I never thought that it was the reason for all my problems because it really never occurred to me as I was entangled in its spells, a voodoo that that I’d mistaken to fall for.
Media for me was a source of entertainment like for many others but I never realized its strength. Media is a really powerful source for conveying messages to the people. It teaches people many things including how they should act, behave or expect people to be. It teaches people how girls should be a girl and boys should be boys by defining their gender roles. Girls are expected to be thin, fragile, have the perfect facial structure, hair and complexion while boys are supposed to be masculine, manly, strong and emotionally illiterate. These various expectations have left a scar in young minds. Young girls suffer from eating disorder, depression if they don’t have the face or body as expected. Girls are not judged through her intellect but her figure and face. Boys on the other hand are judged through their strength and masculinity which has a whole new meaning.
As a teenager, I too have had faced a lot of criticism either about my weight or face. Being a teenage over- weight girl is not easy. You feel that you are an alien to people and have had many days where I would cry at night just because I was over-weight. I envied my friends and wanted to become thin like them because being over-weight was not in fashion and you’d be a laughing stock if you were one. I hated myself just because I was over-weight. I hated going out because I felt people would stare at me and comment on my weight. I even hated going to shopping because I was afraid I wouldn’t get clothes that would fit me because in a country like ours, we usually don’t get oversized clothes.
So, when I was 14 years old, I decided that I would try to lose my weight and skipped dinner for 2 and half years. I tried jogging, avoiding junk foods and sugar, drank lots of green tea but still I saw no perfection in me. Till that time I had completely stopped socializing either because I was sick of people telling me I was fat or too scared of my self-created world of misjudging people. I became a very passive person because I was scared of first impressions and found myself imperfect in every single way possible.
The point I am trying to make is that people had expected me to be thin, fragile, and beautiful just because I was a girl. The media has projected that girls are supposed to be perfect and they have a completely different definition for perfect. Even in movies, over-sized girls are never the protagonist. They are either “the best friend” or the geek kid who gets bullied by other people.
When someone had to blame you or tease you, your physical appearance is going to be the tagline for you. For me, people would be like “you are so lazy that is the reason you are fat” or “don’t do any work and sit there being fat”. These were really rude statements for me. It may be a way for people to take their aggression out but for me these statements we like spears going through me again and again until I bleed and fall down. It hurt a lot to hear these but I guess you have to come out of the dark pit someday.
The other thing is that girls are expected to be like girls. There are gender roles and certain norms that coxed me to hear the statement, “be like a girl”. Hearing this I would always be like “I am a girl. What else do I have to do to be “like a girl”? I never really like shopping, p referred sneakers to heels and was interested in bicycles than Barbie’s.
All these incidents took place in my life and many other young people might be having similar problems because the media has misrepresented women and men. They have raised the bar of everything so high that girls like me struggle to meet the unattainable beauty got through digital alteration. It is really sad because people are unaware about all these and think it to be human psychology and not the psychology created through media. Young girls and boys have been suffering this and it is the major cause of lack of self-confidence which results to larger problems like depression and sometimes even suicide.
After I was awakened by the reality, it felt like I awoke up from a nightmare that I’d gotten stuck for years. When I realized my thoughts were altered and I was not that bad at all, I came to realize my identity. I’d always hidden away or tried to be the person that I was not. Just to impress people I thought of becoming someone else completely different, probably the weakest version of mine. When I learnt about myself, I realized I was stronger. I was not hated and unworthy, I was confident and trust me in this, calling me confident is the biggest achievement for me for I’d always defined myself as weak and puny. When I reflected into the past, I felt sadden for the years that’d gone in vain but nevertheless, I came to realize at last which is better late than never. I’d actually forgotten to smile and got lost in my own definition of happiness. But now, I feel much stronger, confident and powerful for I not the misjudged me. I am the happy and confident ME!