I Am Beautiful

March 9, 2010
By , Acworth, GA
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? To some this is a simple question to answer, but for others it is difficult, evoking feelings of insecurity and self- doubt. While some girls see a confident beautiful woman looking back at them, others glare back into eyes of endless hopelessness. What’s giving girls this misleading view of their bodies? The answer to this question is the media, which, most recently has been pegged with the blame. Studies show that by the time a girl has reached the age of seventeen years old, she has been exposed to over 250,000 commercial messages, a majority of them advertising beauty products, or containing images of the media’s ideal woman. The pressure girls feel to become this “perfect” woman, is promoting unhealthy lifestyle choices, ultimately resulting in physical, mental, and emotional complications. The media needs to take responsibility for the unattainable ideals it is placing on today’s girls, and promote and new image of beauty that reflects the typical woman.
I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down

Turn on the television, open a magazine, or walk down the street. Inevitably, you are going to be bombarded with images of the media. Whether these advertisements promote the hottest fashions, the latest diet trends, or the new “must- see” movie, they most likely contain images of flawless individuals floating across the screen or page. Particularly vulnerable to these images, are young girls, who are most likely already experiencing the side of effects of puberty, and from first- hand experience, unhappy with their body. However, these images do not just affect teen girls, but women of all ages. According to a study done in Teen People, twenty- seven percent of all women have felt pressure from the media, and ninety percent of all women are unhappy with their overall physical appearance. The media shows us pictures of models with stick- thin figures, shiny hair, and glistening white teeth, and to top it all off, an impeccable outfit. Girls feel that if they live up to these standards that they will have a perfect life: a flawless body, a loving relationship, and a stable career. Trying to achieve this life, however, is virtually impossible. What most girls fail to realize is that the people they are striving to become do not actually exist. As it turns out, only five percent of American women naturally possess the media’s ideal body type. A majority of these photographs are digitally re-touched: erasing all of the blemishes, smoothing over the cellulite, slimming down the thighs, and enhancing the breasts. The burdens brought about by these enhanced images are now linked to serious health issues, affecting women across the entire spectrum.
I am beautiful in every single way
So don’t you bring me down today

While trying to achieve this unattainable aesthetic promoted by the media, many women adopt dangerous lifestyle habits. These images are linked to depression, poor body image, and even eating disorders. Along with digital retouching, there has also been an increase in diet ads, promoting everything from quick- weight loss food programs to pills. It is said today that the diet industry is worth up to one- hundred billion dollars. What exactly is this saying to girls today? It is saying that you need to be thin, that if you pop a pill in your mouth once a day, you will look exactly like the toned, tanned woman, running down the beach in her bikini clad body. These ads are now affecting girls as young as five or six, who claim that they have already attempted some form of a diet. Not surprising, ninety percent of these girls have owned a Barbie, a doll that promoted a false sense of body image from the time they were little girls. Statistics also show that one out of every four women in college have tried an unhealthy type of weight loss: fasting, missing meals, over exercising, and laxative abuse- most of these leading to some form of a diagnosed eating disorder. It is estimated that out of five million people diagnosed with an eating disorder in America, ninety percent of those are women, and result in one thousand deaths annually. So, at the end of the day, let’s ask the media: is it all worth it?
I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring me down
So don’t you bring me down today

Aside from the negative images that flash through the media on a daily basis, some advertisers are trying to promote a healthier image of women. One of the most notorious of these is Dove, who in 2004 launched a campaign for real beauty. This campaign contains models that embody what ninety- five percent of American women look like. They celebrate the physical differences among all women, and encourage girls of all ages to be comfortable with themselves. Hopefully in the future, this woman will become the media’s ideal body type. But for now, girls need to know that it’s okay to have curves, to have messy hair, wear no make- up, and dance around in sweat pants. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
‘Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Boulangere said...
Mar. 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Your school project was a success :).
 
ashley700 said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm
really, really good! i loved the viewpoints :)
 
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