STUDENT EDITORIAL: Teens, Body Image & the Added Pressure of Social Media
In our society, it is easy for young adults to feel pressured about their physical appearance. As young individuals, they can feel body image issues from the young age of 3 years old. Any pressure placed on a teenager’s looks can be dangerous for not only their physical health but their mental health as well.
Physical health is more often identified when it comes to body image. This is because of teenagers’ feelings about themselves and how they look. It can be difficult for them to come to terms with their body as it changes throughout maturity. And that is alright.
It can be tough for a teenager to feel overwhelmed when it comes to their body, especially in our society’s connection to social media. It is so easy for our generation to pick the ideal body shape and type that is “most appealing”.
The truth is, an ideal body type is only ideal to that person. So the only person that should worry about what body type they have, is themself. Nobody should feel the need to focus on what you look like in order to want to be around you. You should choose for yourself so you can feel comfortable in your own skin.
The mental health difficulties are easily overlooked when it comes to body image. Many teens focus so much on their body issues that they become obsessed with having the perfect shape. Their sole focus is to get themselves into the shape of their body that they desire most.
The determination that comes with this might not always be a bad thing, but if they go too far, they may not be able to turn themselves back around. If teens get too worried about how they look, they start to look for what may seem to be the fastest solution, one of these “solutions” is an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are also associated with the mental health side of teen body image. They are often seen as quick ways to lose weight and become thinner. They are equally dangerous as they are ineffective. A much more effective way to push for the body you want would be to become healthier.
By eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables you help your body get the energy it needs. That energy can be used to start a workout regimen and gain some muscle which will help give your body structure and a healthy form.
In some ways, the mental aspect of body image is a much stronger difficulty to overcome. It can be hard to over power a thought or a feeling you have, but it can become so much better for you and your body when you persevere and make the correct choice for you.
In our community students are already taking the initiative to push body positivity. Sophomore Dove Corrette Bennett chose to do a project for her advanced digital media class. She interviewed several different students from tenth grade to twelfth grade asking them questions about body image.
The questions ranged from asking what they believe body image is, if they believe that having society’s version of a “good body” is important, why society makes it important, and she even had them list different ways a body can be found attractive or unattractive for either gender.
One of the questions proved to have a very unanimous answer. The question was, “Have you ever felt jealous of someone else’s body, or felt like you had an unattractive body?” Every answer that was displayed through the project was a quick and confident yes. None of the students stopped to think about their answer. One of them even joked that if someone said yes to the question they would have to be lying.
This proves how simple it has become for teens to feel inferior when it comes to their looks and their bodies. Out of the ten students interviewed they all pointed out that they had been jealous of someone’s figure compared to theirs. But at the end they pointed out that there is no such thing as a perfect body, they all said how everyone has their own interpretation of the perfect body shape and that it is unrealistic to try and follow someone else’s form when yours is perfect.
If you ever feel as though your body is not the ideal shape, remember that ideal is a relative term. Your ideal shape should be what you are comfortable with, what you feel good in, and what makes you the happiest you.