As 2017 gets underway, people all around the world are making New Year’s Resolutions. The purpose of these resolutions is to encourage individuals to begin a new chapter of personal success and embetterment. Despite the fact that New Year’s Resolutions expose to us our lack of perseverance and determination, something more can be seen hidden in the tradition of these resolutions.
Are these resolutions representations of our individual desire for progress or is it a representation of society’s underlying beliefs? In addition, do cultural beliefs affect the goals we make for the new year?
According to Statistic Brain, the top New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to lose weight and eat healthier. Now this is no surprise as it is always the number one resolution every year. However, a deeper meaning lies beyond the goal to lose weight.
In a culture dominated by social media, both men and women are exposed to the unrealistic beauty standards of both the United States and South Korea. Despite the fact that body-shaming is looked down upon in American society, individuals are still convinced that being skinny is beautiful. This isn’t a shock as all models are portrayed with flawless skin and toned abs.
In addition, the social pressures on individuals in South Korea have brought the nation to a ranking of third for the number of cosmetic surgery procedures done. This brings to light the significance of beauty in the media spotlight. Both men and women are told that having a square or round face is ugly. They are told that having some belly fat is ugly. They are told that having tanned skin is ugly.
These condescending beauty standards are the instigators of people’s desire for self-improvement. As such, self-embetterment has become centered not on making oneself a happier person, but on pleasing society to ultimately “fit in.” Therefore, next time, when planning for the new year, it is crucial to realize the influence society has on one’s “personal” goals.