Lofty aspirations inspired by media

By BenitaZepeda

In a society bombarded with hundreds of messages and advertisements each day, it’s important for people to recognize what their opinions are and stick to them. Think about it: How many commercials are on television for beauty products, anti-aging creams and celebrity tabloids that proudly display people who had work done who needed it? Perhaps we aspire to aspects of life we cannot attain.

The British television show “How Television Ruined Your Life,” narrated by comedian Charlie Brooker, uses satire, video clips and pop culture commentary dripping with cynicism and sarcasm to illustrate how the media are a major reason for all things bad in our world.

First of all, one must not forget the medium he used to convey his anti-television sentiment is delivered on just that—television. Yet, despite the hypocrisy, he does bring up some valid, thought-provoking points.

It’s possible society crafted a sense of unattainable aspirations and ideals because of the media. Reality television and the ridiculousness of many celebrities, like Heidi Montag or Paris Hilton, directly feed into our perception of life, whether we like to admit it or not.

Not everyone is going to have a three-car garage with a six-figure annual income, most won’t have custom-built houses by a swanky architectural god that creates a live-in work of art. Most won’t have famous rapper friends or make it rain in the club—although, I do know one person who literally did that and seriously regretted it the next day.

Of course all of that seems like common sense, but these are messages drilled into our brains, forcing many of us to subconsciously—or consciously—think this is the life we hope to have some day. Many TV shows depict beautiful people living in unrealistic homes while engaging in extravagant leisure activities well outside their financial means. For instance, the character Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex in the City” could afford to live in Manhattan and buy expensive shoes while struggling to make it in the journalism industry.

Or what about all the brats on shows such as “My Super Sweet 16?” These teenagers are getting $100,000 cars, staging auditions for people to earn an invitation to their party and spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on choreographed dance numbers, deejays, firework shows and cakes. What happened to inviting people to your house for a bite of cake and video games?

So many of these images and advertisements create a false sense of poverty or lack of sophistication if you’re not clubbing three nights a week or spending $150 on dinner every night. People need to realize extravagant lifestyles aren’t realistic even though we are constantly surrounded by the idea of it.

Not everything we see on television is true, and we need to keep in mind what we want for ourselves in life. Sure, you can always want the money, cars and big houses, but finding a comfortable and fulfilling life should be our goal. Leave the glitzy lifestyles and fictitious ridiculous aspirations on TV where they belong.