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A Teen's View

Body Image

Kat Dart

(7/2011) Imagine looking at a friend’s Facebook album titled "Me <3."

She uses her cell phone to take her picture in front of the bathroom mirror.

Her side bangs cover one eye. She is wearing a tank top and a pair of booty shorts. She is looking right in the mirror with a ton of make-up on and pouty lips.

It is also obvious she used photo-shop to edit the photo to make herself look as close to perfect as possible, changing her eye color, streaking her hair and removing every single blemish.

The comments below the picture are as follows:

Person One: OMG, you’re soooo pretty! ilu.

Picture Poster: OMG LOL I’m not pretty!

The other 78 or so photos are almost exactly like this one.

The point I am trying to make above is that while girls first tend to compliment or insult each other based on looks, a lot of girls automatically are very self-derogatory regarding how they look. They look in the mirror and criticize themselves about flaws that cannot be helped, or will not change right away (i.e. "my hips are too large," "my pores are huge," "I’m breaking out.").

Some of this, I believe, is based on today’s definition of beautiful- stick-thin models with the best type of clothing and the best make-up.

The media does not mention that most of the girls in photo shoots are heavily altered to be thin and gorgeous. A lot of them wear controls- an undergarment that flattens everything out. They are spray-painted and photo-shopped so their skin is perfect, their bodies flawless.

And in interviews with these models, they laugh and say they are naturally thin, they do not diet, they have not given up any sort of comfort food and they have a balanced workout schedule.

Do you really think these girls, with stick-thin arms and ribs sticking out all over the place, lead a healthy lifestyle? Chances are, they are barely eating and working out almost constantly to maintain ‘good’ shape. Again I ask, is this a healthy lifestyle?

Above I mentioned only part of the reason girls view themselves as they do is due to the media. The other part? Peer pressure.

Take a common occurrence on the first day of school after summer vacation. Two friends meet, and the first comment thrown is, "You look so good now!" or "You got a tan/haircut," rather than commenting about vacations or summer accomplishments. Sure, those types of topics eventually will come up, but they are not at the forefront of the conversation. You would think they would be after 12 weeks of separation.

On the flip-side, if two girls start getting into a fight, the first insults to be thrown are "You’re fat" or "You’re ugly," and it degrades to commentary about looks, then intelligence, then personalities.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, once commented on females regarding each other’s looks before accomplishments: "She had run into a woman she hadn’t seen for a few years."

Their first topic of conversation initiated by the woman, was "You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!"

Rowling responded with, "Well, the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby."

Not to mention, between the years of their two meetings, Rowling had published a new Harry Potter book and had another child. But neither of those topics was mentioned in the conversation.

So what does today’s generation imply? Looks are what makes a person? The only thing to judge one another is on their waistline?

Looks can be important, but not enough for someone to try and starve themselves to look like Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox, or to need surgery to look like Kim Kardashian. They are not perfect; they use technology to portray the ‘perfect’ woman.

Everyone is who they are, and no one should try to change themselves because the media says that is what we all should look like. People should not try to fit in with what everyone and their friends say they should look like. All that does is make people upset and hate their looks and their body, and hurts their self esteem.

If you are not happy with your body because you think you could feel or look better, then I say go for it. I also say, people should not pour all their energy into getting thin. If you waste too much time on personal image, you will miss out on a lot. Life is too short to waste trying to look like a model.

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