Don’t Take Life At FACE Value // ISABELLA GIANNINI

Does Appearance Affect How people treat you? Should we change ourselves to fit a certain role?

Appearance is a reoccurring theme and takes part in almost everything I’ve ever studied. Whether we’re discussing eating disorders, all the way to being “Goth”, appearance plays an indefinite role.

We may not always see ourselves for what we really are.
We may not always see ourselves for what we really are.

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Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, everyone cares about how they’re being perceived, and the light that spotlights their actions and appearance.

Let me first dive into beverages- and how people want to be perceived. The traditional coffee up- for the hardworking busy hustlers of the world. People carry the coffee around for the caffeine (a short burst of energy) that will leave them more refreshed and energized, and it doesn’t hurt that they appear to be determined to the surrounding world. Or the Diet Coke for example, people “care” about their weights so they drink diet!

Little to their knowledge, The Coca Cola Company cares about their image as well and promotes Diet Coke as the healthier option when in reality, it takes a harsher toll on your long term health than regular Coke due to chemicals and additives. Because regular Coke doesn’t contain aspartame (an artificial sweetener), the strong link to cardiovascular issues and severe heart problems doesn’t exist. These additional artificial ingredients not only take serious detrimental tolls on your heart, but in addition contain addictive substances like caffeine which can easily pull you down the rabbit hole, emerging only to find yourself caught between obesity and unexpected heart attacks.

Additionally, eating disorders are often times caused by this obsession with our appearance. Being surrounded by toned celebrities and stick-thin models, it becomes hard for the average adolescent female to determine what is normal, what is extreme(ly thin), and most importantly, what is Photoshopped.

Cristina Odone is former editor of The Catholic Herald and deputy editor of The New Statesman. She highly acknowledges and mocks American youth for succumbing to the pressures and worship that celebrities pass down. She uses her expertise to make the claim that we treat them as the new royalty, our modern day version of lords and ladies. Cristina states, “When we accord a chosen few influence over our lifestyle (from hairdos to soft furnishings) and our thinking (on everything from bulimia to landmines) we surrender responsibility as clearly as if we were vassals bound to do our noble lord’s bidding. What we gain is a sense of order: we know who stands above us and who below in our new class system”. Celebrity culture has taken over- and it’s here to stay.

In relation to another Lorde, the interest in being “hot” and glamorous has reached such new highs that even the ones who are looked up to for advice are mocking us. Lorde wrote a song called Royals in which she pokes fun at everyone who would do anything to be famous, to be pretty, to be rich. It almost strikes me as a wake up call to people that are blinded by glamour, and to focus on the more important things in life.

However, not all celebrities hop on Lorde’s realistic bandwagon. In fact, some are acting in completely opposite ways, and actually encouraging negative behaviors and acting as a negative externality. Artists like Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Eminem promote violence through graphic lyrics and demeaning messages. It’s all about appearances too. Lil Wayne uses graphic slang in the majority of his songs and his tattoos, his metallic grills, and constant puff of smoke circling him are “cool”, he is cool. His fans try to embody this image as well, in an attempt to impress classmates or friends, in order to fit in.

Another culprit of this is Chris Brown. After flourishing in his fame filled with women and worship, he committed an intense and violent act of domestic abuse to his former girlfriend Rihanna. The public was initially outraged, but slowly forgave and reestablished their love for him. In fact, many extreme cases surfaced immediately after the incident where his beloved fans were actually supporting his violence and wishing it had happened to them- just so they could be near him. Unbelievable.

The worst may be Eminem, who I suspect to have some deeper issues that don’t just stop at anger and aggression issues. In many of his songs, he actually fanaticizes about killing his ex-wife Kim, in front of their child. His lyrics are graphic and disturbed, which may influence his fans to continue these horrific thoughts. As public figures with significant influence in today’s youth, there is no reason these famous performers need to encourage violence in any way.

When did our youth and society become so obsessed with images that they’re willing to self-harm to achieve it? When did they begin to change themselves to something negative to fit in? When did people start demoralizing women to be “cool”?

Kids who dress “Goth” like the killers from the Columbine tragedy. Are they really bad or evil? No, they just have a different style and sense of fashion which is a) totally up to them and b) they shouldn’t be judged at face value or treated differently because of it.
If I have experienced anything, it has been exposure to how much stems from appearances. You can determine someone’s character (or so you think), simply from his or her surface. I’ve seen many negative effects of vulnerable teenagers and image control issues. I think someone needs to take a stand, and wake everyone up from his or her self-absorbed haze. We need to find out who we truly are, and embrace that.

Works Cited:

Frymer, Benjamin. “The Media Spectacle of Columbine: Alienated Youth as an Object of Fear.” The Media Spectacle of Columbine: Alienated Youth as an Object of Fear. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2015.

Debate.org. “Do Music Lyrics Promote Violence?” Do Music Lyrics Promote Violence? N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2015.

Eminem. 97 Bonnie and Clyde. Eminem. Street Dance, 2004. CD.

Odone, Cristina. “We Have Replaced One Class System With Another: Instead Of Lords And Ladies, We Have Layers Of Celebs.” New Statesman 128.4423 (1999): 10.OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

Stice, Eric; Hayward, Chris; Cameron, Rebecca P.; Killen, Joel D.; Taylor, C. Barr Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 109(3), Aug 2000, 438-444.

Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London: SAGE, 2005. Print.

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