Growing up in a society where everyone thinks the only way to be beautiful is to be a size 0 and having the perfect contour is extremely disheartening. Every size, every shape, every person is beautiful in their own way; with or without makeup, curvy or not curvy. All that matters is that you feel happy and healthy in your own skin. No number of likes should determine your self-worth. The number on the scale should not determine your self-worth. However, with the omnipresent media, this way of thinking is almost impossible for some.
Body dissatisfaction is on the rise in the United States and about 80 percent of 10-year-old American girls have been on a diet. According to one article, a large amount of stress comes from seeing what their peers are posting online. Adolescents are at their height of needing body image validation (Knorr, 2014). Being in a constant silent competition with peers can be extremely deprecating for adolescents.
According to the Common Sense Media article (2014), messages that are portrayed in the media can also lead to extreme body dissatisfaction. The media has been largely criticized for creating unrealistic expectations of what the “normal” body image should look like. This sociocultural norm is difficult, if not impossible, for most adolescents and women to obtain leading to dissatisfaction with their own bodies.
The question that arises is where do these adolescents and their peers come up with the criteria of what ideal body image is and what is not? Is it the media that is dictating what an “ideal” woman should look like? How could this be entirely true when the ‘perfect body’ in the media has looked extremely different over the years? Marilyn Monroe was considered one of the most popular sex symbols in the 1950’s. Today, she would be considered a ‘plus size’ woman. Looking back on the ideal women in the past, one can clearly see the gap between the bodies of idealized women and everyday people has gotten wider. Continuing to educate women and girls on what should be considered a realistic, obtainable body image, could result in a shift in the media. Recently, the brand Dove has been displaying advertisements using models with more diverse body types who more resemble the body types of everyday people. If more brands and/or industries sense a turn in everyday people’s view of what the social norm should be, the future may see other changes in the way the media depicts the ideal body.