Unhealthy body image

Unhealthy body image

Rachel Jackson, Staff Reporter

Becoming one of the most successful dolls ever produced, Barbie is well-known for her long legs, small waist, and dazzling smile that can win anyone over. Considering girls usually receive their first Barbie doll around the age of three, we are taught from a young age to strive for Barbie’s perfect 5’9” height, 39” bust and 18” waist. But if Barbie were a real human being then she would be forced to walk on all fours due to her unproportional weight. That’s not something we really hear about nowadays whenever she’s displayed across our television screens, now is it?

However, dolls with perfect bodies aren’t the only body shaming we’re exposed to. The gorgeous women plastered across billboards and our TVs put these ridiculous ideas in our brains that we have to look like that in order to feel important and loved. These types of advertisements have aided to about 40-60 percent of elementary girls being ashamed of their body, looking for diets and unhealthy eating habits in order to feel confident about themselves.

It’s gotten to the point where the social standards of today’s society expect women to have the “ideal body”, when in reality the petite women strung around media attain weight well below what is considered healthy. In fact, a huge chunk of runway models meet the Body Mass Index criteria to be considered anorexic. It’s almost as though we’re promoting the unhealthy behavior used to become “thin”.

Although girls are not the only ones struggling with their body images. Wash-board abs, clear skin, and unrealistic strong jawlines are just a few traits boys are constantly striving for and sometimes even expected to have in today’s society. If a boy isn’t heavily involved in a sport or exercises on a daily basis to achieve the social norm’s view of an “ideal body” then he is immediately ostracized, resulting in unnecessary insecurities.

Furthermore, the majority of males wish they had more muscle to tone their physique, attempting to achieve the manly man image that is promoted so frequently nowadays. A poll drawn by The Atlantic says that about 18 percent of males  are very concerned with their weight, which could increase the risk of negative outcomes such as depression or drug use. All in all, it’s not just the girls struggling with their image anymore.

So it’s time to forget about the models in magazines or how much skinnier you think your peers are than you and time to focus on the positives, like how good that pizza was at lunch or how amazing you did on that test because we’re all beautiful in our own way. You shouldn’t have to have Barbie’s 18” waist in order to feel good about yourself. We all bring something to the table and you should be proud of that.