The Reality of Reality TV
One of saddest things I have seen growing up is perfectly healthy kids losing their sense of self-worth. With the multi-billion dollar media and advertising industry influencing our kids I am not surprised.
The FOX show "The Swan" takes women that are self-proclaimed "ugly ducklings" and has them undergo three months with a coach, a therapist, a personal trainer, a dentist, and a plastic surgeon. In the end, the transformed women compete in a beauty pageant against each other to see who will be crowned "The Swan." MTVs "I Want a Famous Face" films the lives of twelve young people who have chosen to use plastic surgery to look like their celebrity idols. Their goals are not just to look differently, but to look exactly like their favorite stars. I find it ironic that this is called reality TV. It is not surprising that China just hosted the worlds first Miss Plastic Surgery Contest.
In 2003 there were more than 8.7 million cosmetic plastic surgeries which was a 32 percent increase from 2002. Of the Americans considering Plastic Surgery, 60% would schedule a procedure immediately if financing were available.
The Torah says that man was created in the image of G-d. To try to be someone different than who we really are is a tragedy. We cheat ourselves by throwing away what is truly unique and special within us. We were given unique gifts and abilities and we are here to actualize them.
Rabbi Zusha used to say: "When I die and come before the heavenly court, if they ask me, 'Zusha, why were you not Abraham?' I'll say that I didn't have Abraham's intellectual abilities. If they say, 'Why were you not Moses?' I'll say I didn't have Moses' leadership abilities. For every such question, I'll have an answer. But if they say, 'Zusha, why were you not Zusha?' for that, I'll have no answer."