By Mary Bawolski
Young people are constantly feeling the pressure to be perfect, which invites the media to feed off the lack of self-esteem and desperate need for acceptance that adolescents bear. The media tends to have power over the younger people’s sense of worth, and don’t mind playing with it as long as money is being made. As soon as they grant it, they find a way to take it away again, so that they may keep tossing it back and forth to make more money.
This nature is everywhere, in television, writing, and even the music business. Twenty year old attractive boys are paid to sing beautiful songs that attract 12 year old girls and make them feel wanted. The girl buys the song or album, spreads it like the plague, and then gets upset because no boy will ever love her like One Direction does. And so, she goes elsewhere looking for attention again and the cycle repeats.
In Seventeen’s February 2014 issue, the cover featured Troian Bellisario, an actress from the popular television show Pretty Little Liars. The main story was an article on how the actress had beat anorexia, an eating disorder. It was a positive piece, promoting self-acceptance, confidence, and self worth. Of course it was also part of the aforementioned cycle: readers felt worthy, but only for a minute. Why? Another front cover feature story was entitled “Get An Insane Body: It’s Hard, But You’ll Look Hot!” Not only was it totally contradicting the previous headline, but it was placed DIRECTLY UNDER the story of so-called body acceptance.
The magazine is not practicing what it preaches. Ultimately, Seventeen profits on a delicate balance: telling you that you’re fine just the way you are, then implying that you aren’t good enough.