Youth and Beauty

1188 Words3 Pages

Youth and Beauty

America is a prosperous country. In fact, sociologists have discovered a uniquely American disease that they call “affluenza.” This term refers to the stress and related disorders that develop from Americans’ need to constantly spend money on material possessions and supposed self-improvement. It is not enough to just be comfortable, we must have it all and look perfect. We work ourselves ragged and neglect our families and relationships just so we can buy the latest television, even though the three we already have work just fine. People in third world countries struggle to keep their children fed. If work is available, they earn money to buy basic necessities; they do not have the luxury of saving up for a new car. As Americans, we are so caught up in the materialistic that advertising is a billion-dollar industry in this country. What we buy also relates to our other obsessions: youth and beauty. We worship celebrities, but only until they turn fifty. Movies featuring older actors (women in particular) are rare; and even our numerous “reality” television shows all feature beautiful people in their mid-twenties to early-thirties. However, this is not reality: Americans are made up of people of all ages and shapes. Since we can afford it, we buy whatever nature does not provide, from makeup to plastic surgery. Our advertising reflects consumer demand, which in turn reflects American priorities.

While people in poorer countries can not pay for surgery that they need to survive, Americans spend millions on surgery to make them look better. For example, the number of breast augmentation surgeries increased five hundred and ninety-three percent from 1992 to 2002 according to the American...

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...ese ads play to that mindset. They say that you can have your looks without spending large amounts of time or money on plastic surgery; and since we as a society have a large expendable income, we are particularly susceptible to this type of advertising ploy. We want to be able to buy as many things as we want, so we are attracted to products that can save us money while giving us what we think we need. Cosmetics also offer more rapid results than surgery, which is important in our fast-food culture. It is a promise of youth and beauty in a bottle: what every American wants.

Works Cited

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2004. 20 February 2004. <>.

Lutz, William. “With These Words, I Can Sell You Anything.” Exploring Language. Ed.Gary Goshgarian. Pearson Longman, New York: 2004, 393-406.

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