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The title of this essay is “Desire”

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Desire is a multifaceted word with different formal meanings and varied effects on people. Effects are derived from diverse gender, community, age, background experiences with the word, and its different connotations. The most common implication is linked to sexuality because of its influence on self worth in our current American society. The formal definition of desirable is “worth having” but people can also define it as being attractive, pleasing, enviable, popular, advantageous, or arousing desire. Desire means to long for, crave, a wish, to ask for, a request, or a sexual appetite. These definitions are broad, ranging from “a wish” to “attractive.” It can be used as physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or practical. It can be meant as a possession or an influence. Mostly this is seen in contrast between objects and people. To describe someone as desirable implies a physical or sexual attraction. To describe a thing as desirable implies sought-after, to want or need something for practical purposes. These days the more sexually appealing a musician or movie star is, the more popular they are with the general public. Many people are envious of individuals that are found more appealing than themselves.

Desire is very much a value imposing term. It can be positive by promoting a feeling of being wanted or needed. It can also promote negative feelings of being unwanted or unliked. It has negative implications to need, want, request, or ask for something that you do not have. People can also be targeted by desire. Men generally target women with physical desire and women generally target men with emotional desire. The connotation of this one word portrays how the younger generation of our society derives its self worth from being sexually attractive and therefore shows society’s deep-rooted problems with self-esteem.

Everyone at some point in their life has issues with their self-image. The American culture excessively promotes younger generations to derive their self worth by appearing more sexually attractive. Popular stars, which serve many as role models, dress sexually appealing and teenagers and children try to copy the look. Attention getting or attractive clothes for women, as told by many women’s magazines, are revealing. This is then said to boost sexual appeal. In the past money, family, and assets played a part in self worth. Affluent people and those with common family values were more desirable for marriage. Now the focus is on looks and sex appeal. The saying nowadays that “sex sells” says it all. People relate entertainment and advertising to sexuality. You see its influence everywhere, in movies, radio, advertisements, magazines, television, and. the internet.

I believe desire is defined differently in our society now as opposed to the past. With a modern society that bases self-worth on sexual attractiveness, the association, of many words and phrases, has taken on a sexual base. For example words such as intimate and passion have taken on sexual implications. This trend can also be perceived by looking at age. When older people refer to having a desire it usually means needing or wanting something practical- food, shelter, knowledge, company, or care. When used by a younger society, especially those under thirty years old, desire transforms to be more physically linked and with a more positive quality- attractive, pleasing, enviable, advantageous, popular, sought-after, and sexual arousal. This reflects how our current society is very concerned with looks, sex, popularity and being pleasing or pleased. While older generations are generally more concerned with practical purposes, younger generations are more worried with self-fulfillment and appearances.

A person’s whole self-identity could be based on being desirable to others. He or she would only be concerned with being attractive, having sexual appeal, being popular, and being worth having in company. Also, one could be concerned with being desirable in a non-physical way at work, school, or society. Peoples’ way of relating to or viewing the word ‘desire’ could be shaped not only by current society’s views, but also by past experiences. If as a child you always desired to have toys or clothes or video games, but you did not get them, you might relate to the word more as a wanting. Or as a teenager if you always desired to be like someone else, you were obsessed with appearances, popularity, or being sought after, then your view should have an appearance and emotional component. Being a young-adult having newfound desire for people sexually or even being told that they personally were desirable could prompt a sexual view of the word. All these examples of past experiences with desire could shape or be shaped by someone’s perception of their identity.

If I define myself as desirable, people automatically think I am being conceited because they assume I refer to being sexually appealing. For me as a member of a younger generation it is easy to be victim to thinking in these terms. I do not want my self worth to be judged on my appearance because this is a never-ending cycle. People who have low self-esteem strive to become more attractive and pleasing. If these people are not as attractive as wished they will have low self-esteem. So in turn, self-esteem continues to waver depending on self image and its positive or negative feedback. This is the reason so many young people have self-esteem problems. I do not limit my self-worth to physical attractiveness, but I judge myself on more important characteristics like mental awareness, unique personality traits, emotional stability, and contentment in general. Therefore, others should not judge themselves on looks, which are genetic and sometimes can not be changed. Basing self-worth on sexual appearance is degrading and unfulfilling and it should not be promoted to young people that do not yet know better.

Different viewpoints of this word exist not only because it can be used in different context, but because of past experiences, and connotations attached to the word. Connotations are put on the word by the influence of sexuality in our society and the changing values of our civilization in general. People should be more open to the use of different words and not automatically stereotype the meaning or implication of a word when it is used just because society in general may have attached a specific implication to it. In conclusion, no one should rely on their sexual attractiveness, judged by themselves or others, to determine the state of their self-esteem.

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