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Image Analysis

In: Other Topics

Submitted By aje42
Words 1347
Pages 6
October 29, 2012
An Interpretation of Society Today Back to 1921, writer Frederick R. Banard published an article titled, “One Look is Worth A Thousand Words”. To this day that phrase still remains true and is referenced often. A picture does tell a story, but what kind of story it tells depends on how it is interpreted. Generation Me author Jean Twenge shows self-esteem and interest in self in many different ways throughout the book. Here, the two images portrayed display those same things along with self-confidence and self worth. As Twenge states, “The society that molds you when you are young stays with you the rest of your life” (Twenge 2). The images hold true to Twenge’s statement. Generation Me has evolved into an all about me society. The first image is that of a young, white, obese male walking through a crowded area. The young man is wearing a brown shirt with the phrase, “I’M #1 SO WHY TRY HARDER” printed front and center where everyone can notice. The second image has an older man, possibly in his sixties, dressed in a navy suit and blue tie and carrying a brown leather brief case. The older man is looking at a younger man in his twenties. The younger man is wearing a black suit jacket, casual striped button up shirt unbuttoned at the top, and jeans. Instead of a brief case, the younger man is holding a yellow binder along with a manila folder in one hand and a smart phone in the other. The images show GenMe’s focus on self. The younger men in each image are part of a generation that has grown up encouraged to focus on self, when maybe instead the focus should have been on personal health, respect for others, and having a positive impact on society. The two images spoke volumes because of the reading from Generation Me. GenMe has been raised, encouraged, and even praised to put self and self interest and happiness first. In image one, the young man looks happy with the way he is. He is standing tall with his shoulders back, has a smile on his face, his head is held high, and even seems to have swag or stride to his walk. Despite how he feels about himself, others might only see his obesity, love handles, chubby cheeks, man boobs, sunglasses that look too small for his face, no neck, and a future of many health risks. The love for his pleasures is actually causing harm. In image two, it’s the boomer generation versus GenMe. The older man is dressed to impress. He stands there like the average, active sixty year old with white barely there hair, a nicely trimmed white mustache, gold round-rimmed glasses, right hand in his pocket, and his left hand gripping what looks like an expensive briefcase. Opposite of that stands the younger man in his own casual, technological world. The fit and trim young man has a lip piercing, a messy cool hairstyle, no wedding ring, and doesn’t have a clue about the older gentleman standing next to him. He just stands tall, focusing on whatever is on his phone. “GenMe is straightforward and unapologetic about our self focus” says Twenge (Twenge 49). The love yourself, believe in yourself, and express yourself teachings have developed a society with an attitude that has gotten out of hand. The overweight young man in image one doesn’t seem to be worried or apologetic about his obesity or public smoking. It seems that he is proud of his weight and love for nicotine. It’s possible that he grew up with the influence that he’s special and he should love himself no matter what anyone thinks. The message on his shirt displays that influence. As for the young man in image two, it seems he is unapologetic about being casual, having a lip ring, messy hair style, and lack of respect for others. Both young men in these images seem to have been raised during the self-esteem movement. The obese man in image one has probably been babied by his parents and family because of his weight. Instead of his parents encouraging healthy eating and exercising habits, fast food and television were likely to be a norm for him and his family. The young professional man in image two is showing that you just have to be yourself and express yourself. Those two messages were likely to be a big influence throughout his life. Under the suit jacket and unbuttoned shirt with no tie are probably tattoos to go along with his edgy lip ring. Twenge mentions, “In a 1999 survey of 766 college students with tattoos or body piercings, the most common reason given for their choice was “self expression”” (Twenge 96). According to Twenge, “Young employees may need some guidance on how to deal with older people. They may come off as disrespectful when they are merely being friendly and informal….Consistent with this theme, they will also respond to a casual dress code” (Twenge 218). It could be that the young man in image two who seems unprofessional just might be abiding by the actual dress code. Job places today are less strict on work attire whereas the older gentleman grew up going to work in suits, ironed buttoned up shirts, and ties every day. GenMe has probably never even used an iron. Furthermore, the young man might have said hello to the older man and just went on about his business not knowing what more to say. Comparing these two images to American life today, it is suggested that young Americans should try harder to better themselves and be happy for the right reasons such as eating healthy and staying active and not being at risk for diabetes or lung cancer. Another suggestion could be that young Americans should pay more respect towards elders, try harder to make a better impression on people of older generations, make conversation, and ultimately give older generations reason to believe and trust in the future generations. It goes back to what my fifth grade teacher used to always say, “You get respect when you give respect.” GenMe oftentimes forgets that, and simply demands the attention given to them growing up. America has been known as a place where dreams come true, a place where there is more, and a place where opportunities are endless, but it’s also become an unhappy, lonely, depressing place. Society has so many more advantages than previous generations yet we lack personal connections, a sense of community, and a feeling of security and safety. When looking at image two, it is apparent there is no wedding ring. The young man is likely to be focusing on finding a job rather than trying to have a dating life. The older man with him has probably been married for the past forty years. In image one, the message on his shirt would lead one to think that he is his own priority and his smoking around others says that he doesn’t care about the impact he has on the community around him. GenMe needs to understand that this isn’t an all about me world. Teaching today’s children self-control over self-esteem has many great benefits such as better relationships with others, less likelihood of narcissism, better learning skills, competiveness to improve, and having realistic expectations. Twenge ends the book by saying, “In the coming years, I hope that we will all realize that we can’t make it solely on our own. Generation Me needs realistic expectations, careful career guidance, and assistance when we become parents. In return, we will gladly lend our energy and ambition toward our work and toward helping others” (Twenge 242). If these things were to be molded into the children of GenMe just think of the positive directions the future can go in.

Works Cited
Twenge, Jean M. Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before. New York: Free Press, 2006. Print.…...

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