Body Image and Eating Disorders:

The Connection

Nowadays, many teen girls have a Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr account. They see pictures of celebrities and models and at one point have probably thought “Why can’t that be me?”or “Why can’t I look like her?”. What they probably don’t know is that many of those models and celebrities they look up to may have an eating disorder or might be self-conscious despite being famous. Many teen girls also want to feel stylish like the models on the screen, but wear uniforms. That shouldn’t stop them from showing off their personality. After all, what matters is what’s on the inside, right? The theme here is that everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way and should be able to embrace it!

Many schools make kids wear uniforms. There are many reasons why such as helping to neutralize class differences, making sure kids wear appropriate clothes, and helping parents with the hassle of buying new clothes often, but the main one is to stop bullying. Kids tend to make each other feel self conscious and everyday they wake up and have a hard time picking an outfit that will impress their mates. Wearing uniforms can also help avoid this. In Mary Kenny’s Why Our Young Girls Should All Wear School Uniforms article, it talks about a girl who “Had been taunted for being too polite, for being serious about her studies, and for having an Australian accent--you’re not allowed to be order to fit in, she went to some trouble to be nicely groomed--mascara’d eyelashes, long blonde hair in impeccable condition” This just goes to show how today’s generation of girls are trying to grow up too fast, and feel that if they don’t, they won’t “fit in”, but that does not mean that they should make others feel embarrassed about their looks.

Furthermore, bullying isn’t the only thing contributing to making girls feel self-conscious about their body. Today’s generation is dependent on the internet. It’s becoming a more common as a tool for finding information, but there are also many downs to it. Websites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr are great for entertainment if they’re used the right way, but sometimes you may stumble into a dark side. Experts in eating disorders are worried about all the girls and women going to sites and looking at skeleton-thin models as an inspiration. The thing that has been trending among these healthy, but insecure teens is the desire for the ‘thigh gap.’ As Claire Mysko states in Social Media Fuel Dangerous Weight-Loss Goal, an article written by Jim Salter, “What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the Internet and social media.” What is even more devastating is that studies suggest that peer pressure from social media plays a significant role in eating disorders. Mysko has also said that “experts believe that exposure to online images of extreme beauty standards and the drive to compare does increase the risk of eating disorders.” Girls and young women have to know that they shouldn’t compare themselves to the models on their screens. They aren’t like people you would see on the streets, they wear tons of makeup, but that doesn’t make them perfect. No one is, but we should all be confident in our skin.

Lastly, the life of those famous models and celebrities aren’t always to what you’d imagine them to be. The relaxing beaches, popular events, the fame, etc. all might come after paying a high price for it; To get skinnier. Former Prada model, Georgina Wilkin, tells her story about her time as a model. She states “ I was a size eight but I was told to lose a few inches.” she eventually did lose weight and got herself a contract. “I had expected it to be glamorous and fun, but it wasn’t like that at all.” Since she was all on her own, and did not take good care of her health, pretty soon things got out of control and she had to be admitted to a hospital for anorexia. She tells the readers that “ I was encouraged to lose weight unhealthily by my modeling agent, but teenage girls need to be proud about what they have as human beings.” Now, Georgina works in a job where she can be happy and confident with who she is, but admits that her experience is something that will haunt her forever and still has day-to-day struggles with controlling it. This goes to show how things can be deceiving, and that sometimes, people take things, such as good health, for granted.

To conclude, there are many things that make girls nowadays feel insecure, such as social media, bullying, and looking at “perfect” models on the runways. This is because they feel that they should grow up fast and that they have to look like the people they see on screen, but that should not be anyone’s case. Everybody is beautiful in their own way, they might not have something they want, such as perfect hair, but they might have lots of intelligence. Everyone is unique and beautiful IN THEIR OWN WAY, they just have to find the right people who will, see it and bring out the best of them. Girls have to know that good looks don’t mean anything if they don’t have a nice personality

Works Cited

Kenny, Mary. "Why Our Young Girls Should All Wear School Uniforms." Belfast Telegraph. 26 Nov. 2013: 33. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.

Salter, Jim. "Social Media Fuel Dangerous Weight-Loss Goal." Independence Examiner. 04 Oct. 2013: N.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.

Wilkin, Georgina. "Former Model: 'What Young Girls Can Learn from My Anorexia'." 20 Sep. 2013: N.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Feb. 2014