Last night my mother called me into the room to ask me if I’ve heard of this new deadly trend amongst young women the 10 o’clock news likes you to believe.
“Have you’ve heard of this? Girls are trying to achieve a thigh gap!? These magazines are airbrushed and edit photos so that can make it seem like they have a thigh gap.”
I sighed a little, “Yeah I’ve heard of this, but it’s not a trend. If anything this story is bogus.”
“But this is on the news, they wouldn’t report on it if it wasn’t a serious thing.”
Smirking at her, I went on a mini 10 minute rant saying buzzwords like “generational gap”, “culture of fear”, and “internet hoaxes that turn to cultural phenomenons”.
Of course my parents probably don’t pay half attention to what I say because I always have something to say about everything. What they and many people in their age group don’t understand is that whenever some controversy story hits the news that deals with today’s youth, there’s always a hint of paranoia to it. It’s the Baby Boomers and Generation X’s way of trying to understand us Millennial Kids. Kinda like their active use of works like selfie and twerk. They’re trying to be hip, but essentially it just pushes the disfranchise youth further away.
Our recent obsession with Thigh Gaps has addressed important issues many women face. Body Issues, illness like Anorexia, and extreme body dysmorphic disorder.
I’m not denying that there isn’t an issue. A quick search on Tumblr has led me to the proana and thinspo part of Tumblr. It shows the bleak reality of some young women and men who strive for a thigh gap, even if it may kill them. My question lies, when did Thigh Gaps become such a strong desire and is the media to blame?
Which comes to my point of our society’s obsession with living in fear.
One of my earliest memories of college was my one of the first classes I ever attended at Purchase.
It was an 8:30 College Writing course with my learning community, which in reality I wasn’t supposed to even be in. During my senior year of high school I took College English, so I could avoid taking the class in college and to have some credits under my belt. However I was placed in Advanced College English, which in reality just meant the same English course the rest of my learning community was in.
Freshman year they place you in learning communities so it can be easier to make friends. Our learning community focused mostly on the Mass Media. This interests me because as at budding journalists, I felt this was the closes community to my major. Everyone in my suite had the same class, so we were able to essentially create our own little community. Thus the name fits.
I fondly remember my first professor. He was this short buggy eyed white guy who always looked exhausted and perpetually anxious. He was fairly laid back and treated us like adults. He was a stickler for being on time. So showing up late was out of the question.
The class ended up being one of my most memorable classes. Besides the fact that we were small tight-knit group that not only all lived together on the same floor, but we also shared similar beliefs. Some of us did butt heads, but that’s college.
I can say most of my time in undergrad was spent reading or half reading books I barely remember, The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner was a book I still quote to this day.
This book dispelled a lot beliefs I had about our culture, like the threat of people putting razor blades or poison in children’s candy during Halloween. It is nothing more than a few isolated incidents that became an annual scare feast for parents. Til this day there’s at least one story during Halloween about how parents should check their children’s candy for hazardous items.
Which leads me to my second story. The recent exposure of the “Knockout Game”. Another trendy story my mother bought to my attention. Unlike the Thigh Gap phenomenal, The Knockout Game was news to me.
The Knockout Game, according to Urban Dictionary, is a game that “urban youth” are part of in which they knockout unsuspecting victims, usually white and in some cases are Jewish. Urban Youth is just a politically correct way of say black kids and a less racist way of saying Nigger.
Death and Taxes did an amazing editorial titled “Supposed ‘knockout game’ is just a new name for an old racist panic” in-which they looked into similar trends in recent history that ended up being “white panic” rather than actual trends.
For example, with the Central Park 5 case, a landmark case in which five young black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for the rape and beating of a young white woman started white paranoia in the 80s in New York City. This idea of ‘wilding’, similar to the Knockout Game, where mostly black youth would supposedly attack innocent white people. Sounds familiar? Just another attempt to paint black and brown men as animals and criminals.
However with all the media panic on the game, there hasn’t been any actual proof that this game even exist.
Via The New York Times:
Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.
And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.
“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”
Yet we have folks like CNN’s Don Lemon participating in the media frenzy by “teaching” people how they can protect themselves.
Watch the video:
So like the question I proposed for the thigh gap trend, is the Knockout Game really a trend or a reality the media is eventually going to try to make true?
We do know that violent crimes happen everyday and in all major cities. There’s no denying the fact that these crimes are happening. However proposing that these crimes fall in a pattern, when in reality they are isolated incidents perpetuated by criminals. Why are we so quick to call it a trend?
Because that is the epitome of living in a culture of fear.