We have influences that shape our understanding of ourselves. We are scrutinized by science and psychology and studies from every institution on every issue. Who is mentally ill. Who gets to own guns.
Are these studies digging into the roots of our behavior or is the searching shaping our growth, behavior and other things that make us "work"?
Are some of these studies which seek to know the human psyche aimed at a more effective way to manipulate our thoughts, feelings and behavior.
The media, not surprisingly, shapes our thoughts and feelings about everything. We are a vast network of communication. How can we escape it anyway even if it is a mass deception to put people under microscopes, so to speak, and down right control every aspects of our lives?
Advertising is a huge industry in itself regardless of the products and services it promotes.
Without a doubt it influences the way we see ourselves. I mean, the way we physically look. Our appearances. It's not a conspiracy to set up "norms" of appearance but it is certainly a vast influence.
Just look at the way our view of human beauty has changed over the years. Women and men in the early days of the movie industry presented us with people the way they were. Bogie wasn't handsome. Liz Taylor wasn't slender. They were people who looked like they were--people with a lot of talent. And movie fans loved them. (Shouldn't acting be about acting?)
Consider how the movies and television images have set a "norm" of beauty such as perfect hair, perfect and overly white teeth, thin beyond health concerns. Notice how everyone in network TV are "pretty" and "handsome" now. (I once worked at a PD detective bureau and I can't recall a single detective male or female who looked like some of the unrealistic and plastic characters we see on TV crime shows.)
I say, yes, these things have manipulated and shaped our norms and promoted an unrealistic image to want to imitate.
My point is: one of the most destructive things to our society may be the mirror.
We can see and focus on how we look, so we'd better look BETTER. Sure, hair, skin, teeth, size etc. ought to be healthy and mirrors are a great tool for measuring the state of our well-being. But should it determine who we really are?
All this goes beyond wanting to sell people pretty clothes and shampoo. I'm pretty sure.
I, for one, WAS pretty when I was young so I had nothing to worry about. Except it was a strain to keep that going. I didn't dare go out without a socially acceptable wardrobe and hair style.
Striving to look amazing made me self-conscious and uncomfortable around other people. For instance I'd go to a party and first thing I did when I walked through the door was look around at everyone. If I wasn't the prettiest girl in the room my self-esteem took a nosedive.
Sometimes appearance helps. I got a couple or three jobs because I was attractive. I didn't learn to type until I was in my 30's.
When my dazzling, sexy, & grand looks started to go I was dismayed to see I would have to get some skills and a personality. What a SHOCK.
Now I FEEL attractive and young, slim and graceful, well-groomed and well-dressed. Also, HAPPY. That is if I stay out of the range of a mirror.
With a mirror, I am often shocked to see an older woman with a mature figure, wrinkled and white striped hair. That can't be me. It's my mom or dad peeking out from behind the mirror. Someday it will be my grandma looking back at me.
Mirrors are our worst nightmare. They are way more influential and destructive that images on a screen or in a magazine (Internet too).
For some reason beyond our comprehension MIRRORS are liars. They tell us we don't look good, we don't look the way we are supposed to, they don't make us look the way we are.
I wish they'd never been invented.
It's what we know and how we feel -- not how we look-- that gets us from place to place in life. Keep that in mind when you're invited to a party or looking for a job or any other activity that is designed to make you happy.
Looks aren't everything regardless of the old axiom. Get over that.
Use mirrors as a tool and not as a tool to shape your SELF.
You're real. Don't settle for being an image.