Most girls feel the same way when it comes to body image. Whether they talk about it or not, it happens. They wake up feeling great and like they can conquer the world, and then they get online and see the stereotype that women “should” look like. After that, they go through the day wondering if they are enough, wondering if they are pretty, wondering if they will be noticed.
95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25, and only 10% of those people will seek help of any kind. We live in a culture where thinness and beauty are admired, and it seems to be the point of focus among most women. It is becoming more noticeable that the size of women in the marketing industry are becoming smaller, making it harder for “bigger” girls to feel like they fit in. Eating disorders have been proven to be a direct link to negative body image. Almost 20% of people suffering from anorexia nervosa will die due to the illness. In addition to physical complications, eating disorders often lead to psychological and social issues like depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and withdrawal from family and friends, ultimately making the situation worse.
If we consider society’s idea of the “perfect body image” for women based on the average fashion model, we would think that the perfect woman was about 5’10” and weighed only 120 pounds. Media also tells us that women should be blonde, tanned and have big breasts and an attractive backside. She should also be athletic. This stereotype is almost impossible for most women, causing a backlash of negative emotions toward a person’s own self. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that one in every 3.8 televisions commercials conveys an “attractiveness message,” telling viewers what is considered attractive. The typical American teen sees more than 5,260 of these “attractiveness messages” every year. That’s almost 14 a day. And people wonder why this generation has such bad habits when it comes to our bodies.
People are constantly bombarded by image filters. Whether it be on social media, tv, magazines, etc. There’s always a way to fix that blemish, tighten up those thigs, make your stomach smaller, and of course make yourself prettier. It has become a social norm to edit a picture that you post to make yourself look more attractive in order to get more likes and/or comments.
Media holds the power to influence the way people view themselves. I for one know how it feels to wake up every morning feeling less than perfect, but I also understand the difference between a realistic body goal and fantasy ones. Some people aren’t so lucky however, and they will do whatever they can to make themselves fit into the media stereotype, no matter how painful or dangerous it is. People can advertise body positivity all they want until they’re blue in the face, but honestly, take it from someone who understands low self- esteem: it’s not going to work. Nothing is going to get through to some people until the stereotype is changed. Deaths due to anorexia or suicide because of negative body image is not going to decrease until the media decides enough is enough. The media is the only thing that holds the power and they’re going to use that power any way they can in order to rake in money, even if it means killing their viewers to do it.