Painting the Wrong Picture | Teen Ink

Painting the Wrong Picture

April 23, 2018
By Anonymous

Jo Swinson, an editor for CNN, talks about how young girls look up to the wrong body ideas in magazine articles and covers: “These images do not reflect reality, yet from a younger and younger age, people are aspiring to be these biologically impossible ideals.”  Everyone sees these pictures on every cover of women’s magazines, the super skinny model with an airbrushed face.  Seeing all of these skinny and perfect looking models gives young girls the wrong idea about what they should strive to look like because most of these people on the covers are photoshopped to look that way.  If a girl sees these covers in a store and gets the idea in her head that she wants to look that way, she will probably do anything to reach that goal which will overall hurt her physically and mentally.  Because of this, magazine articles should not send the wrong body images to young girls because it can bring eating disorders and low self-esteem into the girl’s life.  
If a young girl sees the models looking extremely skinny and fit on the cover of a magazine, she might do anything to look like that which could result in an eating disorder.  In an article from the Huffington Post, almost 70% of young girls from grades 5-12 said that magazine images influence what their idea of a “perfect body” is.  This big number proves that these magazine covers are giving young girls unreachable standards, but many are still trying to reach them.  In addition to seeing what is shown as the perfect body, many magazine articles portray actresses as being skinny and perfect, and they also have a great job and are very successful.  Showing only the “prettiest” people in magazines also shows girls that they must look like that in order to be successful in what they do.  If these magazines continue to only show the skinniest people on their covers and in their magazines, then girls for many years will continue to look up to that and do anything, even starve themselves, to look just like the pretty model on the magazine cover.
Not only can seeing the magazine articles lead to eating disorders but also by seeing the covers in every store and around every corner a young girl may begin to feel bad about herself because she does not look exactly how the girl on the magazine cover looks which, over time, could develop into low self-esteem.  There are some statistics to prove that people have low self- esteem based off of seeing the “perfect” body everywhere: One in four people are depressed with how their bodies look and almost half of the girls in an interview say that the pressure to look good is the worst part of being female.  Seeing these numbers is shocking because it just shows how many people think that they are not good enough because they do not look like the photoshopped models in the magazines.  Additionally, an article from the Child Mind Institute states that seeing these people as being perfect creates a “perfect storm of self-doubt.”  When looking at all of the models who appear to be flawless, many girls begin to doubt themselves because they do not look as skinny or airbrushed as the models featured in the magazines.  Because of seeing the models in the magazine appear with the best body, many girls develop low self-esteem as a result of not looking exactly the same as the photoshopped girl in the magazine.
On the other hand, there are people who think that just because these unrealistic images are everywhere that the girl does not have to buy the magazine or even look at it.  People who do not understand how deeply some women take the things they see may not understand what even catching a glimpse of an extremely skinny model in the magazine could do to their self-esteem.  However, there is no denying that magazines show unhealthy body signals to everyone, even girls as young as seven.  An article from CNN shows how a little girl’s mom tries on clothes and says that she does not look good, and that leads to the little seven-year-old girl going on a diet because she thinks that she does not look good.  While some people may think that these magazine articles are easy to ignore, there is no denying the negative impact that they have on many girls’ lives.
Because girls as young as seven are starting to see themselves in a negative way, magazine companies should stop showing only the body images that are considered perfect, because all bodies are perfect.  Seeing only skinny models make girls think that their body is not good enough, so an eating disorder can develop out of that because the girl may want to be just like the model on the magazine cover.  Another problem that comes from magazine covers is low self-esteem because women all over the world compare themselves to the models and think that because they do not look like that they are not pretty or good enough.  If women come together and realize that everyone is beautiful no matter what they look like or the way their body is shaped, the world would be a much more beautiful and unified place.



The author's comments:
Works Cited
Swinson, Jo. “False Beauty in Advertising and the Pressure to Look 'Good'.” CNN, 10 Aug.
Thompson, Collen. “Home.” Eating Disorder Help,
Jacobson, Rae, and Child Mind Institute. “Social Media and Self-Esteem | Impact of Social
Media on Youth.” Child Mind Institute
Wallace, Kelly. “Kids as Young as 5 Concerned about Body Image.” CNN, Cable News Network,
13 Feb. 2015,

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