In brief, media dulls your sense of individuality, self-image, and morality.

The basic instructions I received:

Introduction – Give background or perhaps an illustrative example to show the significance of the subject or the nature of the controversy. Consider stating the conclusion of your argument here as the thesis of your essay.

Refutation – Give a brief statement of a refutation of the opposing view(s) to make your reader aware that you have considered but rejected it (them) for good reasons. This refutation may be more appropriately placed last, just before your conclusion, or even interspersed at effective locations throughout the essay. You must choose the best location.

Presentation of your argument – Throughout the body of your essay you should build your case one point at a time, perhaps devoting one paragraph to the defense of each of your premises, or setting forth your evidence in separate, meaningful categories.

Conclusion – After all your evidence has been presented and/or your premises defended, pull your whole argument together in the last paragraph by showing how the evidence you have presented provides sufficient grounds for accepting your conclusion. You may also add here some conventional device to finish your essay, such as a prediction, a new example, a reference to the example with which you began (now seen in a new light) etc.

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I collected some notes because I needed a book source. Here they are:

{Buchanan, Mark. “The Imitating Atom.” The Social Atom. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007. 90+. Print.}

The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not interested in contriving an opinion of his own, by study and reflection, but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor’s opinion is and slavishly adopt it.
— Mark Twain (90)

“We live our lives within families and networks of friends, with collegues and neighbors and an amid cacophony of voices and opinions blasted out of our television, newspapers, and the Web. Far from being isolated, like atoms in a perfect vacuum, we are fully interdependent and embedded in a thicksocial tapestry of others like atoms in a dense liquid, where we can barely move without jostling against others. Our social “embeddedness” what we wear, what we eat, the work we do, our opinions and thoughts.” (93)

{Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. By Chuck Palahniuk. Screenplay by Jim Uhls. Perf. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. 20th Century Fox, 1999. DVD.} (Though this is from a movie it was still quite relevant to the topic; I was going to use it on the stance of “it qualifies as Pop Culture”.)

“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.”
(Tyler Durden)
“We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like. … chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need .” (Tyler Durden)

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I started the paper but I’m suffering from a serious case of writer’s block. Here’s what I had so far:

Introduction:
•    Television, radio, print, billboards, and last ,and without a doubt most prominent, the internet are all used to promote the existence of one look, one style, and one beauty.
•    However, considering the vast diversity of preference, appearance, and, obviously, biology, no single look will fit the various differentiations of the world’s massive population.
•    In essence many will be excluded, counted as incapable of beauty, and even stripped of their dignity and self esteem.
•    A Claim (Thesis):
o    In brief, media dulls your sense of individuality, self-image, and morality.

Evidential Support:
•    Individuality:
o    Fashion magazines, such as Cosmo, Vogue, and InStyle portray a certain type of fashion, though they claim to promote diversity, they’re all about the latest trend and how WRONG an individual’s style is if the guidelines for their highly promoted fashion “masterpieces” aren’t properly followed.
o    These magazines give people all the do’s and do not’s of “fashion” and tell these individuals if they do not find these “HOT” then they are inevitably a “NOT”.
o    These enterprises entice with pretty colors, persuasive words,  and celebrity “opinions” by mass marketing through all media forms.
o    Truthfully, at the end of the day all they’ve actually convinced individuals to pursue is an identical style and appearance to the newest celebrity who’s looks are “The Look”.
o    So, these men and women go through tears, agony, and are willing to give an arm and a leg, just to get those Stilettos, that Chanel, or that Burberry they’ve been convinced they “cannot Live without”.
o    Two weeks later there’s a new trend and that Gucci, those Jimmy Choos, or that Armani that just hindered all chance of survival if they were not obtained are now out of style, no longer fit, or just don’t look right on that person’s physique.
o    The intense subliminal messaging screams at young men and women to conform, to spend every last dime they have on material things that will make them more “attractive” or “stylish”, and when they do not or cannot conform they’re ostracized from society’s views of beauty.
•    Self-Image:
o    In our current society positive self-image is difficult to obtain initially, let alone consistently preserve, as an individual matures in the inevitable shadow of the media.
o    On any given day, people will be inescapably bombarded with a perpetual stream of advertisements all depicting how “perfect” life will be once they have acquired the product displayed.

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