The Next Morning by Jennifer Bakala

by Martine, , March 2, 2011

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The story I am trying to portray is about a girl who is impacted by the media and suffers from self-esteem issues.  The self esteem issues lead her to engage in activities involving drugs and alcohol that leave her with regrets and feelings of even lower self worth the next morning.

The beginning of the day starts off with plans being made with a phone call to a friend.  The phone booth serves as a border with the attention being on the subject, the girl.

Our materialistic society bases our values of a person on image; therefore, shopping is often a significant part of a person's life.

The media sets unrealistic standards for young women to obtain and they are constantly bombarded with images and messages relating to “being thin” and conforming to an impossible ideal.

Every day magazines young women can grab at a store are falsified with the main message:
“if you are pretty you have value”

The girl is getting ready to go to a party and is putting on false eye lashes, which symbolizes the concept of “you aren’t good enough the way you are”.

The makeup bag symbolizes the pursuit of perfection.  When people apply makeup they are putting on a mask, or putting on a show because they are covering up what they perceive as flaws.  In other words, they are hiding their true selves due to the media projections.

Although the girl seems to be happy in the picture, we already have seen and will continue to see that she struggles with deep emotional issues.  She puts up a front based on what she thinks other people expect or desire of her, trying to conform to the social pressures.

The girl's reliance on a foreign substance is used to feel better about herself. 

This shows the futility of acting and that there will always be people, no matter which mask a person puts on, who will be judgmental.  If a person's self esteem is based on what other people think than they will always be unhappy because they cannot please everyone.

As the drinking continues throughout the night, the alcohol enables the girl to gain a temporary feeling of self-satisfaction.  The reliance on alcohol is used as a social lubricant.

This is when the girl first meets the guy and is still contemplating if she should fill the desire of what the guy wants.  The media ties into this because being sexualized means you are pretty and according to media, being pretty means you have value. 

The girl is torn between maintaining the respect of her friend or feeling better by using sex as a way to feel attractive and therefore valuable.  On one hand, women are always told to be sexy, but we still live in a society where being sexual gives negative connotation where women are labeled.  It is a conflicting message of be sexy, have sex, and then on the flip side, you're slutty.

Due to the girl's low self-esteem and desire for self worth the decision of the girl is portrayed in this picture and foreshadows how that decision will be isolating for her in the end.

“You don't deserve to feel lonely, but the drugs you’ve got won't make you feel better.  Pretty soon you’ll find that it’s the only little part of your life you are keeping together.” Elliot Smith

The girl is committed to her decision where in this photo her body language is portraying complete interest in the guy in order to fulfill her needs.

This picture serves as a symbol; even though all of the alcohol has been consumed the girl still has a sense of emptiness that lingers.

The empty bottle continues to show her sense of emptiness.  Her facial expression is showing us that she has lost control to the external factors that she is trying to make to produce happiness. 

The girl leaves the party with the guy and her arm positioning shows us that part of her is trying to hold onto something or reach out for help because she does not want to follow the path she has chosen.  The girl is held responsible for making her decision even though she was under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

The mess of the night based on the girl's decisions and the mess of her emotional state are portrayed in this picture.

This picture shows contrast with the black and white and the light and shadow. Note that the girl is still in the darkness the next morning and the alcohol, drugs and sex have just perpetuated the cycle of self judgment and self criticism. This shows that the double standard still exists in society; the guy is in the light sleeping at peace and the girl is being consumed with feelings of guilt and regret.

 

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