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A True Story: The Media and Sexuality

Lorraine M. Anderson, 17
La Puente, CA

For me to stand here and call myself an individual would be incorrect if I based my everyday life on another's opinion, such as the media.

The majority of our society has stereotyped "sex"as a bunch of teenagers drinking at a party and having sex. My first question is why is it only teenagers? Why must we be under the influence of some substance or intoxicated in order to have sex? Reality check, people.

Our world is based on sex, drugs, and being perfect. What right does the media have to tell us how we should live our lives? Don't they have their own lives to live? I understand that they write articles and criticize people for a living, but guess what, guys, don't try to tell anyone how to live their lives unless you are their mother or father.

I love to write and may decide to become a journalist or writer someday. That doesn't necessarily mean that I need or have the right to tell you how to live, what to wear, and how many pounds you should weigh. Only God can judge me, nobody else.

I feel that God has gifted me with a talent to write. When my teacher asked me if I was interested in writing this, I was honored. Sometimes we experience things that are unbelievable, unimaginable, and seem impossible. It isn't until we hear another's story that we realize it is possible. Some of the world's greatest directors, scriptwriters, authors, and poets have experienced things and then gone on to write or make a movie out of it. In my opinion, the best books or movies should be based on a true story.

Our media not only controls our world, but it controls individuals. What would be your accurate definition of sexy? Is it a supermodel in a bikini strutting on the beach with her blonde hair glistening in the sun? For nine people out of 10,it is.

Every time I open a magazine, I feel fatter, uglier, and downright degraded. But at the same time, I will still go to the store and purchase a magazine no matter how bad it makes me feel. Why? Why would someone let a book of beautiful people and articles talking about acne, weight loss, and the best styles get to them? It may be because they're unhappy and insecure with themselves and they are vulnerable. Not everyone, but you know who I am talking to. I am one of those people.

As opinionated and strong as I may be, I was vulnerable because of the world I was sick and tired of living in. I had sex with a boy who was older than I and became pregnant at the age of 16. I am now in my thirty-eighth week of pregnancy and struggling every day.

Since I could remember, I always thought I was fat and ugly. I shut people out and hated myself for it. Therefore, I chose to have sex with someone who did not meet up to great expectations, drank, and was irresponsible. We, of course, did not use protection or contraceptives, and I got pregnant. Let me tell you it is not every 16-year-old girl's dream.

Immediately, I blamed myself. Although it took time, I realized that it was no one's fault. There was no one to blame for my having had the gift from God to conceive a child. There are women and couples out there who cannot have children. But God chose me. He chose me. I am tremendously thankful for that, and it is the best thing that has happened to me. Even though my pregnancy resulted from having sex, I have accepted my duty as a mother and am anxious for the birth of my child yet to come. I am not encouraging girls, young girls, to go out and have a baby. All I am doing is sharing a story that needed to be shared to whomever will read or listen to it. Once I became pregnant, all of my insecurities and unhappiness vanished. I have something more to look forward to.

In my personal experience, life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. I have those days when it just seems impossible. Where I throw the towel in and just call it quits. But I tell myself today is just today. It's not yesterday. It's not tomorrow. It's today.

For me to stand here and call myself an individual would be incorrect if I based my everyday life on another's opinion, such as the media. My hair is this color because I want to it to be. My weight is this much because it's my weight. No one has the right to tell me how I'm supposed to look. My dream one day is not to be a supermodel strutting on the beach but to be an inspiration to those just like myself. To stand up in front of thousands of people and not be ashamed of who I am or what I look like.

I enjoy writing because I want to prove a point. I want to capture someone's heart and let them know that they are not alone. Nobody was there for me, but I know God has a plan for you and me. No matter what, he'll never give you what you can't handle. Just when I thought I hit rock bottom, I only rose to the top. It's not about me anymore. I have a child on the way who needs love, attention, and a suitable mother.

Overall, I hope that I have caught your attention and proven a valuable point. Don't let our media influence you or make you have low self-esteem. Don't be what everyone else expects you to be. Be who you are, and you will get somewhere in life. For those who may be in my situation now or later, you will survive and live on to fight another day. If I can do it, so can you!!!

****************************************************************************

April/May 2003 SIECUS Report

Reprinted with permission of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. 130 West 42nd Street, Suite 350, New York, NY 10036.

Visit Advocates for Youth's Web site to learn more about adolescent sexual behavior and contraceptive use.

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