The Manipulation of Body Image

Photoshopification (the manipulation of photos) is becoming a normal thing into today’s society. This causes conflicts in the terms of originality. “The ability to digitize information also challenges our intuitive assumptions about a variety of things everything from the ‘reality’ that a picture represents to the external symbol systems that words and images together create” (Patterson/Wilkins 229). This manipulation of images can also cause major deception to the eyes of the viewer.

This idea of deception is most prominently seen in the fashion world. Models are highly edited to appear perfect. All wrinkles are removed, their waists are shrunk down to ridiculous portions, and butts and breasts are increased. This is not only deceiving but it’s causing people to have unrealistic expectations for themselves. This has a huge impact on young girls.

Women and girls feel the need to be unhealthily skinny because of this photoshopification of models. Recently there has been this fad going around the Internet that has appalled me. It is called The Paper Challenge. Girls hold up a standard size sheet of paper (8 ½ by 11) portrait view against their stomach. If the piece of paper covers their whole stomach then they are the “perfect size”. Our view is skewed because of major editing of photos.



Another phenomenon that women recently become self-conscience about is the thigh gap, aka the space between your legs. Apparently it is seen as unflattering if you thighs touch (which is perfectly normal and healthy). This has gotten so out of hand that an artist found it necessary to make a fake ad for Thigh Gap Jewelry. But, when people go to try and buy it, it sends them to a page that talks about unrealistic beauty standards.


Much like Aristotle’s Golden Means, the fashion industry needs to seek out a happy medium and find a middle ground between two vices. Perhaps, it could alter the photos a little bit to take out minor flaws but not to the extent of complete untruthfulness. Another way to think about it is in the view of Utilitarianism in that it would be more beneficial to a large population of people if the photos remained unedited. Otherwise, women and girls would feel the need to be unhealthy just to fulfill society’s beauty standards.


Mass Media in Democratic Society: Keeping a promise

Looks have played a huge role in the media and public opinions. I believe this judging a book, or rather a person, by their cover (looks) could cause many problems within society. Yet, people judge by appearances quite frequently in society today.

There have been studies done that show when it comes to elections people find a certain face shape and structure more trustworthy than others. This just supports the idea that people basic quite a bit upon appearances. Another example of this is when John F Kennedy had a debate against Nixon. According to the people who listened to the debate, Nixon had won the debate. Yet the people who watched the debate televised were positive that Kennedy won.

I find it interesting how so many candidates do everything they can to please the media and public. They have to make sure they are wearing the perfect tie or have the perfect hairstyle and are as put together as possible. They test many different options to find the perfect portrayal of themselves. All the things they say are very calculated and planned out. Trump has no filter and does whatever he wants for the most part, which has got him quite a bit of attention in the media.

The more of media time the candidate receives the better. In Donald Trump’s case he has been prominent throughout the media; however, he has been receiving both positive and negative publicity. Usually it is frowned upon to have the media put a negative light on a candidate but it is working in his favor. Currently Trump and Hillary are neck and neck. This raises the question: is any kind of publicity good, even negative publicity?

Hillary has also received quite a bit of media attention because she on the track to potentially be the first female president but she leaked government emails and has been getting grief for that. I would think that negative issues such as these would turn people off from voting for these candidates. Why then are they leading in the polls? This frustrates me to the highest level. I want someone in office that is trustworthy not who is just going to do whatever he/she pleases.

Another concept that can be tied into this idea of media influences on the democracy is the idea of loyalties that William F. May discusses. The media and journalists feel loyal to their papers and public. Sometimes it feels like they put the paper first to get the best stories out, without considering the effect it could have on things such as potential political candidates. Many journalists seem to be rushing to report on Trump because it grabs people’s attention and makes for great stories. These reporters do not realize or do not care that by giving Trump this attention they are helping him rise in the polls. These journalists should be out seeking the truth. In order for it to be the full truth, they need to stay objective, which could be done by equally reporting on all the candidates instead of just putting Trump in the limelight. “All facts and people are regarded as equal and equally worthy of coverage.” (Patterson/Wilkins, 23) This is the Enlightenment view of truth that is briefly discussed in the book.

The politicians themselves have loyalties too. The most common trend I see in politicians is loyalty to them-selves because they are seeking higher ranks in the government and some will do a lot to reach their goals, which Trump and Hillary are definitely doing in this election. If either of them are elected to be president, “I cannot just stay here and spend the rest of my days here,” I will probably move to Canada.



Privacy and secrecy are often mistaken for the same thing but in reality they are quite different. In some cases there can be mixture of both. The anonymous quote, that states if you “Keep your relationship private without keeping your partner a secret, [there will be] a difference between privacy and secrecy.”

Furthermore, some people choose not to post their relationship status on Facebook to keep their privacy protected because they feel the only people that need to know are the people they are close to. Philosopher Louis W. Hodge describes this in the second circle of his concept of the circles of intimacy. On the other hand, if someone did not update his or her relationship status, in order to keep it a secret, other people may get the impression that they are not committed and open to dating.

There is a fine line between when it is okay to share private things with the public and when it is not okay. This conflict is often seen in journalism. A person’s privacy is put into the hand of the journalist who gets to decide what is written and what is not. The journalist gets to decide what is on and off the record, which I think is kind of sneaky on their part. I hope that journalists inform the interviewee of this, but I have a feeling most do not.

Another conflict along those lines that has become more prominent in this age of social media (where people are always on the grid) is the issue of celebrities’ lack of privacy. It is getting to the point that the celebrities know that they themselves will not be able to have privacy but they are calling on the paparazzi and the public to at least respect their children’s privacy.

Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry have been fighting for this right to privacy through the court system. These two women attested before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in support of a bill that would protect celebrities’ children from the constant harassment by photographers. Jennifer Garner stated “I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing law-breaking photographers to camp out everywhere we are, all day every day, to continue traumatizing my kids.”

I feel that sometimes we do not think of celebrities and other leaders as people. Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” demonstrates this point well where celebrities and other well-known people read mean tweets that people have written about them. Anyways we need to realize that they are people too that deserve respect and privacy as much as every other person. If you look at this issue through the Veil of Ignorance by removing the status these people have they are the same as you and me. If we do not wish to have our privacy violated, why should we violate theirs?


Money & Media


“Seems like everybody’s got a price” tag. (Jesse J) Art has become less about the beauty of telling a story and more about the profit. Film companies are less likely to take risks on smaller films or cast not so well known actors. “The same mentality is true of music and book publishing as well, where fewer producers meant fewer outlets for artists and a dumbing down of content to please the mainstream audience.” (Patterson and Wilkins, p.168)

They are constantly making sequels and spinoffs of characters because they know audiences will watch these for their beloved, and favorite characters. Also there is whole big phenomenon of splitting up a movie into two or three parts, which seemed to become the fad after the last Harry Potter was released.

The most well known flop that did this was The Hobbit. It split up a three hundred paged book into three movies compared to The Lord of the Rings where the books were four hundred pages long and each only had one movie per book. This caused The Hobbit to go off the storyline and the producers added way more action to interest the audiences. They inserted this action because the thrill of action packed films attracts a bigger crowd; hence bringing in more money.

This is similarly happening with the X-Men franchise. They keep making unnecessary movies so they can keep the rights to X-Men. If they don’t make an X-Men movie every two years or so they lose the rights, so they keep making dumb movies because of this contract to bring in more cash because this is the era of super heroes.giphy (1).gif

Aristotle’s Concept of the Golden Means talks about how virtue lies in the middle of two extremes or vices. Currently, the film industry is on the excessive side of the scale. These producers and companies are overcome with the vice of greed. According to Aristotle, they should try to find the happy medium of ambition but not so far down the scale that it becomes sloth.

Josiah Royce’s idea of loyalties also play into this. The media or, in this case, the companies in charge of producing films, music and books are being loyal to themselves and whatever brings in money even if they ruin the art in the process.

They care more about the money than the people. For example, the situation Kesha had to go through with where she has not been able to get out of a contract with her producer who raped and used her. Royce says “loyalty as a single ethical guide has problems.” In this case the company is being loyal to an unethical cause. They will not release Kesha from her contract because they do not want to lose money. Once again they are being loyal to themselves and have a lust for money.

No Hiding on Ash Wednesday


Often sharing our faith can be a very scary thing. There are many skeptics and non-believers. Ash Wednesday is one of those days that we cannot hide from people when it comes to beliefs. It is literally written on our face through the form of ashes. Symbolizing repentance that we are asking from God for all those times we have sinned. The beauty of this day is God undying forgiveness and it’s awesome to see all those brothers and sisters that are united in faith and communion with us. It also gives us the opportunity to talk and converse with those of other faiths or those who have lost there way from faith. The Ash are a great way to strike up a conversation about God’s beauty and awe. X3Sab-i41oaiqaa-hl-1