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Body Image

& Identity

By Raina Nasab Halabi

Raina is fifteen years old and lives with her family in the town of Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. She has attended the Niagara Academy of Tennis for the past three years. Is hopeful in receiving an athletic scholarship to a university in the United States of America. She enjoys sciences and plans on pursuing a career in dentistry.

T eenaged girls often complain about how flawed their bodies are, and desire to be thinner, or weigh less. Moreover, young females continue to aspire to attain an unhealthy, unnatural, and abnormal self-image, such as being excessively skinny. Society forces teenaged girls to strive for an unrealistic body image.

Unfortunately, girls are taught from a young age that they key to success is beauty. Commercial media uses models like Naomi Campbell and Nikki Taylor, as well as other super models, to communicate a message. This message indicates that these women are what you should look like, and indirectly makes you strive for their image. To continue, the media unsurprisingly pushes the idea of weight-loss with unrealistic results onto young women.

Teenaged girls are constantly and falsely lead to believe they should be a certain weight or body shape. For instance, Hollywood movies usually show the attractive male setting his sights on the skinny, pretty, popular girl. An example of

this is in the movie High School Musical, when the main character Troy, the jock, goes after Gabrielle, the gorgeous new girl in town. Certainly, it’s upsetting, but it’s the reality of today that the media controls teens’ thoughts on body image.

So how can this problem be changed? On the positive side, there could be more regular and plus size models in magazines and on television. Also, there could be less advertisements for diets that cause people to lose massive amounts of weight in a short period of time, only to gain it right back in return.

Not only does society encourage negative weight-loss, but it also pushes teenaged girls down the road of life-threatening eating disorders and a confused self-image.

As a result, girls resort to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia to make them look the way they think they should. Many kids and teens successfully hide these disorders from their families for months or even years. While eating disorders result from a serious mental and behavioral health condition, they can lead to other serious physical health problems.

Anorexia may affect a child's growth, bone mass, cause puberty delays, an irregular heartbeat and blood pressure problems. The continuous vomiting involved in bulimia can cause tears and severe inflammation of the esophagus, in addition to gastric disturbances, blood pressure problems, and erosion of tooth enamel.

In summary, teenaged girls are living in a society that promotes an unrealistic body image. It seems clear that young girls are striving for bodies they generally can’t have. They have a desire to become thinner, and unnaturally under-weight due to the unhealthy pressure of the media. Accepting who you are will allow you to be all you can be.


Youth Perspectives

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