Self-Esteem Issues in Teenage Girls

How does the media portrayal of women affect self-esteem?

The Media Photoshops a Big Portion of Those Women to Look “Perfect”

What we see in the media as perfect, really isn’t perfect at all… IT’S FAKE! Photo editing applications are used to make these women flawless, as many girls would say. These companies give them wrinkle-free, blemish-free skin. Building off of my first few sentences, a lot of teenage girls in this time are getting plastic surgery. Whether it be nose jobs, breast implants, etc. They need to understand that their body is still growing and that these major procedures aren’t at this time (or in general.) One of the main strategies used to reinforce and normalize a distorted image of “average,” which sparks body anxiety when girls don’t measure up, is media’s representation of women as extremely thin. By extremely thin, I mean that the thinness is impossible for a vast majority of girls to achieve.

The Media Glorifies Eating Disorders/Self Harm

Nowadays people glorify eating disorders and that is not okay! It is a DISORDER not a cute new purse you carry around. You should seek medical treatment if you have an eating disorder, not parade on the internet encouraging others that it’s the “right way” of life. These pictures, quotes, videos and such are being reblogged hundreds of thousands of times. Is that helping anyone? No. I bet that at least one girl who has a Tumblr, Pinterest, or any other social has come across one of these so called “thinspiration” posts. Once they see how much attention the owner of the picture is getting, they are going to want that same attention. As a result, they are basically going to ruin their beautiful temple I call a body. It’s a never ending cycle. Going off of my previous statements, another thing the media glorifies is self harm. Why? Why would you want to trigger someone into mutilating their body by posting pictures of it. Yes, I do realize that some people have true issues and this is the one thing that brings them “comfort.” If you truly want to get help with your problem DO NOT turn to the internet, get professional help. There are support groups, therapists, hotlines.

Television Shows Use Older Actresses (Usually In Their 20’s) To Portray a Younger Character

On many television shows the characters that are supposed to be teenagers are played by women in their mid-to-late 20’s. When they see how much older they look, girls try to make themselves look like the actresses. This is impossible because the actresses have much more mature bodies. When the girls cannot achieve the look they are striving for, they become less confident in their appearances. Research shows that the mixed messages that the media is putting out blurs the transition to adulthood. Studies show that many teen and pre-teen girls’ confidence drops during this point in their lifetime.
Something that alarms me very much is the sexualization of girls and women at younger and younger ages. It has shown that these suggestive pictures of young women negatively affect girls’ self-esteem. This plays a role in many cases of depression, eating disorders, and most commonly; low self-esteem.

By: Azerenia Gillespie