Pressures Of Beauty And It's Effect On Teens
Today’s teenager has a lot more pressure put on them about their appearance than ever before. Thanks to the media, teens now have a definitive idea of what the perfect person should look like. Television shows and movies, as well as magazines and music videos all dictate to teenagers what a pretty girl or a good looking guy should look like. The pressure of the media has made being a teenager more competitive, and many teenage girls are especially affected. In fact, one in every 200 women including teenagers suffer from an eating disorder, and often this can result in death if not treated properly. Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to the eating disorders known as anorexia and bulimia, as well as other eating disorders all in the name of being skinny and having the perfect body. This kind of pressure can cause teenage girls to have a low self esteem and a low body image, and can often cause them to do things that may otherwise seem out of character. Too many teenagers today are obsessed with their body weight and appearance, that the problem is becoming more commonplace and is something parents, teachers, and friends should be on the lookout for.
The Barbie Image
Often, the term that is used to refer to what teens consider the perfect person is “The Barbie Image.” If you look at a Barbie doll, her measurements almost seem impossible, and that is because they are! Tall, slender legs, a full bust and tiny waistline have all become synonymous with what the perfect woman should look like. This image is now ingrained in teenage girls’ minds as the ideal body, and it can often create a sense of inadequacy and self consciousness. Many teenage girls strive to look perfect. Comparisons to celebrities and to each other can create an unhealthy environment and a negative feeling among peers. This epidemic has become a serious problem for teenagers, and their loved ones. While having a healthy self image is important, it is not necessary for teens to strive for perfection or feel as if they are not as good as their peers.
Because teenagers, particularly girls, are so concerned with the way they look, eating disorders can be rather common. There are different types of eating disorders, and each one has its own unique characteristics. These disorders hurt the body both internally and externally. Teenagers are still in the growing stages, and malnutrition can be a serious problem at this age. Not getting enough nutrients and healthy fats can cause cellular damage and stunted growth. It is also important for teenagers to eat a healthy diet since they need fuel throughout the school day in order to study. Externally, eating disorders can also have a serious impact. Teens can become too thin and look sick, causing concern from friends and family members. Skin begins to change its tone, and typically dark circles can form under the eyes, making the person look as if they have not been getting enough sleep. Serious eating disorders can cause even more extreme symptoms, and can sometimes even result in death. Tragically, these disorders have serious impacts on thousands of teenagers yearly in the United States alone.
Self Esteem & Social Pressures
Thanks to a media-heavy society, teenagers are more pressured than ever before to feel as if they must adhere to certain standards when it comes to their appearance. The social pressure to have the latest clothes, the newest cell phone, and the coolest hair style is quickly becoming a prevalent topic. Teens can sometimes feel as if they do not measure up to their friends, particularly if they come from a disadvantaged background and cannot afford all brand name clothing. Bullying is often common, and social networking can sometimes become the catalyst for teasing and insulting each other. This can often lead to serious problems like depression and even suicide. The need to have the hottest shoes, book bag, or jewelry becomes the standard by which all teenagers measure their own self worth. This can result in jealousy, fights among friends, and a feeling as if they are inadequate and do not have the same advantages that other teens might have.
Having a good sense of self worth and self esteem is important for people of any age. Understanding that beauty comes from the inside and that it is more than skin deep is fundamental in being a confident, healthy adult. Teens should know that they are loved and accepted no matter what they look like. A good sense of family, friendship, and community is essential in feeling good about yourself. Teenage girls should be reminded that they are beautiful, unique individuals with their own special qualities, and that no two people should look the same in order to be accepted. Having a sense of peace with yourself and a good level of self-esteem results in better grades, deeper friendships, a more positive attitude, and the ability to deal with setbacks.