Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

Posted on October 24, 2011




Body image.  It’s something that we all struggle with.  Whether it be that we are too big, too skinny, too pale, too hairy, or we simply just don’t like the way we look.  Let’s face it, body image controls our daily lives. 

Teenagers are the largest group of people who struggle with this issue.  We are our own worst enemies and are able to self destruct at any moment.  Teens will push themselves to the limit to be considered “beautiful”, and to possess the “perfect” body.  According toTeen Health and the Media, “In a study of fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video [like Britney Spears] or a clip from the TV show “Friends”.

In the U.S., pressures on what you are “supposed” to look like are everywhere.  So what is the leading cause of it?  Is it the media, peers, or even your family?

CHS senior, Alex Kenneke said, “I think teens stress about it so much because of our media. There is always that person that you want to look like because you feel like they’re better than you. I’m not sure if there is anyway to stop this though. It’s part of the teenage nature to be a bit insecure sometimes. I think we have to realize on our own that we are unique and that we need to be ourselves.”

Emily Farrington, CHS homecoming queen, stated that “I think that teens want to fit in and be appreciated by their peers. Girls want attention from boys and boys want to be found attractive by girls.”

How we are perceived and our first impressions are a big part of us as well.  Unfortunately, most people in today’s world look at the physical attributes before they look at someone’s personality.   

Ms. Stewart stated, “In a room full of strangers, do you approach the “fat” guy first or the cute, muscular football type?  People are judged by looks all the time…. in social situations and for employment.”

Is this normal or just plain wrong?  

In an interview with CNN, legendary model Tyra Banks focused a lot more on girls and body image.  Banks talked about how girls look up to her even though she has put on weight since her Sports Illustrated bikini days.  “So when [critics] say that my body is ‘ugly’ and ‘disgusting,’ what does that make those girls feel like?”

Like Banks commented on, the media has an enormous affect on teens (girls more specifically), and can cause devastating results.

The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat.  Between “5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or borderline conditions.”

Self consciousness of body image can start so young.  So the question is simple.  How do we fix it?

“Perhaps if we are all more accepting of each other, more tolerant of differences, and certainly willing to just have a conversation with people who may not be as “attractive”…..perhaps through communication, all teens would feel safe and comfortable to be who they are….no matter how they look,” said Ms. Stewart.

Mrs. Krohn stated, “We need to make sure that teens and even younger children realize that it is what is on the inside that counts.  We need to promote being healthy, not looking good.”

So I ask you, as the reader, how do you think we can bring about change on body image?

This is a task that will put up a fight, but is worth fighting for. 





Posted in: Teen Issue