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Am I Fat?

Mackenzie Lee was ten years old. She was the perfect child, but she thought she was too fat. She saw all the models on TV and in the magazines she read with their thin waists and perfect body. She wanted to be just like them. She wanted the thin waist, the perfect tan, and the flawless skin. She taped pictures of the models on the walls of her room and began her crash diet. Her parents didn’t find it out of the ordinary that Mackenzie wasn’t eating, considering the bug was going around Mackenzie’s school. Little did they know, Mackenzie was starving herself to death. After two weeks of this diet and losing over fifty pounds, Mackenzie Lee died on her eleventh birthday. She was buried on the family plot, next to her grandfather. The cause of death: starvation.

The media portrays people to be a size zero with the perfect body. Many kids see this and wish to become that thin. According to the National Association Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported they wanted to lose weight because of a magazine picture, 42% of early elementary school girls (1st to 3rd graders) want to be thinner, and 81% of ten year olds are afraid to be fat. Is this how we want our kids to grow up? Almost half of elementary school girls want to be thinner. These girls should be concerned about their dolls, not their weight. The ANAD states, “20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.”

The adolescents of the 21st century have grown up around the media. A recent survey conducted by PG News shows that children spend an average of 6 hours a week around the media. With technology still on the rise, more and more hours will be spent near the media and children will see ultra thin celebrities and supermodels. This can lead to an eating disorder which can develop into a serious mental illness or even death.

Whether we want to accept it or not, this generation is being affected in a negative manner by the media portraying people as thin with perfect bodies. Only 5% of the U.S. population has that perfect body, according to the ANAD, 5% of a whooping 305,689,000 people. This is the amount of power the media has over us. 5% of the population has a perfect body and then everyone wants one. The media seems to attack the self-esteem of teens and young adolescents since that is the time they are most vulnerable, wanting to be thin and beautiful.

It’s not just the thin models and perfect celebrities that are causing so many problems amongst young girls. If you watch a TV show for a half an hour, you will find at least one or two commercials revolving around weight loss and beauty. How many weight loss programs are you there? Yes, obesity is an issue on America, but these people in the after photos are a size zero. Young girls are seeing this and thinking, ‘I’m considered fat unless I’m a size zero.’ This just isn’t right and now, some people are arguing against these facts.

Some people argue that it is not the media’s fault for influencing young girls as much as it does. A middle school student says, “[The media] just wants to show us what’s right… and to make people jealous of what could be.” People claim it’s just the modern world the girls are growing up in that is influencing them. How can you say that? These girls are being plagued by the media. A girl opens a magazine. Do they see a woman with pimples and jeans that are a size seven? Of course they don’t. They see this woman with a size zero waist and flawless skin. Take a Barbie, for example. Can she even be considered a size zero? Her waist is in negative sizes. How can you argue that?

I have talked to a few people around different places about their view on the media and its influence on our body image. Mrs. Sampson, a high school guidance counselor, believes it shouldn’t be all about what you look at. She said, “The best and most beautiful thing in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart.” James Bylund Sr., a resident of Auburn, states, “The media screws everything up.” Robin, age 16, says, “The media just sort of drills it in, that this is the ideal body image, and you sort of feel the need to live up to that expectation.” It’s natural to desire to be beautiful for girls and when they see thin people on TV, that desire becomes even stronger and they won’t stop for anything to achieve that ‘perfect body.’ Anne Moore, a psychologist states, “[Girls get the message], ‘This is who you should be, and this is what you should look like, this is the ideal,’ and the ideal isn’t even real.” According to a Georgia University study of 14,000 high school students, a distorted body image increases the risk that a girl will attempt suicide.

Dictionary.com defines perfect as excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. That definition doesn’t include anything about being thin. Everyone is perfect and beautiful in their own way. Does it matter what other people look like? Anne Moore says, “[By] recognizing that she’s intelligent, recognizing that she’s got a lot of spunk, recognizing that she’s funny, that she’s got a great sense of humor. All of those things are much more important than what somebody looks like.” Beauty comes in all sizes, not just a size zero.




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SpringRayynThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm:
Might I point out that the thoughts people are saying are usually not actually thought in words. When a girl will think those things like "I need to be thin" it's like a feeling, not a sentance. Most people won't even realize what they are thinking until it's too late. At least, that's been my experience.
 
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