Banish Bad Body Images

Teen bodies are being pushed to the limit

by Abby Lodge

Teen bodies are being pushed to the limit of perfection as young girls everywhere are trying to replicate the “Ideal body.” Because of the dazzling impact unrealistic media images have on adolescent minds, businesses have created a market selling weight loss products and beauty aids. The increasingly unrealistic “ideal” body types create lots of self image issues in young girls. The worst thing is, many girls don’t even realize how much they are affected by words and images online. The problem is the media creates unrealistic body image expectations, and this issue can be solved by understanding that many media images are altered and by setting realistic goals for body image and self improvement.

The media's portrayal of what constitutes a perfect body creates poor body image issues in young girls. A study showed that 78% of teen woman today have negative thoughts about their body (Dahl 1). This was the result of the constant media and advertising influences on television. This proves to be heartbreaking, because even my own family member was comparing herself to those in an advertisement. Another study showed that body image issues have gotten so serious that people have started to harm themselves physically. Young girls resort to this drastic action when they feel ugly compared to models used in advertisements. “75% of young woman with low self-esteem have engaged in harmful acts that could harm their body physically including cutting, binge drinking, drug abuse and bullying” (Friedkin 3). Weight loss program ads also contribute to an unrealistic expectation of how easy it is to lose all of the unwanted weight. Advertisers trick girls into thinking they need to change their bodies to fit a perfect image, which enables the businesses to make more money. Body image and self esteem concerns are big issues, but there are ways for girls to fight back.

The body image issue can be solved by understanding that many media images are altered and by setting realistic goals. First, young girls should realize that models' photos have been altered using make-up, photography tricks and Photoshop. Girls can imagine that the glamorous models on the cover of Vogue magazine actually look a lot like themselves in real life. Second, girls should set realistic self-improvement goals that focus on beauty and health. Girls who overweight or out of shape might try to lose a pound a week by improving their diet and working out. Achieving that small weekly goal can result in losing 50 pounds in a year and improved health. Third, young girls should focus on being a well-rounded individuals rather than worrying only about their looks. Putting effort into activities like education, sports and community service will do wonders for a girl's self-esteem. These are just a few of the ways girls can banish those negative body images.

It is so easy for the media to create a distorted perspective of ourselves. But there are several ways that girls can combat these images and create a realistic body image. Realize that most of the glamorous images in the media are altered, set realistic goals for self-improvement, and take action to be a well-rounded girl who is not focused solely on beauty. Forget about what society portrays as “normal” or “attractive” and make choices that are right for you, your lifestyle, your body type, and your mind.


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