It is often said that a man has a lot of responsibilities in his lifetime. In many societies, especially in Middle Eastern ones, a young boy is groomed at a very early age to be a man and not to show any emotions that may seem a bit too “feminine”. Unfortunately, emotions, positive or negative, are frowned upon and this lack of showing emotion grows with them into the future. The boy is someday going to be the man of the house, taking charge of the household and being the breadwinner of the family. Yes, the life of a man is far from easy. But do we stress too much about how hard it is to be a guy in our society and neglect how difficult it can be to be a girl? A girl’s life is also far from simplistic. Sometimes their life is even planned out from beginning to end, from which schools they will go to, to which man they should marry. Even the most educated girl can have no say about whom she wants to marry unless she speaks out and takes a stand. Families tend to forget that they are not the ones getting married. Marriages end up being a contract of financial security rather than of love. What I’m trying to say is that everyone’s life is somehow misguided by outside influences. Sometimes I think we do not stress enough on the life of a girl and the hardships she goes through on a daily basis. My point is in our lives everyone, especially girls, are somehow always misguided by influences such as family, friends, and most significantly the media.
Society has transformed and with each day that passes, the media has stood as a platform for our thoughts, actions, and perceptions of what is real. Psychological and emotional disorders are further being catalyzed by the media’s ideas of how a person’s life should be. These ideas penetrate through a person’s mind and slowly shape their actions unconsciously.
TV shows, soap operas, magazines, music, etc., all seem to be harmless forms of entertainment for young girls all over the world. A lot of young girls these days are watching shows such as Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives, Sex in the City and the list goes on. It is indeed entertaining to spend leisure time watching these television shows, but to relate them to real life is beyond understandable and downright insane. The characters in these shows are highly glamorized and live seemingly perfect lives with the toughest obstacle being which social event to attend or whom they should date. I’m not saying it’s not fun and entertaining to watch such shows, but to watch them and base them on real life is when they become detrimental.
The magazine Cosmopolitan claims to help women be more well rounded and be the best they can be in every aspect of their lives. More specifically, the magazine targets “fun fearless women who want to be the best they can be in every area of their lives.” Fair enough, but if only it actually sets out to do what it claims. Is it to empower women or is it for women to further feel objectified?
Lets take a look at just a few of the magazine covers:
Sex, sex and more sex!!
Below is a link to one of the feature videos posted on Cosmo’s website:
Below is a link to the articles Cosmo features:
Are these the real issues on girl’s minds? Every issue has something to do with sex! The magazines clearly are advocating and encouraging promiscuity and do not depict sex as something that is special between two people who love each other. How does this educate a girl in the right way? Girls all over the world are reading Cosmo and actually follow and believe what is being said. The writers do not base any of their articles on facts. In some issues they try to help girls feel better in their own skin by giving tips on fashion and what suits their body types the most. Then why when I look through the magazines are there no pictures of real women? Why do they all seem so flawless? If the magazine is geared towards girls who are trying to better themselves then how come all the girls in the magazine are perfect? Are they telling girls that if they read the magazine they will look like the girls in the magazines or that they should live up to these unrealistic, air-brushed expectations? How is this setting up women to be “fun and fearless?” Well, all it really does is set them up to be sex objects who spend all of their time trying to have perfect skin, hair, and bodies.
The real issues that should be talked about more are the real issues young girls and women are going through such as obstacles about body and self image, eating disorders, unrealistic expectations set for themselves, depression, family problems, inner conflicts and outside pressures. Maybe if we shed more light on these things, young women will be better-balanced and lead healthier lives. These young girls need a reality check and also need to learn that the world is not all about outer appearances, but rather inner beauty, success, family, friends, and above all, personal happiness.
A girl’s life is not simple because she not only has to deal with magazines, and society telling her everyday how the ideal life for her and other girls should be, but at the same time, other outside factors such as family and friends echo and replay through her mind. It is hard to disappoint oneself but it is also hard to disappoint others. Family is most people’s foundation and what we do reflects on them. We want to lead the right life and do what makes others around us happy. We are after all social beings who crave approval from people close to us and as well as a successful life. But sometimes families who are very close-knit tend to add to the pressures society poses on us. They ultimately want what’s best for us, but forget that we should be the one’s deciding the path of our lives. We ask ourselves, how do we do what we want without disappointing others? Well, this is not an answer Cosmopolitan can answer, but compromising is always a good method to use.
In conclusion, no one’s life is easy especially because of outside pressures and influences. Sometimes, though, the life of a girl can be more complicated than what meets the eye. Hopefully, young girls and women can be able to break through these obstacles by focusing on what they believe is important in their lives and working from there. Setting a goal, surrounding herself by the right people who love her, and being fearless enough to face real challenges in life is a great beginning. The challenges I’m talking about aren’t the ones Cosmopolitan, Gossip Girl and Sex in the City have the answers to. Slowly but steadily, maybe this misguided girl can find her true path onto self-discovery.