The Influence of Media on Lifestyle Trends
Throughout time, media has always played a part in our lifestyles; what we eat, how we dress, how we exercise. And as the use of technology is growing increasingly prevalent, it seems fitting that the influence of media has become too. Mass media not only influences fashion and lifestyle, but also individual attitudes and beliefs, economic trends, knowledge and information, and much, much more.
With the growth of social media, everyone has become a contributor to lifestyle and fashion sectors especially, where engagement is high and there are a variety of lifestyle and fashion communities. Influencers are one of the most common contributors on social media, amassing millions of followers, posting content targeted towards a niche. These users can build their own online communities – the larger the community, the trendier the style.
We can’t deny that in the past fifteen years, we’ve seen a rise in the online representation of plus-sized models and people of color. That being said, Ashley Graham was the first plus-sized model to walk the runway for Michael Kors, after being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 2016. Shortly after, more brands started to feature more plus sized models, such as Kate Wasley and Precious Lee.
So, the question stands to ask: Are our own tastes individually unique? Or are we influenced by the media around us to choose what we should like?
Good style is favorably rewarded with praise and compliments. But only if we know that others will like it too, right? So how do we know if our tastes are acceptable or not? Well, we simply look to the media. Is it trending? Do our favorite role models have the same tastes? Do our friends like it?
Even the way we look after our own bodies can be swayed. We can chase fad diets and exercise routines that we think will make us healthier or stronger, simply because that’s what we’ve seen most in the media. We’ll workout more often and more intensely, sometimes to the point of over-exhaustion, just to look similar to the bodybuilders on tv, or follow a sponsored fitness influencer whose body was sculpted with methods other than fitness.
So what makes media so influential in our daily lives?
Mass media is how we absorb most of our information. The news, blogs, social media, videos. We even absorb devastating news through viral memes. Technology has become such a core component in our lives and society that it wouldn’t make sense to suggest switching off the media and blocking everything out.
Instead, we should be using media to create real and consistent content. Trends quickly come and go, which encourages fast fashion to produce faster than ever before. Sponsored content is one of the biggest contributors to fashion and lifestyle influence. While it helps fund most media, it can convey false information to a large community. Ever bought something an influencer recommended, only to be disappointed?
Media will always have an influence on our lives. Which is also a good thing! But we don’t want to be constantly swayed by it. We need to embrace the individual and unique parts of ourselves! Live our lives expressing our true selves instead of being trapped in a constant state of conformity. Wouldn’t you enjoy shopping for something that you liked? Wouldn’t you enjoy exercising for yourself rather than to look like someone else? Just because something is trending, doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Not at the expense of your own health or financial stability. We need to pause and think, is this something that I really want?
The goal isn’t to become mindless, drones, with no original thought – unless, that’s something up your alley. But if we continue to mindlessly follow what we see in the media, we’ll become just that. Followers. Absorbing information with no critical thinking or personal input. Herd mentality is a dangerous path to follow; or maybe individuality is simply outdated.