Teens and Body Image: What Everyone is Telling Them
Written by Elaine Wilson, Posted on , in Section Relationships That Matter
No matter how many times we see articles, movies, or ads encouraging women to love their bodies, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed. To combat all of the positive influence we try to put out there are still hundreds of magazines promoting dozens of weight loss products, exercises to “get rid of those fat thighs!” and beauty products that promise to change anything about you to make you truly pretty.
For generations, women have been encouraged to fit a perfect model that is largely unattainable. It is insane how many products are out there to erase wrinkles and cellulite, to make lips bigger, stomachs smaller, and eyes just a bit brighter. As women, we desire to be the best that we can be, and sometimes we just accept what someone else has told us that is “pretty.”
Our Girls Are Watching
Younger girls are not at all immune to this, and, in fact, can be even more susceptible. Teens are looking up to the adults in their life and the adults they see in movies and magazines as to just what they should be like. I distinctly remember as a young girl when I watched the movie Annie—Bernadette Peters always wore a revealing dress that showed her perfect cleavage. I assumed this is what all women’s breasts were to look like and waited for years to see my own look that way.
It wasn’t until I was almost an adult that I realized this could be accomplished with a good push-up bra, and that it wasn’t going to occur naturally.
We need to continue the battle. The next generation of girls is growing up all too quickly, and will use their own experiences to influence others in their future. With eating disorders and plastic surgery starting younger and younger (over 200,000 plastic surgeries are performed on teens every year), we need to recognize the need for a new dialogue, and implement it quickly. Let’s empower our young women with words and images that remind them of just how amazing they already are. Encourage them to remain healthy; to eat appropriately, to speak freely and respectfully, to dream unceasingly. Our girls deserve the best advice we can give them. Let’s make it enough to encourage them to forever move forward.