As a young person in today’s society I have been able to watch the development of social media. It has its positives, but it also definitely has its negatives. I would say it has an addictive element associated with its use, and I’m sure there have been numerous studies to prove that. Just look at how hard it is to peel ourselves away from it for even a day. We get instant satisfaction and we’re constantly fed new information.
As I participated in the media binge and fast this week I noticed something a bit different than what I expected. I thought I would notice how my in-person connections suffered, or how much I was missing when I looked at my phone on the way to class. Instead, to my surprise, I realized how it affected how I felt about myself.
We are constantly bombarded with the image of perfection in the media. TV commercials feature beautiful men and women, often over sexualized, selling a product. Take, for example, this commercial for Carl’s Jr.
My first question after viewing this commercial was “why?” In my opinion this was completely unnecessary. If you have to use a model in a bikini spraying tanning oil all over herself your sandwich probably isn’t all that great, and girls with that body sure as hell ain’t eating at Carl’s Jr. Now lets reel it back in. I realized during my media binge that I was highly unhappy with myself. I was exposed to commercials like these featuring beautiful women with killer bodies, and all these outfits on Pinterest that looked fabulous on cute bloggers with perfect hair, and amazing kitchens with all the right decorations, and I was jealous. Right now I don't have the discipline to go to the gym for three hours, nor do I really want to. I’m also not exactly part of the one percent so no mansion and fabulous closet for me. Overloading my brain with these images, however, made me upset that I didn't have that. Ultimately the media binge made me unhappy and ungrateful.
Obviously I’m not pushed into a depression from media exposure, but when I surround myself with it at almost all times of the day I know I’m less happy. I was able to recognize during my fast how freeing life with less media is. I smiled at more people on campus. I noticed more of what was happening around me; you’d be amazed what you miss when you watch a movie while you’re also on your phone and computer (spoiler: a lot). I had more conversations with strangers around me. I was surprised to find I was more confident and willing to talk to others because I knew I couldn't just shut myself off and go on my phone.
This media fast made me wonder how many people are unhappy and don’t even realize it. I think many people would be surprised to find that their self-esteem might go up if they stopped being overloaded with models on social media or in commercials. I’m hoping now that I have recognized how media makes me feel about myself I will be more disciplined and willing to take time away from unnecessary media.
- Not listening to the radio in your car is a lot harder than you would think
- People totally judge you when you go on your phone on the way to class
- Looking at a screen for hours gives you a worse headache than studying for finals
- I could probably learn someone’s whole life story just from their social media accounts