN, they talked about the singers supposed weight gain. Everyone was talking about how she let herself go, and how bad she looked.

The media's vision seem to point out only imperfections, making what the beauty ideal is of "perfection" be completely impossible.

I think it is amazing that something as stupid as a woman gaining a couple pounds can make national news. Also it is amazing that they used the term fat. In no way is she fat, yes she might have gained a couple pounds, but is it really necessary to point it out to the world? It gives a very negative connotation on the female body, and young women who look up to her might look in the mirror and question their own bodies. This can lead to a number of unhealthy lifestyle changes. I just think stations like CNN should stick to things that are actually newsworthy, and maybe our society would deal with image a bit better.

It is not just the news on television or on computers that is sending us these messages in order to stay thin. Several popular magazines can't go one issue without publishing the newest diet. In the world of women’s magazines today, we have several that are all telling us the same thing-how to be/stay thin. If a women walks up to a magazine shelf the pages are basically screaming to lose weight or be skinny. Pin thin models and actresses are plastered on to every cover. I skimmed through each of these magazines above, and they all had at least 5 articles on how to be skinny.

Being healthy is one thing, but in today’s society image beats out all other crudentials in a person. We have a completely image driven society, and several self esteem issues can be seen with young women today. They are always comparing themselves to the celebrities/models they see all over the place, and can’t appreciate themselves as an individual with thoughts and dreams, all they can see is the number on the scale.

When it comes to celebrity obsession, in today's society the updates don't just come from a weekly magazine or daily newspaper. They are uploaded at the speed of light on blogs. Every minute you can go to a website and find out what's new in the world of celebrities. Even with the website Twitter you can hear from the stars themselves to know what's going on. Now the bloggers themselves are becoming famous like Perez Hilton. There is even a website called "I'm not obsessed" that actually lets you buy clothes similar to those of celebrities. Funny that it is called I'm not obsessed when it seems like the obsession just hit a whole new level. Children are growing up surrounded with the news of famous actors and models instead of news around the world. With outlets like CNN making celebrity weight issues front page news, it is scary to think about the priorities in this society.

When I was growing up, dreams of being a celebrity were a rarity. Most everyone I knew wanted to be a teacher or nurse. Now a days with young famous role models like Miley Cyrus, young women want to grow up to be actresses, models, or singers. Major media outlets like Disney are representing kids to be older then they really are. There is much more pressure to be wealthy and famous then there ever was, and children are growing up thinking this is what they have to be because of what they see on television. If this keeps up there is going to be a lot more struggling actors in the world then struggling students.

The lifestyles of young, rich, and sometimes famous people are also appearing all over the reality television scene. When flipping on the television today, there are hundreds of reality tv shows. MTV has made it a point to display their potrayal of what life is like for high school students. With shows like Laguna Beach and True Life, MTV gives a limited representation of what kids do in high school. Most of the time it is kids going out and socializing-homework is NEVER a topic on a show because well, it’s not entertraining. They are giving a distorted image to entertain teens. The problem is, most of these shows are scripted and are made just to get good ratings and enhance the company. Kids grow up and think they should act as how they see the kids do on tv. With this “reality” comes a harsh realization when they figure out that life’s not a beach party like they show on tv.