In today’s world, everyone has an opinion on everything and anything. These views aren’t always great ones, or ones to be encouraged, but they are out there. And no one can filter everyone out there. So for the first time in history, everyone has a say. This is both brilliant and bad. So many people can see something and wholeheartedly believe its true. Even if it isn’t.
One of the biggest issues facing today’s teen is body image. What is body image? Dictionary.com’s definition is an intellectual or idealised image of what one’s body is or should be like that is sometimes misconnected in such mental disorders as anorexia nervosa.
Bad body image is so common these days you can ask children as young as 5 and they’ll tell you what they dislike about their bodies, and the lists of dislikes are generally miles longer than the likes. Why is this you ask?
Teenagers spend an average spends 31 hours a week on the Internet, according to a study done by Cyber Sentinel. As we all know, you can access almost anything on there. So its no surprise that most teens will have seen pictures of super skinny, gorgeous people online. Magazines and websites have pictures of their size 0 models. But what accompanies these pictures of skinny beautiful smiling people, is the message “This is what you should be like. Skinny equals Happy”.
Celebrities are also partly to blame. Who here isn’t jealous of Kim Kardashian’s gluteus maximus? Or Emma stone’s teeny tiny frame? And yes, they are amazing and always look great, but people don’t see the team of make up artists and personal trainers who make all this happen. They just see the final product.
So people see these impossibly beautiful people in magazines and web sites, and think they have to look like that. And then when they don’t, they feel ugly. Then go on crazy diets and workout routeing. This results in eating disorders, depression, and so many other negative situations.
In the U.K., studies show that children as young as 5 are thinking about going on a diet. B-eat estimates that 1.6 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, with Anorexia Nervosa affecting 1 in every 100 girls between girls between 15 and 30. 30% of all anorexia suffers will have long term illness, but eating disorders aren’t the only horrendous bi-product of bad body image. Self harm and depression are also huge worries.
So, how can we stop this? We need to change our attitudes towards our bodies. Skinny doesn’t always mean happy, and as a wise friend of mine once said, “I’d rather be ugly, fat, and broke and happy than beautiful, skinny, and rich and miserable.”
Everyone needs to look at these pro-anorexia websites, and think, Really? Is that healthy? And we need to take everyone’s views on this subject with a pinch of salt. Because who can define perfection? Only you. And if you’re happy with how you look, why do you care what other people have to say?