Society sets a lot of standards, but many of them are tied to sex and our bodies. The media takes advantage of this fact and uses it to sell products — after all, sex sells. But, with a constant fow of images that hint at various messages, self-esteem can be a big problem.
We don’t talk about self-esteem often because it reminds us of middle school assemblies and our preteen years. But in this case, self-esteem and sex go hand-in-hand. Without some level of self-esteem, no one would be having sex, as we all would be too self-conscious to initiate it. Unfortunately, the media can cause a lot of people to feel insecure by showing an endless stream of women who are a size 2 and men who have killer abs.
By only seeing sexy models and actors in the media, we start to question if we can hold up to that standard and start to feel inadequate. When we feel inadequate, we look for other ways to compensate and enhance — whether that is by spending $80 on protein powder or an equal amount on MAC makeup. The media sells products by subtly saying, “Buy X product and you’ll be Y.” Of course, this isn’t true but if your self-esteem is down in the dumps after a bad breakup, a rejection or in general, that could be just the thing to perk you up. These messages, although a ploy to make money, list things we should be doing to be considered normal. But there are other messages that tell us what we shouldn’t be doing.
Sex is surrounded by stigmas and if you cross the line, you will get the shame that goes with it. Stigmas are things that people do that are met with disapproval because they go against society’s general — and sometimes unspoken — rules. On the fip side, shaming is the negative reaction people have when someone has broken society’s rules, such as the walk of shame after a one-night stand. Feelings like shame and fear that come from stigmas can damage people. Becker said they cause people to be disloyal to themselves and others unless they are comfortable and confident.
Any set of friends can agree that lying to each other is a quick way to break a friendship.Since society places such harsh judgments when people do not follow its messages, it would make more sense for those messages to be clearer. But double messages make it harder to understand an already impossible idea. They cause problems when different “rules” are given to people.Men are celebrated for traditional sex; their frst time is a conquest. On the other hand, women are encouraged to keep their legs closed. And when they do have sex, it is seen as pure becoming impure. Additionally, men stay in bed after a one-night stand, but women must gather their scattered clothing and dignity and rush into the world to face shame.