Unattainable Body Image Reinforced by the Media

By: Simone Dunbar (Correspondent)

In Sharon High School, as new trends come and go, so does the struggle for one to accept and love their body.

According to a study done by the Park Nicollet Melrose Center, approximately 80% of U.S. women do not like how they look. Unattainable body image is a rising issue in the current culture of America, even as a variety of media sources are attempting to display different body types and complexion.

One Sharon High School Freshman says that they are not considered bigger by the general public. “I have been told that It’s good that I am skinnier and that I should be treated better because I am skinny,” they said.

“Personally, I have been lucky enough not to be pressured to feel like I have to change my body type, but know that it’s been made out that certain body types are better,” they said. They say that people have actually walked up to them and told them that it is amazing that they are so skinny.

They add that when they were younger they didn’t have a big appetite and people would ask them if they were starving themselves to stay small. “[Being skinny]is something that’s natural, but it’s made out to be that if you’re skinny you must be controlling it to be that way. When they say things like that it can be frustrating, because it is just who I am,” they said.

They say that in the media, they have made it seem as if they have stopped portraying women in a bad way because they show women of all body types and races. “If you look at magazines for perfume or lingerie where a woman is supposed to be ‘sexy’ they will always show a skinny, tall, and curvy woman,” they said. They add that they are also a lot shorter and that is made out to be a bad thing as well.

“It is great that some media has started to show all women rather than a certain type, but it should be all clothing brands, types of media, and TV shows,” they said. They say that although brands offer larger sizes, the models are still women with ‘perfect’ bodies and that is not a good enough representation.

“Some stores still have ‘one size fits all’. This can be very frustrating because when the type of clothing that is trendy is only one size, those who can’t fit into it are pressured by society to become smaller or be curvier,” they said. They say that when more companies are trying to be more forward in this aspect, it is almost worse because it is small things that can still be giving a wrongful representation of women.

They add that in certain clothing that is supposed to look a specific way, brands will pick a certain body type to wear that clothing. “Before it was so clear that what is happening is wrong. Now it is harder to pick out what’s wrong, but those who are affected by the images of media feel worse.” They conclude that the media has grown in becoming more open in some aspects.

One Sharon High school freshman says that they are more flat-chested than other people and they have been told that. “The problem is that I never had any opinions about my chest before, but after being told that I started worrying about it, looking into the mirror, and noticing it,” they said.

They say that things that never stood out before are starting to be noticed when they’re pointed out. “I try not to make it such a big deal, but it can be. I can see how body image can become a big part of someone’s life,” they said.

Another Freshman says that for a lot of teenage girls, starting at a very young age, there are depictions of what you should look like and what you’re supposed to be. “That can change your perception of yourself. I have never been shamed by my friends about the way I look, but even just going to school and seeing other girls makes it very easy to compare yourself and expect yourself to be just as good as everyone else,” they said.

“It is really unfortunate that people are judged and critiqued on the way they look rather than their character,” they said.

They say that when they were about 7 years old, they started to have unrealistic body expectations and judging themselves when they looked in the mirror. “I don’t think there has ever been a time that I have looked in the mirror without judging an aspect about myself,” they added.

They say that they don’t think media portrays women well. “There are so many expectations regarding skin color, makeup, and curves. It is impossible to be all of those things,” they said.

“It is unfair for young girls and boys that will later develop problems in their lives like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders,” they added.

They say that in certain aspects the issue has decreased because of campaigns that advocate body positivity. They say that there is definitely more talk about it, but that it is intensified by the media. “Children are starting to use social media at a younger age which increases this issues. So I think it is like both things are happening at once,” they concluded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *