Food for Thought
By Erin Gardner
I am Erin Gardner, ‘The Seton Connection’s’ online editor, bringing to Seton, ‘Food for Thought’, a bi-monthly philosophical column. My hope for this column is to introduce thought-provoking issues and to stimulate conversation. Welcome and relax!
As the warm weather is gradually emerging, the golden state of mind is more popular and common. As the snow starts to melt and the trees start to bud, windows are being opened and winter coats are being shed. As the radio personalities report the temperature climbing, the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality buzzes; spring sports updates are being spread, mom and pop creamy whip shops are being opened, and swimming suits sales are beginning to soar.
This week’s topic: Spring Cleaning. With the warm weather fast approaching, spring cleaning articles are being featured in women’s’ magazines and home journals. The primary purpose of spring cleaning is to reinvigorate the home lifestyle as well as the individual from the previous dreariness of the winter; promoting an atmosphere of renewal.
Traditional spring cleaning usually involves wiping walls, washing curtains, waxing wooden furniture, and washing windows. However, the connotation of spring cleaning also alludes to a fresh start to the mind. Once the warmer air is available, gardening commences, walks are more accessible and popular, and farmer markets are popping up to acquire the fresher vegetation and local produce. Spring is seen as the time to reinvent the mind, usually in the forms of outside exercise to typically prepare for the coming months of summer.
The media had popularized the arrival of short weather with phrases like “beach bod” and advertisements like “slim down for summer, get ready for swimsuit season, or bikini body”. Fitness programs and promotions have geared their production value to the target audience of young women who want their bodies tanned and glistening while the pride sweats off. Photoshopped images of fit women sporting swimsuits that costs more than I have in my bank account are plastered around subways, buses, and billboards, with an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality.
Personally, I enjoy winter. I like the cold and the idea of coffee. I like large sweaters and scarves. However, I would be lying if I said that this mindset is due to the media’s over emphasized of physical attraction. It is almost impossible for young women to feel confident and content with themselves, let alone in a bathing suit, in an environment that is engulfed with bronzed, sculpted abs and toned calves. Yet, as soon as windows are being opened, people are running, participating in juice cleanses, dieting, and considering weight loss plans. It may not be physical spring cleaning, but mental and psychological spring cleaning.
Young women are nursed into a culture that swallows diet pills and sucks it in until it stings for a ‘decent’ picture. ‘Normal’ is purchasing a tan for a high school dance and purchasing a push-up swimming suit top for the beach. It is the responsibility of Generation Z to realize the dangers of false advertising and the tangible and intangible effects of materialism as well as consumerism. Perhaps, it is our turn to reinvent spring cleaning by opening our minds instead of curtains, washing our societal standards instead of walls, and dusting off positive reinforcement instead of shelves.