I am here today to talk to this high school class about a very serious topic that is occurring everyday in our world. This problem is something that is affecting many of us in a way that needs to change. A normal teenager just like you and me are being influenced in very negative ways due to the media portraying perfection of the Hollywood population. Here’s the Hollywood factor from my point of view.
As our teenager obsession with all things Hollywood grows, so does our dissatisfaction with our own physical imperfections. Be it our less than perfect complexions, asymmetrical features, and our weight; whatever the complaint we may have about our appearances, it’s likely we’re looking to celebrities as the standard of desired physical perfection.
Our appearance, the area which is in many ways the most difficult for us to change, is where we seem to be most influenced by the Hollywood standard and most determined to aspire to that standard. To me, it’s very disturbing the high percentage of teenagers who literally starve themselves due to what they perceive of as, an unacceptable physical appearance. Anorexia and Bulimia are complex disorders with endless causes and contributory factors; I think these conditions should be blamed on the influence of media and particularly Hollywood. However, I cannot discount the influence the media has on the public mindset, especially on us the young who face a continuous barrage of media imagery on a daily basis.
To be realistic however, movie and television producers and advertising executives are not intentionally and maliciously destroying our self-esteem as part of some absolute plot. Good, bad or indifferent, they’re simply providing the public with what they want, and what we want seems to be a continuous ritual of the beautiful people whose perfection we can never achieve, only aspire to in an existence of escalating frustration and self-imposed torment.
I think that we can’t expect women of any age to respect themselves when we criticize any figure, not just a Size 2. If we truly believe that women come in all shapes and sizes then no woman, no matter what size she is, should be criticized for what she looks like.
An example of this fact is Jessica Simpson. Her body has been the media’s sweetheart and now apparently it’s over because Jessica Simpson has put on a little weight and she is, of course, being scrutinized to death for it. Jessica’s weight gain is yet another indicator that the world we live in is a cruel and is a merciless one that doesn’t allow for women to be who they are without critique. No doubt these criticisms will probably spiral the Jessica into a state of starvation mixed with a continuous workout schedule that will result in a tiny waistline once again. At the end of the day, that’s what people want to see. They want to know that perfection is possible and they want to see its possibilities lived out in their celebrities.
I hope that after hearing this speech, it has taught all teenagers that we need to understand our body image realistically. No one should feel that they need to look or act a specific way. Don’t let anyone change the way you think of yourself. Media is something that will never escape from our world and we all need to learn how to live with the influences made from this without letting it change you in any negative way. Criticism is an unacceptable concern that will always exist in our world. Thank you for giving me your undivided attention on my opinion on this very serious topic.