Body Perfect

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Body Perfect

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Dissatisfaction in one’s body is a major problem not only in today’s society but also throughout history. Many people at some point in their life have wished to change something about their bodies. A lack of positive body image is a huge problem in our society. Some blame this issue on social media, lack of confidence, or even with pressure from their peers. It is disheartening to see that a lack of positive body image has not only affected adults but has even spread to our youth. Negative body image is a pandemic plaguing the country with an appalling amount of self-doubt and pessimism.

A study done in the United Kingdom showed that 20% of adults have felt ashamed of their body and 19% of them even felt disgusted because of their body image (Mental health.org). It is not only adults but teens as well. Staggeringly enough, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and in turn, resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media (Dosomething.org). This is simply unacceptable. We should not allow ourselves to become defined by how we look and we certainly should not be ashamed or disgusted by how we look. With all of this pressure to look like those portrayed in the media, many tend to resort to dieting or working out as a solution. However, if one believes that their ideal body type is not achieved, eating disorders can be formed.

There are various eating disorders, but the most common ones are Anorexia and Bulimia. Anorexia is when one stops eating altogether to prevent weight gain. Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that can lead to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells which can cause one’s heart to weaken inevitably causing more health problems (Newbridgehealth.org). Bulimia is when one eats food but then force themselves to vomit violently. Bulimia is also known as bingeing and purging( Health.net). Bulimia can lead to holes being burned in one’s throat as well as wear down teeth enamel. Both of these eating disorders are extremely dangerous and those suffering from these disorders need to seek medical help.

As a society, we can be cruel people”

FHS and its surrounding schools are not impervious to the effects of negative body image. Upon interviewing FHS’ own Coach Hoehn he stated: “As a society, we can be cruel people, and you see it more at the high school level because teens sometimes are cruel to people. Whether they mean to be or don’t mean to be, sometimes choosing your words is hard for high school-aged students. I do think that people sometimes talk before they think and those kinds of things can sometimes be hurtful.” It’s not just FHS being haunted by this unrealistic “perfect body”. Other schools fall victim to negative body image and it’s horrendous effects. I interviewed Mika Shipman, a local student from Central Highschool. When asked if she had ever struggled with body image she paused, looking away for a moment to gather her thoughts before stating “I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t dealt with body image, whether it is fat or skinny shaming, people nitpick at your body. So, of course, I struggle with my body image, but I have worked on it and you just have to learn how to love yourself.”

Negative body image does not only affect women, but it also affects men as well. Men are not exempt from the pressures of having the “ perfect body”. Many men feel pressure to have a perfect six-pack as well as being muscular and toned overall. Coach Hoehn states “ (Negative body image) is not gender-specific. It does affect males as well, especially when you get into the weight room and one kid can do X amount of weight and the other kid can’t. That puts self-doubt in people’s minds and brings about insecurities.”

Thankfully, society is adapting and beginning to accept new norms when it comes to body image. Clothing brands and advertising agencies are beginning to make clothing in new sizes such as “Curvy” or “petite” for women, as well as being more inclusive in their advertisements. These are just a few of the beginning steps to help resolve negative body image within our society. Society is adapting and becoming more conscientious of everyone’s uniqueness, but as students and as people it is our responsibility to accept everyone as they are and not pass judgment on them just for the way they look. Mika stated that “ No one is perfect, and you just have to learn to love your imperfections. If you are struggling with body image because you think no one will love you, then know that if someone truly loves you they will love you for your imperfections.”

It is imperative that we, as a society, change the standard for beauty. We should be celebrating our imperfections instead of hiding them away. Cellulite, acne, stretch marks, scars, and even birthmarks are what make each and every one of us uniquely beautiful. It is crucial that we set a positive example for our youth if we are to make a difference and pave the way to a brighter future. It is up to you, what kind of future do you want?