Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

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

By
“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.



Join the Discussion

This article has 45 comments. Post your own now!

justwriting2 said...
today at 8:16 pm
This is such a powerful peice. You bring light on this important problem. Keep writing!
 
MissJade said...
May 23 at 12:59 pm
Brought some much needed light to these problems. Excellent job.
 
E.InisThis 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...
May 8 at 8:58 pm
This piece is beautiful, haunting, and remarkably educational. Eating disorders are not something to be taken lightly and seeing a change in the way people view the role of beauty in our culture is reassuring. Thank you so much for your work. Very well done.
 
rakhshiThis 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...
Apr. 29 at 1:10 pm
Same here I can understand
 
rakhshiThis 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...
Apr. 29 at 1:10 pm
Same here I can understand
 
LillyBow said...
Feb. 9 at 9:18 pm
Wow, this is so powerful, I loved it! Keep up the excellent work!
 
LittleInkerThis 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...
Feb. 5 at 7:47 pm
This is beautiful. I'm going to post this on my website that I made if that's okay with you. I will give you ALL credit, plus the websites that you have cited so well.
 
Jenny Lin said...
Jan. 18 at 1:37 pm
The way I see now is how beauty can hurt or can heal by the way we interpret what "healthy," means.
 
rakhshiThis 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. replied...
Apr. 29 at 1:12 pm
Absolutely right
 
rakhshiThis 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. replied...
Apr. 29 at 1:12 pm
Absolutely right
 
littlepepe said...
Sept. 23, 2015 at 12:06 pm
@spotteddickgloria would enjoy this poem
 
Alina Tomy said...
Sept. 23, 2015 at 11:46 am
i must say its a beautifully written thought provoking article :)
 
KittyKat1419This 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...
Aug. 16, 2015 at 7:51 am
I agree. Great job and I think you have a lot of talent:)
 
Nattapon said...
Jul. 26, 2015 at 11:55 am
I totally agree with what you're saying. Though instead of girls asking "Do I look beautiful?", they should be asking themselves, "Am I healthy?" People seem to find beauty so much more than healthiness, which should be the other way around.
 
Shemmy said...
Jul. 12, 2015 at 11:28 pm
Im thankful that my mom never really mentally bullying me. She's the only one who is conscious with her weight. haha. This is a nice article.
 
BriannaLoganThis 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...
Apr. 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm
This was a very motivational article! I loved it!
 
XxanimevickixXThis 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...
Mar. 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm
This was just what I'm all about. Sometimes, our own parents don't realize how they can hurt us with what they say. Constantly reminding me of my weight and how I look, it's just harder to love who I am. I know she's just trying to look after my health but my brain just interprets it as a huge blow to my self-esteem.
 
TheRedEchidna said...
Jan. 18, 2015 at 11:41 am
It's totally unfair that a size 6 is considered plus size in the fashion industry; I'm a size 6 and I'm nowhere near plus size.
 
Thefanatasticagirlie101This 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...
Jan. 9, 2015 at 2:48 pm
This is a very motivational article. Nice opinion.
 
snailkissesThis 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...
Jan. 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm
As someone who suffered from bulimia for two years, I am very grateful for this. You're a wonderful writer and have a beautiful way with words.
 
Site Feedback