A Distorted Perception of Beauty

Trinity Jeffrey, Editor

Statistics from nationaleadingdisorders.org report one in three girls have starved themselves or refused to eat in an effort to lose weight, while almost half knew someone their age who has forced themselves to throw up after eating. More than a third know someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder. But why, what is this pressure causing young teens to feel the need to go to such extreme lengths to be thinner?

Nearly nine in ten American teenage girls blame fashion and media industries for pressuring them to be smaller.

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From an early age girls are bombarded with magazines filled with pictures of beautiful, tall, and thin models. These are being shown to teenagers in a time of their lives that they are easily influenced with this peer pressure to be thin. However, what most don’t realize is these covers are extremely edited; hipbones are taken in and thigh gaps are made to look wider. Teens are striving to look like someone who is not real.

It is no surprise advertisers use the “art” of airbrushing photographs to alter what reality looks like. Dove, a soap manufacturer, has proved this by posting a YouTube video called “The Evolution of Beauty”, showing how much editing can change a picture.

However, airbrushing is not the only distorted aspect in the fashion and media industry. The average model is 5’8”, 116 pounds. However, the body mass index chart, or BMI, reports that a 5’8” woman should weigh between 136-150 in order to be healthy. Many girls call themselves fat because they don’t look like the cover models, but in reality they are considered normal in today’s society.

It is not practical or possible for an everyday woman to look like models do. These cover women spend hours a day working out and have every meal planned by a professional dietitian to ensure they keep their small figure. Being a size zero is a career in itself.

If the covers of magazines were realistic and used an everyday type of body image, girls would most likely not have the messed up perception of beauty like they do today. They wouldn’t believe you have to be stick thin to be considered attractive. Singer Ariana Grande could not have summarized this issue better by saying “Too many young girls have eating disorders due to low self-esteem and a distorted body image. I think it’s so important for girls to love themselves and to treat their bodies respectfully.”

It all comes down to a matter of respect- for a girl and for her body, to realize she is not made to look like a human mannequin.