The Inhumane Qualities Of The Guideline

I am a runner guided towards a track race made of cement and cheap paint, advertised to be the ink used to write the Fourteenth Amendment. I am approached by mass media, allured by their pledge to protect me, I take comfort in their deceiving smiles. Before their smiles can subside I am handed The Guideline, and pushed towards the starting line. The cement beneath me, where the track race lies becomes a reminder of deception. The cheering crowd lining the track race symbolizes my unspoken signature, accepting The Guideline’s requirements for women only.

The Guideline states:

  • I must be beautiful at all times for the pleasure of men.
  • I must keep every flaw secretly tucked away, thus becoming a woman.
  • In order to reach my true potential, I must follow every bullet point, as a result giving up my individuality.

The Guideline is inhumane, going against the very nature of our being, contradicting our basic right to feel, to be flawed. As a result, creating this paralyzing thought,"I must be perfect, I must become everything." Perfection in the dictionary does not mention a perfect woman. The term woman is only defined in a dictionary with four words, a woman is “an adult human female." That is simply what she is, anything else is just an opinion and should be seen as such. Yet, the numerous opinions of what a woman should be, as resulted in the word “Woman” feeling heavy and unrecognizable. In the track race I imagine, this burden now translates to cuffs cinched to my ankles, almost making it impossible to pass the finish line. This is where I began to question myself, will I be considered less of a woman if I am unable to run this race with such elegance?

The question in itself shows how influential mass media is to woman. Why am I so focused on how I am being perceived, and how slow I am running? My entire being is of a woman and nothing can take that from me, even if I tumble a hundred times. When seeking validation from society, the truth is often never revealed. The messages I receive through ads and magazines are often watered-down truth. This version of the truth usually becomes a distraction for women: causing us to focus all of our time mimicking this image of what a woman should be. If women fail to meet the requirements of The Guideline they are then shunned from society: deemed as less than. From a very young age I realized this is the price women have to pay: I will be endlessly critiqued and judged based on The Guideline set by others. From this discovery, I began to see the value of self-worth. I began to see how contradictory a person can be. Today I am everything, tomorrow I am nothing if I base my worth on how others perceive me. If I put my worth in the hands of corporations, I am today beautiful and tomorrow imperceptible. This “here today, gone tomorrow” mentality now becomes a theme for everyday life. When mass media conveys women as disposable and replaceable, Society and women than deem themselves and others as such. As a result, creating a destructive cycle that diminishes women’s self-worth.

Mass media has a strong influence on modern culture, women are constantly being bombarded with messages from a multitude of sources. These messages promote a sense of what is and is not important as a result controlling how we think and perceive others. The Limited Effects Theory, argues that because people generally choose what to watch and read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence. Although there is some truth to this theory, the freedom of choice to decide what to watch and read. The heavy messages being conveyed through mass media usually influence a woman's choice in magazines and tv shows. A woman will more than likely choice a Glamour magazine over a Men’s Health magazine, due to the message targeting a specific demographic through imagery. The Class-Dominant theory, argues that the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite which controls it: the people who own and control the corporations that produce media. This theory seems more ideal, when a person contributes a large amount of money to a corporation their input is largely considered due to the wealth he or she provides. The Culturalist Theory, developed in the 1980s and 1990s combines the other theories and claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. As entertaining as the theory might be, the content is still being provided by the same corporations this “safe haven” that people go to for a sense of comfort will still be controlled by corporations. (The Role and Influence of Mass Media)

This illusion of choice directs women towards products, clothing and music that all convey the same message as The Guideline. When mass media uses products to allure women is when it is seen as problematic. Collectively, GE, News Corporation, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS control a huge portion of the media in the U.S. How can six corporations define a woman when each CEO position is ran by a man? A man should not be the voice of women, just like a woman can not be the voice of men. I do not know what it feels like to grow up as a man. Yes, I  am sympathetic to the obstacles a man will have to face, but I do not empathize with him. If I can not fully grasp the challenges that comes with being a man, how can I than know what he needs? How can a group of men push this idea of what a woman should be when they are not empathic to our barriers? If The Guideline came to life, she would have perfect hair that bounced off of her polished skin that resembles the track race, with a body that changed with each man’s individual taste. However, her eyes would be as dull as the paint that wrote The Guideline. When she opened her mouth she would recite, “My body is not my own.” Thus, she would be the ideal submissive. This guideline was made to benefit men, stop the progress of women, and glorify inhumane qualities. (Media Consolidation: The Illusion Of Choice)

Until women are in these CEO positions, there will always be a power struggle. Increasing the number of women in top leadership positions at these entertainment corporations, can begin to help control the message that is being conveyed. As a result, little girls will see a broad spectrum of women from different backgrounds being publicized and taking pride in themselves. Women will see realistic standards of a woman being conveyed and not feel pressured to fit a mold. When the next woman is allured by mass media, there will be warning signs near the track race made by women, in hopes to expose the inhumane qualities of The Guideline. Unfortunately, there will always be some form of The Guideline in our lives whether it be corporations telling us to see our flaws as abnormal, or men deeming us less than based on our inability to meet their requirements. Due to this, dismantling The Guideline should not be our main priority, In order for women to avoid the track race, we must re-educate women on the importance of self-worth. When women find themselves being allured by mass media they can than remind themselves of their value and assess their worth as a human being. If women find themselves running the track race, they can simply look to the sidelines and find zealous women reaching out to them chanting, “Your body is your own.”

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