In the book Uglies by Scott Grayson, Tally and Shay live in a futuristic world where everyone's main goal is to turn pretty at 16, and until then you are nothing. Everyone strives to have those big beautiful eyes and perfectly smooth hair yet the only way to achieve this is by surgery. Although this book takes place in the future where there are hoverboards and holograms, it is very similar to how we live today. Even those with good self esteem have insecurities, and some people think that only surgery can change them. In the book it is second nature to become pretty and it is advertised that being pretty makes you have the ultimate life. Sadly, even in commercials today, they use models with perfect skin and hair to advertise the product, leading you to believe that if you use it you will look like them. Even when companies, like Dove, try to advertise that everyone is perfect as they are and all body types can sell a product (Sifferlin, Times Magazine), they still use flawless models to trick us. In Uglies, when Shay said, “...you weren’t born expecting that kind of beauty in everyone, all the time. You just got programmed into thinking anything else is ugly” (Grayson, 82), we see the reoccurring theme that the media gives us messages about how we should look and feel about ourselves. We were not born thinking that having long legs and shiny hair would make us attractive. Commercials and magazines made us believe that’s what beauty is. The media influences how we view perfection and our body image.
Living in the 21st century we are surrounded by media. Although the internet has allowed us to have endless information and constant communication, it also can lead to many disorders such as anorexia and depression (Lyness, TeensHealth). How can something so helpful cause these horrible things? Well, it all starts with self esteem and body image. The definition of body image is a mental image of how one sees oneself. When people look at social media, they see pictures of beautiful models and start to compare themselves even though most of the time these pictures are airbrushed. This is especially apparent in teenagers. Even model Cameron Russell said during her TedTalk of January 2013, “And I hope what you're seeing is that these pictures are not pictures of me. They are constructions, and they are constructions by a group of professionals...and they build this. That's not me.” (Russell, Ted Talk). The pictures posted on media are superficial and don’t reflect who a person really is. I always knew that pictures online were not completely true to size, but what shocked me was learning about the models’ real lives. Seeing Cameron’s modeled pictures compared to unedited ones taken by her friends just days before the shoot was shocking. While the professional photos show her wearing a sexy bikini, in fact, it was her first time ever wearing a bikini at all. This shows that how people look in the media does not reflect real life.