As a 17-year-old girl, my experiences with insecurity with my female peers, friends and myself is vast. Since junior high school, there hasn’t been a day that I don’t hear complaints about noses, waistlines, hairstyles, arms and thighs. It disturbs me that almost every girl I know is unhappy with the way that she looks, but the most disturbing notion is that they are all unhappy with themselves because they want to look like the woman we see on our television, in magazines or on cereal boxes.
Female insecurity is a rising issue in today’s society — so much so that statistics show that 78 percent of girls are unhappy about the way they look. It is such a high percent that it seems that people expect teenage girls to be unhappy with themselves.
And as these girls age, studies are showing that the problem is not getting any better. A new phrase “thinherihance” describes the fact that “girls whose moms diet (even if the daughter considers their mother a natural weight) are twice as likely to suffer from an eating disorder.
Throughout history, women have been tucked and brushed, skinn-ied and plumped, painted and bleached, all in the name of beauty. The media, a main element that enlightens women about what beauty is, plays a key role in influencing the way women appeal to themselves and society. Advertisements scream out in bold teals and purples, “Look HOT in just 10 days!” or “Flat abs, lean arms, and rockin’ legs in just 5 easy steps!” or “Get your dream body TODAY.”
But what is the dream body of today? Most magazines and television shows, like the Next Top Model, depict the “average” woman as a toppling five-foot ten-inch, size-two women with “perfect” hair, big, beautiful eyes and a long neck. Magazines touch up every stray hair, dark circle, and dot of cellulite that any woman may have and spit out the pictures to women worldwide. Many women know the inside works of advertisers, but are still are subconsciously damaged by these faultless bodies. Why is it that when someone says, “plus sized” people immediately think that means unattractive?
Some advertisers have caught on to the fact that media dissipates women’s esteem, yet most of the media still portray women to be beautiful one way and only one way.
The media images must stop barraging us with these messages about thinness, dieting, and “beauty.” They are telling us “ordinary” women that we are always in need of adjustment and that the female body is an object to be perfected. What we want to tell all girls of every age is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the bathroom scale or through televisions cameras.