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It Ain't Easy Bein' Female This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Everywhere Ilook there are pictures of half-starved, bony-cheeked, big-breastedwomen. The message is clear: a woman should be long-legged with anhourglass figure. If she doesn't have a naturally beautiful body andattractive face, she should do everything in her power to getthem.

But not every woman can look like a model; models don'teven look like models. Many photographs are digitally manipulated tomake legs longer and waists trimmer. Even if a woman realizes this, theimage has been drilled into her mind so often and for so long that shecan't help but feel unsatisfied with herself.

Even companiesproducing children's movies project this unnatural image. Consider thefemale protagonists of animated features, with their small waists, bigbreasts and long legs. Jasmine and the dancers in "Aladdin" havethose exaggerated ideal body types and wear skimpy clothes. Femalecharacters who don't fit this description tend to be obese and wearexcess amounts of make-up. Corporations don't seem to realize there isan in-between body type that is not a bad thing.

This idealimage, of course, is not projected just by animated features. Manysingers, including Mariah Carey, display their bodies freely, as if itis the only thing that could sell albums. On the cover of Carey's latestalbum, she's all rainbows and sunshine - and stomach and legs andeverything else you can imagine. How many women see her album and aredisgusted with this image? What effect does this type of marketing haveon a woman's self-image?

Everywhere women look are advertisementsto help lose weight and make oneself gorgeous. Why? Because stick-skinnyis perceived as good and the bigger the chest, the better. A real treatwould be finding a scrap of hope that the media values intelligence,character and academic success.

Any store with a toy departmentis almost guaranteed to have an entire aisle dedicated to Barbie. Whenyoung, I wanted to be just like Barbie when I grew up: she's beautiful,has a great body and a boyfriend who'll buy her anything. But what kindof image is that? You have to be like Barbie to be successful, that'swhat. Or like Mariah Carey, if that's any better.

I fear theseimages will never disappear. They have been around for as long as I canremember and don't appear to be fading. This superficial representationof women is something society is very attached and attracted to. It isvery difficult to tear ourselves away and face the reality that whatreally matters are intelligence and personality. The models on magazinecovers and in movies are only around for as long as they are beautiful.As soon as they begin to show signs of age, they get the boot. When awoman brings these issues up, she is accused of being jealous and thenignored.

So what can we do to solve this major flaw in oursociety? Violent protests? No, we all know violence never solvesanything. Threatening letters? Doubtful. Big corporations tend todisregard single letters. But if they suddenly receive loads of them,maybe they'll sing a different song. It's worth a try. Any message thatthe image they project is negative may help.

In the meantime,don't throw your money away buying garbage that displays half-nakedwomen or promotes enhancing physical beauty. It is not too late tochange things. We must first realize this image is wrong and second, wemust take the time to get accustomed to the idea that - gasp - our mindsare worth more than our appearance.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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