Experiences: Body image suffers in the media

Today more than ever, adolescents are concerned about their weight, shape size, and body image which lead to diets or in other cases anorexia.

The Magnet Tribune: Creative Commons license

Today more than ever, adolescents are concerned about their weight, shape size, and body image which lead to diets or in other cases anorexia.

Lucero Rea, Experiences columnist

She is locked in the restroom, hiding from her parents so that they won’t find out.  Avoiding food or eating excessively is what she deliberates is the best for her.  She’s repeatedly stepping on the scale and checking her body constantly to see if any changes are evident. She looks at her reflection but doesn’t see the dark circles under her eyes or notice how dry her skin has become. The rhythms of her heart are now irregular, and her hair is constantly falling out. Her moments before the mirror are a daily ritual of self-deprecation. She is not alone in her struggles, but like millions of other young people, she doesn’t realize that her secrets are slowly killing her.

We are in a society that promotes unrealistic body ideals, and young individuals tend to compare themselves with nonsensical expectations. Society dictates that we must be thinner if we want to be accepted or loved and, for many teenagers, peer pressure and the influence of celebrities, magazines and the media cloud their understanding of what it means to be healthy.

Nowadays, we are exposed to countless body images on social media that try to give you “the perfect body”; however, it is not keeping in mind the thousands of individuals who are hurt by these ideas. Mass media is used among all ages but especially adolescents. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a powerful platform to showcase what others perceive to be “the perfect body”; however, many of these images distort the truth, sending cryptic messages to young people without any regard to how they impact or influence others. Social media is not the cause of the problem; nonetheless, it does contribute to body dissatisfaction.

Many adults, both men and women struggle with eating disorders but, mainly teenagers; the constant posts of “the perfect body image” might be building up their level of stress. Today more than ever, adolescents are concerned about their weight, shape size, and body image which lead to diets or in other cases anorexia.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where people who suffer from it have the fear of gaining weight and can come to be tremendously thin due to social pressures, stress etc. They see someone who is overweight and their image of themselves is dangerously distorted. There’s an abundance of motives why some teenagers go to the extreme of suffering from an eating disorder; nevertheless, the media should be keeping in mind that a photo-shopped picture of a women in a magazine might be causing a teenager to do whatever it takes to become like someone she aspires to be.

Most commercials portray a “beautiful woman” as something entirely fake by being photo-shopped in many possible ways; however not all the media sources provide a pessimistic message.

Dove is a hair and skin product which is well known for their inspirational commercials and projects for their “Real Beauty Campaign”. They promote self-esteem, mainly for the high percentage of low body confidence in women and girls. Dove does not use professional models for their product nor do they retouch the bodies of women in their advertisements. We need a positive change in the industry like the Dove campaign, with less exposures of ultra-thin models on every commercial out there. One way or another they’re making individuals feel worse about their own bodies merely because all we see on advertisements are models. The positive approach of the Dove campaign is a promising sign that change is conceivable and that the concept of beauty can be redefined.

We cannot let the media’s view of beauty lead individuals towards eating disorders and negative body images.  The media must stop airbrushing and should feature all types of women with different shapes and sizes in their advertisements. Commercials need to style healthy behaviors in order to allow women to feel good about themselves and can stop feeling pressured by the media. The psychological and emotional damage can be irreversible. Young people need to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and treasure what they see. The value of self-worth is immeasurable and can be life-saving.

There has to be a decrease of girls locking themselves in the restroom after binging on large amounts of food or restricting their food intake. If you’re that girl, eating disorders are not “glamorous” but deadly. Do not believe today’s society when they say you don’t fit unless you’re pretty and skinny.

Take a strong commitment and a mindful determination to succeed in building your own self esteem. Assertiveness is important for a healthy self-esteem and for your overall wellbeing. Devote more time with people who encourage you, and less time with people who discourage you. Treat yourself with deliberate acts of kindness and most importantly love your body and self.