I looked in the mirror and thought, I want to be skinnier and more perfect. Body image: the way you see yourself and imagine how you look. Most of the time, having a positive body image means that you feel comfortable in your own body and you feel good about the way you look. But have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and were unhappy with how your body looked? In 1998, a poll found that 47 percent of girls in fifth through twelfth grade said they wanted to lose weight because they wanted to look just like women in magazine pictures. 69 percent reported that magazine pictures impacted their idea of a “perfect body”(Deseret News). 8,000,000 or more people in the United States have an eating disorder and 90% of those people are women. The media's significance on weight loss can be extremely dangerous for children and teenagers because they want to fit into what the media considers to be “perfect.” But why?
In the island of Fiji, beautiful women were those who were curvier. They are considered “jubu” which means strong. But this was all before the cast of “Beverly Hills 90210” arrived on the island on television. In only three years, the rate of teens and kids with eating disorders went from zero to 11 percent (Becker). It is extremely sad and insane that girls these days think that they have to live up to the expectations of a movie star to be happy.
I binge watch TV series and I’m sure many others do too. I sit there and watch shows for hours. Staring at thin characters on Netflix shows, making me feel self-conscious about my body. Am I fat compared to them? I hated my body when I was in middle school. I thought and built the theory that I was fat. I wouldn’t eat in public because I was embarrassed and self-conscious. I thought everyone was watching my every move and I felt pressured not to eat in front of others. I would starve myself until I was at home, in private, where I could eat all I wanted to eat with nobody observing. Watching these characters on TV impacts kids and teens and makes you want to act, dress and be just like them. But we need to realize that those characters are only imaginary. They’re not real people. In real life, they go through the same struggles as us. Everybody is flawed in their own way because they’re human. We’re all human.
There is a developing concern with the number of teens undergoing plastic surgery with the expectation that it will improve their body image and self-confidence. Models, pageant winners, and actresses have gotten thinner over the years which is causing women and girls to have impractical expectations about their bodies. Also, reality shows that present plastic surgery or major makeovers are being criticized for not setting a good example for healthy body images. When a kid is unhappy with their image or weight, it is the parent’s job to take control and make sure their child is happy with their body. "It's two sides to the same coin, especially when you see this celebration of incredibly fit or even overweight bodies--it's easy to forget there's a whole person there.No matter what, that's delivering a one-sided message that parents have a lot of power to help their kids overcome (Schlosman)." But this has been very difficult for parents these days because of all of the social media like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and web surfing. Kids have more confidence and faith in media than their parents these days. Girls see these incredibly fit women who, you can tell, devote most of their time to being fit and thin. They think that is how we should all look. No kid should commit all their time to becoming fit because it is not a good thing. There’s a lot more to growing up besides being fit.
Surprisingly, there can also be pros to worrying about your body image. When some people see an image of a thin body, it can inspire them to work to get their ideal body. It gives them a goal or something to aspire to. It can also encourage exercise along with having a healthy diet. Striving to be fitter can be healthier for your mind and your way of living. What I've learned is that having a healthy diet can make you a more positive person and mindset. Not only are you healthy but it also makes you feel in good health, in good shape and energized.
Kids and teens want to be just like those in magazines, TV shows and movies. But trying to be as thin as celebrities and models can be unhealthy and a dangerous risk. Kids suffer from eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, depression or anxiety when it comes to body image. Being insecure about your body is common among teens but sometimes it can go too far and get dangerous. Being fit and thin doesn’t always lead to happiness and there is no such thing as the “perfect body.” Everyone is perfect in their own ways and nobody should have to think and agonize only about their body image.
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