Monday, July 6, 2009

The influence of the media on body image

Women and the Media
How advertising and the media affects girls body image.
Melissa Chambers
Miss North Carolina International

The average person in the United States sees approximately 3,000 ads in magazines, billboards, and television every day. With that said, advertising in teen magazines and on television typically glamorizes under weight models. This representation of women is false when comparing women portrayed in the media and the average sized woman. In fact, today's models generally weight 23% less then the average woman.

The average height and weight for a model is 5'10" and 110 lbs, and the height and weight for the average woman is 5'4" and 145 lbs, it's easy to see why this creates a tremendous health risk for young girls. Girls are seeing what the media says is the “perfect” woman or the “perfect” weight and girls are striving to fit into what our culture tells us is beautiful. Many of these girls strive to look like the women they see in the media but become discouraged when even after starving themselves, obsessive workouts and obsessing over our cultures “ideal” they find themselves still falling short of physical perfection. For many girls this ideal of beauty is unattainable and no matter how hard they try you can’t change your genes.
I am a firm believer in staying healthy through exercise and healthy eating. I believe that taking care of ones physical body is part of the loving yourself process and I advocate a healthy weight that is right for the individual girl. A problem that many girls face is wanting to fit into the standards that are impressed upon them through our media. I tell girls the key to physical perfection is to love the so-called imperfections, even those things about your body that you may not see as perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect woman. Even the most beautiful women in the world are being air brushed in pictures. If you look closely the women in the magazine have amazingly smooth skin, toned tanned bodies and blinding white teeth. You’ll find that these women also don’t have pores, what we are seeing is a computer image that was put together using some magic on a computer. The result is that girls are trying to look like something that isn’t even real. I would like to see models shown just as they are, show casing and accepting every freckle and beauty mark. What I find to be beautiful is not this fake image of the perfect woman instead a woman who is confident and loves herself for all the so-called imperfections she may have. Real women have pores, blemishes and fine lines they also contain real beauty that has nothing to do with physical appearance or the number on the scale. Why are we letting the advertising world and our media tell us how we should look. Their motive is to tell us our freckles aren’t pretty you should cover them up with this foundation, or your lips need to be fuller so buy this gloss to make them bigger. The list goes on and on and the motive behind the message is consumerism. Through their advertising they are attacking girls self esteem so they will feel as if they need to get something or do something to make them better. I am going against the grain and speaking against the pressures of perfection. I hope to change how women see themselves. Real women have real beauty, real curves and real so-called imperfection. Those “imperfections” are what makes every woman unique and beautiful in her own way. We need to stop seeing ourselves as something to always be perfected. My dream is for every girl to see herself as beautiful from the inside out.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What will you do with your moments?

What will you do with your moments?
Melissa Chambers
Miss North Carolina International 2008

Life is composed of many moments. Precious times that we must utilize to make our dreams, hopes and aspirations come into existence. Many of you have heard the saying “Live every moment to the fullest”. I take this quote to mean live your life with purpose. Life is a journey and you are continually finding out who you are along the way. There are ups and downs but to look at your life as a gift and an opportunity gives life a new perspective. Take the good and the bad, learning from every situation.
Every moment that passes is one that you will never get back. What will you do with your moments?

I have many personal hopes and dreams for my life and as Miss North Caorlina International 2008 I have been given the opportunity to inspire others to believe in their dreams as well as themselves. "Dare to Dream" is my platform in which I speak to many people. Motivating others to live their best and chase after their true passions is something I am doing with my moments.

What will you do with your moments? We all have specific pieces of time and what truly makes us different in this world is how we use the pieces we’re given. Will you just be a dreamer or will you make the dream a reality? I personally would say I am a dream believer. I believe in my dreams and not just in the goal of achieving it. The journey toward your goal is composed of many moments that create joy and purpose. I motivate others to chase their ambitions. I am a dream advocator. What is your dream and will you chase it?
What lies behind that question is how much passion is within you. Those who achieve their ambitions actively pursue their goals and they are people who believe in their dreams but also in themselves. Behind that pursuit is passion and perseverance. There is never a dream that is to big just as long as you have the passion to back it up. It does not matter what goal you are pursuing in life just always to remember to be grateful for the journey.

We all have dreams and ideas of how we want our future to be but why keep talking about the future? We should make our dreams exist today. Our present is reality but why keep living in the future or the past? Make right now your future and chase your dreams and goals. Say yes to a positive and fulfilling now…in this moment.

So what will you do with your moments?