Yet, we are society.
As an advertising major, I was shocked that in my advertising classes, we seldom talked about how advertising affects the demographic we often ignore: adolescents. Kids these days are growing up with iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices that didn’t exist during my childhood, so it’s a no brainer that children nowadays are exposed to much more advertising than previous generations. There’s ads before YouTube videos, underneath all the free games, and during their favorite TV shows. During my projects, we’d target the most profitable demographic: the millennials or the baby boomers, but we never stop and think about who were unconsciously influenced: the younger generation, Generation Z.
As I returned home, I learned the details of my younger siblings bickering with each other, and I was absolutely livid when I found out one of my younger sisters called my other sister “obese and disgusting” along other vile words. Knowing my mother would never say such words to my sibling, I quickly made the assumption that my sister gained this thought process from the media or society (friends, classmates, etc). My hunch is perhaps 70% true since my sister wouldn’t say anything when I confronted her about her mean words.
But the main focus of this post is not about what one sister said to another, but it’s why she said those remarks, why she thought that way, and how we can change the way she thinks. Another thing to note is that millions of young children and teenagers think this way, too. The perspective that a skinny body is a pretty body, that being pretty is all a girl should be, and looks determine someone’s value can be credited to the media and societal standards. Something I learned in advertising is that the best form of advertising is word of mouth advertising – we all trust our friends more than commercials, right? So, when we hear a friend say something that’s not so positive about body image, it can make us think about our own body and how we perceive it.
Certainly, this post is not a self-love post because I am not the proper teacher for that subject, but we should all focus on how we influence our friends, whether we know it or not and whether we believe it or not that we do influence our friends. What we say about ourselves, others, and objects can negatively or positively change one’s opinion. As the oldest in my family, I recognize the influence I have on my siblings, so because of this, I am cautious of my diction, behavior, and attitude towards life. I’m now a teacher – and we all are – so we must teach, not only ourselves, but the ones around us, to be better.
This post was made in dedication to my younger sister, Lily, who turned 13 in September! Happy birthday, my little artist.