In addition, each of us struggle with our identity growing up and many of us mistakenly believe that our bodies, and life, should be perfect. At least that’s the dream sold to us by advertising and mainstream film. We each have things that make us unique and sometimes those things tend to be viewed as flaws. Instead of being taught to celebrate our own unique brand of identity we are made to feel guilty if we are not living up to the unrealistic body images of models and A-list celebrities.
As a result of the impact of visual culture’s influence through advertising and film, many teenage girls develop eating disorders trying to conform to an image that the media has sold them. Anorexia, bulimia and other mental disorders are highly prevalent today. According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, 8 million Americans have an eating disorder. Lack of direction from parents, along with media influence, I believe, are to blame for this.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Rear Window, Jeff’s maid Stella noted that people ought to, “get outside their own house and look in for a change.” In this case, the house could be symbolized as the body. Most of us focus on the outer part of ourselves, which distracts us from looking inside at who we really are and finding our true identity.
In attempting to find out who they really are, young women struggle to find security in their appearance. More often than not we look to the images on television, on billboards, and in magazines to tell us what we should look like and what kind of car we should be driving. The prevailing notion is that the more expensive the clothes and the car, the more value we have.