I have been searching for months, years really, trying to find a website that has pictures of folks our age in the buff. It would seem like simple task but alas I find myself empty handed. Oh sure I’ve found many images of people 18-30 in various states of undress, but they were either shot in 1940 or they were straight up porn, even then, I could only find images of white people.
Could it be that in the world of limitless information at our fingertips that we have no record of body development to which we can compare our ever-changing bodies? A metric that is current, that also happens to be all-inclusive. Sadly, It seems so.
One of the biggest goals for most people our age is to feel “normal.” We find our cliques, and socialize each other in an attempt to make ourselves more “normal.” The problem is that normal is relative and without a directory of normalcies we create our own. The ones we create are often vastly different from reality and are often informed by media. Media, as we know, is morbidly disproportionate in terms if representing normal people, both physically and mentally. Media is highly prejudiced for race, age, economic level, religion, social norms, sexual orientation, gender and for everything else to which one can be prejudiced.
The result of this is that we now have three generations of people who have no idea what it is that their body is supposed to be. These people have no idea of how they compare to one another, just how they compare to Victoria’s Secret models and Porn Stars. They have no sense of reality and no assurance that who they are is acceptable.
Without knowing where they fit in the real world they try desperately to fit in to the world that they know; The world of Photoshop, private trainers, plastic surgery, pushup bras… the world of fantasy. In this world, a size 4 is fat, a size 6 is obese, and forget about Shamu in her size 8. In this world, there is no such thing as acne, no one has cellulite, no one has a skin color that’s not alabaster, olive or caramel. In this world, people have their place, girls don’t do science, boys don’t do feelings, nerds never get the girl and jocks never run out of potential mates.
In that world, we would know where we fit in and how things work. Nothing would ever be confusing because we have our scripts and screen writers controlling our every move. We don’t have to think or worry or want because in that world we can afford a 2000 sq. ft. loft in Manhattan on a freelance journalist’s salary. We have our favorite coffee shops and everyone knows our names. We never have to wear the same clothes twice because as average American high school kids in our mid-thirties we can afford those socialite level extravagances. We are BFFs for reals. September 11th didn’t happen and we are not at war. Good always triumphs over evil. We never get old and grey; we are perfect and 17 forever. Even when we die, our makeup is perfect and we are almost guaranteed an Emmy or an Oscar.
That world is so seductive, because it’s so simple. Everything is understood and all problems are resolved at the end of the 30-minute episode. The real world is not like that.
In the real world, our room is too small and our butt is too big. Our friends are never around when we need them. The barista who begrudgingly gives us our coffee every morning couldn’t identify us next to his brother. We got beat up and bullied. The nerd did get the girl, and the jock is gay. Relationships are hard. Love is not guaranteed by a kiss. Girls have every opportunity to explore math and science; boys still have no chance to explore their feelings. Our first time was incredibly awkward and so was our second. September 11th happened and politicians for their own gain raped its memory. Subsequently we are at war, two wars to be exact. We have no idea what we want to be when we grow up, for that matter we have no idea how to grow up. We don’t know if our tits and testicles are supposed to look like that. We lose our hair in college. We get frown lines and crow’s feet. We get old. We die. Time forgets us.
All of this is real and no one prepares us for the truth. When we experience reality and all its shortcomings, it’s understandable that we would yearn for the pretty life. What we don’t realize is that we a just damaging ourselves. Fighting reality never produces anything but sad, depressed, disenfranchised youth that resents having been lied to.
I’m pissed sex ed is being challenged. I’m pissed sex ed is an option! I’m pissed M. Night Shyamalan directed The Last Airbender. I’m pissed that I don’t know how tall I’m supposed to be. I’m pissed that I didn’t know college classes don’t make you smart. I’m pissed that I feel lost all the time and no one reaches out a hand to help guide me. I’m pissed that I can’t type ‘Average 22 year old American male of African descent’ into Google and find something that looks like me. I’m pissed that our parents and their government has failed us. I’m pissed that even in this digital age as a single person my ability to facilitate change is crippled by the overarching effects of our caregiver’s failures. Specifically, their failure to recognize the needs of the many and put them before the comfort of the few.
I want to know what you think. Do you think that we need more truth and reality? Who do you think is to blame? What suggestions do you have to make it better? Why does M. Night Shyamalan make such terrible movies? Let me know in the comments below. As always you can send me you questions by clicking here. You can also follw us on Twitter @LTASex and visit us on Facebook.