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The Calamities of Beauty This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“Look at your cousin. She’s so skinny and so pretty. Look at her; she’s so beautiful now but not before when she was fat. You should ask her for her dieting tips.” My mother callously says to me after we had just finished a conversation with my older cousin. I roll my eyes at her and pretend that I didn’t hear her. Although my mother thinks that she is actually helping me to a fit and healthy life, she does not realize that she is mentally bullying me with her sharp words and even sharper tongue. She does not realize that although I ignore her, those words still echo through my head as I consciously pick a salad over pizza, as I run around to get a ball during gym, as I walk around in shorts in public.

However, I am not the only one affected by this, this dissatisfaction with my body, this grain of doubt about whether I’m skinny enough, whether I’m pretty enough. Everyday millions of girls look into the mirror and are revolted by their reflections. Everyday millions of girls see rolls of fat on their stick skinny frames and can’t bear to think of food. Everyday millions of girls are constantly criticizing themselves about their weight, approximately 15 million girls to be exact, about five percent of the population in the United States (www.anred.com). 15 million girls have anorexia and bulimia, 15 million girls. Think about the numbers.

With this in mind, think about why do so many girls have these mental illnesses? We are taught at a very young age that beauty is what is valued in society. I’m sure that in the fairytales that we have heard always involved a beautiful princess, a handsome prince, and the ugly witch. We learn that beauty is good and ugliness is evil. And from that we learn that fat people are ugly, after all, we never see a fat princess do we? We are twisted into thinking that skinny is the only beautiful. We see that the “Most Beautiful Woman of The Year,” is always skinny and we try to mimic what we see in the media. What the media pushes towards us is right. And from the media we always see that the girls that are the most beautiful are slim and they are the famous ones, they are the ones that people like the most. We trick ourselves into thinking that maybe if we are skinny, we can be one step closer to what that celebrity is, what she represents. Fame. Fortune. Beauty. Many girls starve themselves; throw up after every meal to try to be beautiful.

The media is scoured everyday by million of girls looking for the latest trends and style tips from celebrities. We consciously observe in magazines that for every picture of a “plus size” model, there are about forty “normal” size models. We watch “America’s Next Top Model” on television and notice how the plus size model is a size six and is always eliminated after the third round. The most curious thing is that the average American woman is a size fourteen and six is already “plus size” in the fashion industry (http://www.webmd.com). Actresses and singers are being defined as curvy when their thighs are not even the size of a celery stick. Is it no wonder that girls are having trouble defining what is “healthy?”

Although we see the “skinny” life as glamorous and fabulous, eating disorders are not the right way to achieve this. These eating disorders are mental illnesses that can cause more damage than good. You might look skinny and fit, but your teeth are eroding away from all the stomach acids you just hurled up, the walls of your stomach and esophagus are tearing apart, you start fainting, you have an inability to concentrate, you start having blood pressure problems, and you can even develop depression (Dr. Dowshen and Dr. Versteeg, http://kidshealth.org) (Dr Hickin, http://www.concernedcounseling.com). The idea of beautiful doesn’t seem to be that appealing anymore does it? Even with this knowledge, it still doesn’t stop many from doing this anyway. What we know doesn’t change us; it’s what we do to ourselves that changes us. So next time instead of running to the bathroom to throw up all those calories you just ate, head for the gym instead. Participate in some sports; even doing some squats on your free time is healthier. This is the road to what is beautiful.



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This article has 22 comments. Post your own!

BuddingAuthor said...
today at 2:10 pm:
I honestly think that you don't have to beautiful on the outside, but everyone freaks out if you aren't. I'm thin to the point of being skinny enough to wrap my thumb and pinky around my wrist so they touch and there is a centimeter of space between my fingers and my wrist. I am very bony and have no curves. I think that people judge by the outside too much. I think you can be size eighteen and still be beautiful, you just have to find the person who realizes that.
 
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DominiQueRechelle said...
Jul. 19 at 7:56 pm:
It really does suck that we as girls look to the media for confidence and self assurance. I agree with everything this piece is saying and I can relate. I've never thrown up after meals or anything but i've always struggled with my weight and always wished I was skinny. Now I realize, I don't want to be. THICK IS SEXY and attractive. In fact, skinny is actually becoming unpopular. If I could go back in time, I would've told myself "Shame on you for not loving your curves... (more »)
 
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Midnight5765This 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...
Dec. 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm:
You tell it like it is and I respect that. The weird part is that I'm a size 14 too!! But you inspire me that having some extra meat on my bones is not worth loosing a meal
 
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KassandraThough This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 19, 2013 at 9:09 am:
"Ugly has to be somewhere. You can be beautiful and healthy on the inside and ugly on the outside, or you can be beautiful and skinny on the outside and have ugly insides. I'd prefer ugly insides."
 
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Peacemakerz said...
Dec. 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm:
Don't follow the media when your seeking advice for your personal life and health. The media potrays an illusion. Take it from me, a girl who wears the headscarf daily and proudly too. As well as, from the adults, doctors and the girl who made this article Peggy Z. Thanks for posting this article, great message!
 
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Outcast4GodThis 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...
Nov. 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm:
Truly beautiful!
 
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kksbrnnThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm:
Great message behind this article. Stay strong, and I admire you.
 
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ramfthomas4This 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm:
there is nothing wrong with being curvy y'all! granted, there is a healthy weight, but this is a pretty large range and being too thin is as bad as being too heavy.    
 
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InspireWriter said...
Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm:
I couldn't have made this statement better myself. You turned a point into a piece of writing that displays both a personal & factual point of view. You really know how to get a point across through an elaborate piece of writing & I'm sure I speak for many when I say I admired this piece of writing. There's no better way to explain the definition of beauty.
 
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FaeNotMyNameThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm:
The last part bothers me some - the suggestion to go to the gym instead of throw up your food. Bulimia does not solely refer to literally throwing up food but by purging away calories as well, and there are many women with eating disorders that spend hours at the gym "purging" calories, and they get diagnosed with bulimia/exercise bulimia. I know you had a different point when you stated that last bit, but that's just something to think about. I mean, I can definitely agree that ... (more »)
 
chrisvfreeThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm :
Yes, with personal experience as a bullimic/anorexic (I have recieved help, thankfully) exercising can itself become another form of purging. So it should be restated as, exercise to a limit, never overexert yourself, but also never overeat- you have to maintain a healthy balance.
 
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Selena1234 said...
Mar. 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm:
I really love this article. Very well said.
 
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Cow2399 said...
Feb. 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm:
This is so true , and something everyone should know .
 
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Becca9203 said...
Feb. 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm:
Very well written, and beautifully said. I love the way you started with a quote from your own mother... it makes the piece personal and relatable. Very nice!
 
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BubblyTea said...
Feb. 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm:
This piece is well said. Real people don't look like super models. Real people are your parents, your neighbors, teachers at school. Being thin isn't everything....Write more, please! c;
 
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Hope_PrincessThis 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...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm:
I love the way you worded everything and every word spoke the truth. Thank you for reminding me that beauty comes from the heart and not your appearance.
 
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SmileyRiley<3 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm:
i think this was a wonderfuly written article but i think that you should have not only given people healthy alternatives to anorexia and bulemia but made people know that its just fine to be "curvy". but its totaly your choice. i thought this article was great. good job.
 
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princess_of_the_king said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm:
Wow! All of it is so true!! Great writing! Keep on writing, people need encouragement, and truth like this!!
 
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kiwi12 said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm:
This is very well written and should be read by all those 15 million girls. You should put this in your school newspaper or something.
 
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unearthlyhaphazard said...
Jun. 7, 2009 at 1:40 am:
Very well written, and so true! I love the way you started it.
 
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