My Problem With the Media

Society seems to focus on the rich and famous. A new update on a Hollywood divorce? A scandal? These stories appear in popular culture and trend at an extremely quick rate. Over time, women have been thought of as 'commodities' and are sexually objectified. There are thousands of articles fussing over how many carats Kim K.'s wedding ring is and the E! channel has created a reality TV show called Rich Kids, showing wealthy people "live it up" on social media by exhibiting their extravagant lives. There are even disturbing child beauty pageant shows that are watched by millions.

On the other hand, many of us don't hear about the teen who created an app to assist doctors with diagnosing breast cancer or the 14-year-old who successfully petitioned for Seventeen magazine to have a ban against photoshopping their models. My problem with the media is that there is not enough coverage of prominent female role models to inspire girls. Instead, we're forced to believe that our bodies are supposed to look like a supermodel's.

While I respect that many famous people can use their fortune and power for whatever they please, I believe they should carefully think about the influence they have. I admire women who use their status to influence and advocate for change. For example, Queen Rania is an advocate for global education. Princess Amirah of Saudi Arabia not only has beauty and poise, but she is intelligent as well. She is a strong advocate for the right of women to drive in Saudi Arabia. Angelina Jolie created the "Angelina effect" after she publicly spoke about getting a preventive double mastectomy, because of her risk of breast cancer and since then, there has been an increase in breast cancer testing.

Recently, I discovered a program from CNN called "Leading Women." They've featured Melinda Gates, the CEO of Care USA and so on. These women are role models for girls to look up to. For example, a powerful woman I deeply admire is Melinda Gates. She is not just Bill Gates' wife, she's also an extremely successful businesswoman and a philanthropist.

Finally, who could forget Malala Yousafzai? The youngest recipient of the Nobel prize, she is an inspiration to millions, with so much bravery. Referring to her attackers she said, "They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them." We need fearless girls like her, to be featured in the limelight.

Women should not be looked at as commodities as pop culture treats them. As pointed out by a brilliant TEDx speaker, Dr. Helman says that self-esteem issues, depression, eating orders, etc. are becoming more prevalent for girls. If we continue to promote so-called "flawless" models, nothing will ever change. Most of the time, the media seems to care just about beauty and fortune. What happened to valuing intelligence? I'm a person of optimism and ambition, and I believe that change is possible. This generation and future generations shouldn't continue to be deceived by beauty standards. We should aspire to make an impact, just as some of the most powerful women in the world have.