Media pressure on teens: Beauty pageants or Evil Queen's Magic Mirror?

It is true that life would have been pretty dull had there been no entertainment, but letting the latter dictate terms and influence real-world perceptions and values sows seeds for trouble. This is particularly true of teenagers, who, due to their inexperience of the real world, fail to make a clear distinction between what they see on the TV and what’s actually happening out there. This delusion and confusion causes them to gauge their lives based on what they’re seeing on TV, making a comparison that is both unfair and unjustified, thus making themselves susceptible to depression and low self-esteem. Parents can shield their kids from this, but to do that, it is imperative that they themselves understand the effects of TV programs and why beauty pageants are bad.

The impact of exaggerated and distorted reality on teens

Beauty pageants and reality shows like 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' are among the most notable perpetrators of low self-esteem and anxiety among teens. Beauty pageants effects on girls are nothing short of drastically adverse. The very concept of the former is to define and judge beauty, which in actual is something relative, in absolute and superficial terms. The girls participating in beauty contests are touted to be the epitome of beauty. Naturally, the female audience measure themselves against the standards of attractiveness showcased in these programs and when they find themselves lacking, their confidence and self-esteem dips drastically. Similarly, the likes of Keeping up with the Kardashians tend to influence the minds of young people, causing them to place their value on money, possession, appearance and fame over relationships. By depicting a strong correlation between these things and happiness, such shows raise the susceptibility of teens to anxiety.

While the impact of beauty pageants and TV shows is believed to be strong on girls, boys are not immune to their effects either. Programs like 'Beverly Hills 90210' and 'One Tree Hill' generally have a male cast that can be best defined as "pretty". Expensive haircuts, make-up, carefully done brows, branded clothes, everything simply adds to their aura of attractiveness. Boys draw comparisons too and reach the same conclusion as their female counterparts, thus ending up with low self-esteem and depression.

The need for parental control

Parents have an important role to play if they wish for a healthy development of their young ones. First and foremost, they need to ensure that their kids have realistic expectations when it comes to beauty, success, and life in general. It’s imperative to realize that letting their teens make the likes of Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, or Kanye West role models may lead to unhealthy mental development and leave them susceptible to depression and low self-esteem. The influence of such contests and shows may extend to bullying or snobbish attitude. Parents should limit the exposure of their kids to beauty pageants and reality shows. The producers of such shows may not be worried about the impact of beauty contests and TV shows, but the parents simply can’t turn a blind eye to it.

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