A Culture in Need of Substance

Those that know me, know that I detest the culture that we live in — a culture that celebrates superficial success in relation to that which has substance. It’s not hard to find examples of this. A simple trip to the grocery store ensures that while you’re going through the check-out, you can catch up on the latest celebrity gossip. The VERY important who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Miley Cyrus VMA's

  • Who’s lost and/or gained weight.
  • Who’s leaving who for someone else.
  • Who’s got the best and/or worst bikini body.
  • Who’s wearing what.
  • What you should and/or shouldn’t wear.
  • What products will make you happy.
  • What pushed [insert generic celebrity name here] over the edge.
  • When [insert generic celebrity name here] found out he and/or she cheated.
  • When [insert generic celebrity name here] found out she was pregnant.
  • Why the relationship ended.
  • Why he/she cheated.
  • Why she wanted a baby.
  • How-to look younger.
  • How-to look thinner.
  • How-to dress for your body type.
  • How to…

While I won’t deny that I enjoy looking at some of the Best-Dressed photographs, I do find myself annoyed that there is very little substance represented in these magazines. Why? Because it perpetuates several bad things.

1. It breeds insecurity

While these magazines harshly criticize those that are supposed to be the most beautiful people on the planet, they also set an unrealistic standard for us regular women to follow. Further to this, the extreme emphasis on how we are supposed to look perpetuates feelings of inadequacy about our external appearance.

2. It makes us judgemental

If magazines have the right to criticize celebrities, aren’t we entitled to as well? And aren’t we entitled to criticize those around us? The truth is, if magazines were evaluating individuals about their stances on issues like poverty, human trafficking, climate change, or some other global problem, I might find merit in their evaluation and criticism. Instead, they assail female celebrities for wearing the wrong shorts – socks combination, or celebrate when someone goes off the deep-end (see Britney Spears’ 2007 fiasco). And when we read and see what’s happening in Hollywood, we feel entitled to assail that girl in the mall, or a coworker, or our ex’s new girlfriend.

Why aren’t we scrutinizing over things that matter?

3. It skews reality

What we view in magazines is a strategically marketed end result that is designed to achieve a specific purpose. Since it his highly marketed, edited, polished, etc., it’s not a true reflection of reality.

4.  It distracts us

There are SO many more important issues in the world that we should be thinking about instead of fretting over whether we reach a ridiculous standard of beauty, or celebrating the fact that someone else’s life is a complete train-wreck, making us feel better about ourselves.

5. It makes us superficial

I don’t think I need to elaborate on this point. If you still don’t know why it makes us superficial [and why that’s not a good thing], you have missed the whole point of this post. Sad day for you, and a sad day for me.

***After writing this post, I came across a fantastic article “written” by CNN.com’s Managing Editor, Meredith Artley, which has nicely solidified my point.***

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3 thoughts on “A Culture in Need of Substance

  1. MaerF0x0 says:

    Regarding your comments about Celeb magazines affecting women.. ditto w/ Rom Com movies affecting men.

    • brandiweston says:

      Thanks for the comment, MaerF0x0. While I don’t doubt Romantic Comedies have an impact on the male psyche, I am wondering if you could be a little more specific? Do you mean that men often feel inadequate, self conscious, judgemental, etc. after they watching them? Or just really annoyed? 😉

  2. Cindy Quixote says:

    I love the title of your blog. I hope more people of your generation have the courage to be thoughtful and reflective as you.

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