Young girls who are in their formative years are incredibly impressionable and susceptible to the opinions of others. Fashion magazines perpetuate a limited image of beauty and personal significance in society, especially in adolescent girls. Advertisements and articles emphasizing conspicuous consumption and unrealistic depictions of human beings put boundaries on a growing mind. Bombarding the reader with shallow, materialistic concepts, such as “who is wearing what”, and “who is dating who”, they distract the mind from freely exploring its surroundings with an objective approach about what it means to be a functioning, independent asset to the world.
Pop Culture & Conspicuous Consumption
The images portrayed in fashion magazines embrace the idea that all people should look alike, and set a universal standard of beauty. When young girls are striving to form an identity, it is inevitable that they will be exposed to society’s skewed notion of individual value. Magazines like Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue are riddled with articles about how to be attractive to others; this teaches that a person’s focus should be on how others view them and to conform to it, rather than establishing a positive self-image. They say very little–if anything–about introspection, leaving no room for contemplating what their own idea of beauty is, therefore allowing the opinions of others to run amok. Also, restricting the concept of beauty to solely physical attributes does not enhance one’s motivation to focus on and develop other aspects of themselves, such as kindness, intelligence, and dignity. The air-brushed, digitally enhanced pictures of women wearing top brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Armani sets a standard in girls’ minds that they cannot–and should not–live up to.
Because these magazines are rampant with product advertisements and current fashion, it sends the message that one’s worth is in what they own, this not only asserts that what they own defines them, but that they are also responsible for wanting to buy the same things as their friends, celebrities, and other icons. Aspiring to have the same taste in clothing, make-up, music, etc. as other people removes individuality and praises conformity, this establishes a foundation at a young age that it is responsible to be a relentless consumer, and that to earn the respect of one’s peers they must have the most expensive cars, clothes, boats, homes, etc. Affiliating relationships with others as competition, which limits their ability to truly connect to those around them, they run the risk of having difficulties relating to the people they love.
Fractured Self Image
Lastly, fashion magazines sexualize girls at a young age when they are still emotionally immature. Bountiful with instructions on how to attract boys and dress desirably, they send the message that a female’s purpose is exclusively to be alluring and captivate the desire of men. This can affect self-image and accelerate their interest in intimate relationships, leading to distorted expectations and premature conclusions about the dynamics of personal human interaction- such as idea’s that one should jump into marriage and have children right away. Many girls don’t get the opportunity to develop into adults at a healthy rate because they feel they have to grow up fast and embrace the impractical portrayal of women in popular magazines.
When people, and notably adolescent girls, look to fashion magazines as a guideline for their appearance and character they form unrealistic ideas about what they should be. This can affect not only their view of themselves, but of others as well. Accepting that we must all be the same neglects that the glory is in our differences, and it is careless to barrage impressionable, young minds with the unnecessary pressures provided in these magazines. Rather than advising girls to build their self-image based on gossipy, superficial figures, they should be empowered to exercise their creativity, intelligence, and confidence to achieve their goals and be content with who they are.