I hate online advertisements. They’re all annoying to me. I hate some more than others though, like dating sites, weight-loss gimmicks, and clothing ads. Something interesting about these types of ads is that the men and women models are always really trim.
There is no doubt popular culture glorifies trimness. This is the ideal, which leads many young women into eating disorders to try to get thin, even if they are thin already or have a perfectly normal, yet non-thin body type. But the irony is, in the USA, a culture where being underweight is glorified more than ever, our members are more overweight than ever. Obesity is on the rise, as is being overweight. Obesity, mind you, is preventable.* You have people who want to be the cultural norm of beautiful, but are not for the most part: people’s desire for food outweighs their desire to have a certain weight. Why? I’d guess two main reasons:
1) Yet more contradictory messages from popular culture. Being thin is in. But so is eating McDonalds, drinking beer, and sedentarily watching a glowing box for TV or gaming. One minute, the screen shows us the epitome of the American man or woman – trim, muscular, and good-looking; the next minute, a commercial advertising the newest savory double-super burger with a gazillion calories. It’s easy to be critical and assert people ought to be smart enough to do what’s best for them, not listen to society’s commercials. However, while I agree that ultimately we all have personal responsibility to ignore commercials and do what’s best for us, we’re underestimating the social creatures we are. Humans have always lived in societies and our default is striving to be a part of the larger culture. It messes with our minds more than we realize when our society sends messages so contradictory. If popular culture is screaming “Eat! Eat! Eat!” then “Be thin! Be thin! Be thin!” is it so surprising that so many media-engrossed teens will eat, eat, eat, then force themselves to vomit to be thin, thin, thin?
2)This is another example of the inner battle we all have — between what is and what we want to be, between the long-term and short-term, the ideal and the real, between self-control and no control. Frankly, eating right is hard. Even harder is eating less, and harder yet is exercising to lose weight. I myself hate being hungry and don’t like huffing and puffing up hills either. But knowing what overeating does to us, and knowing how we want to be thinner or healthier, we still indulge ourselves. It’s idiotic and not who we want to be, but it’s like we can’t help it. We can. We just don’t discipline our desires. Who does? If someone could, they’d just about be perfect people. I definitely haven’t seen any of those lately.
Pop culture is stupid. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. We are stupid. I can’t change that either.
We need a Saviour. How else can we be rescued from our culture and ourselves?
*There are exceptions going along with certain diseases, but the majority are not in this category.