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Youth Culture Changes Our Appearance

Essay by   •  March 4, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,918 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,410 Views

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Youth Culture Changes our Appearance

In today's day and age, the general public is all too concerned about how people look, rather than who people are. This conquest for social acceptance becomes so real that the idea then becomes an obsession. The way we look plays a big role in our lives. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are easily influenced by appearances, and will stop at nothing to gain a perceived image. By achieving these perceived images, the youth's of America are hurting themselves, whether they know they are or not. Youth culture is found throughout self-beautification by means of advertising and marketing, and general production. Young preadolescent and adolescent teens have a yearning desire to look older and beautiful, while older middle aged adults languish to look youthful and more attractive. Millions of dollars are spent every year to try to enhance one's beauty. This constant struggle between what is and what is wanted seems to have virtually no end in sight.

Whether it is diet pills, fashonable clothing, or wrinkle removing lotion, appearance is everything, even if it is harmful to oneself.

One example of how American youths in today's society try to change themselves to that of the public's norms or preferences is the use of steroids. There are two main reasons why youths commonly use steroids:

Ð'* Improving their performances in sports

Ð'* Increase muscle size or to reduce fat

I'm going to ignore the first reason and look primarily at the second reason because it has greater relevance to this paper. When youths take steroids to increase their muscle size or to reduce fat they either do this for personal satisfaction or to appease someone else. Teenagers watch TV and see big muscle-bound men, with lots of money and tons of hot chicks, and say "that's what I want." Places like school are tough on self-esteem for teenagers who look to fit in. Many simply desire to improve their physical appearance, but because they are too lazy, or they do not have enough time to work out, they resort to the use of anabolic steroids. They look for the quick fix to improve their body's physique.

Bigger muscles can help increase a youth's self-esteem, but the steroids that build those muscles can lead to lowered self-esteem. If they look this good with the steroids and they are making new friends and more teens are inviting them to parties, and girls start to notice them, then why would they stop? The cost of steroids is astronomical because they are illegal and so addictive. Those who take steroids to please the public do not care what the costs may be, as long as they continued to be praised for their physical appearance. Many of the teenagers and young adults who take steroids know that they are being harmed by continued use, but become infatuated by their appearance and how much better they think look.

Another example of how Americans in today's society try to change themselves to that of the public's norms or preferences is the use of cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is a surgery that improves one's self-image by correcting a certain area of the body that the patient finds unsightly or grotesque. Its biggest benefit is tends to be more along the psychological end. It is used to minimize age-related features in people, such as wrinkles, a large nose, and sagging skin. A big part of self-esteem is the feeling that you look good. "We can cure insecurity in 30 minutes that a psychiatrist can't cure in 30 years", H. George Brennen, M.D., Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "Many youths want to get cosmetic surgery because they feel that they don't look good. Certain levels of attractiveness can open doors. It can make a difference in a teen's social life and later on, in a career," (Bloch).

Sometimes youths are going through tough times in life and they think that cosmetic surgery will solve their problem, so they go ahead with it. In the end, the teens are more depressed after the surgery because they don't like the way they look. Doctors should advise patients to look at the whole picture and suggest procedures that are in with keeping your overall appearance because today a more natural appearance is popular.

Liposuction has become one of the nations favorite cosmetic procedures. Larger youths feel they will be happier when they get rid of a large amount of weight. They will not be happy because they have to change their eating habits. People seem to forget that cosmetic surgery only changes the outside, not the inside. If an obese youth came into the surgery depressed, he or she is still going to be depressed, only thinner. Emotionally, youths are willing to sacrifice themselves physically to feel better and look more attractive to the public. But truthfully many are disappointed with their results because they tend to expect a dramatic change. This disappointment can lead to further procedures or worse states of depression or self hate of themselves.

Another example of how Americans in today's society try to change themselves to that of the public's norms or preferences is teenage girls and the ongoing anorexia problem. Anorexia is "an emotional disorder characterized by an intense fear of becoming obese, lack of self-esteem and distorted body image which results in self-induced starvation" (Thompson). It seems in today's appearance based society, girls are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, they must be thin. It is not surprising that eating disorders are increasing every decade, given the value on which modern society places on being petite. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves daily in an effort to attain what they consider to be the "ideal" figure. The girls often become frightened of gaining weight and even of food itself. The patient may feel fat, even though their body weight is well below the normal weight or right at the average for their height. Some of these young girls feel they do not deserve pleasure out of life and will deprive themselves of eating, just to adjust to social norms. They think they are making everyone around them happy by conforming to society, but in turn, they are just a number because nobody ends up happy.

One of the larger examples of how Americans in today's society try to change themselves to that of the public's norms or preferences is breast implants and the idea of the perfect body. Breast implants are typically silicon-based sacks that are placed inside of a woman's breast in order to make it larger. Despite

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