The Media and Body Image

April 8, 2010
One arm is strewn above her head seductively. She has such an extraordinarily narrow waist and a magnificent hourglass figure. How many hours did she work out to get those perfectly toned legs? Her face is sun kissed and tan and her lips beckon for more kissing. Strewn all over the billboard on Fifth Avenue, she's gorgeous, carefree and everything about her oozes perfection. Even for a second, looking at her, I believed it. And I agonized in my head why I would never look like her. Maybe I would get a little close…. after a few million-dollar surgeries and a hundred starvation diets, but still never that beautiful. And then I walked away from the billboard, deceived and imperfect.
The media demands perfection, perfect bodies and perfect everything. Everything is fake and photo shopped, oh yes we've heard that, but four out of ten girls will fight a battle with eating disorder before they complete high school.
Most average teenage American girl would relate to this. You pick up any magazine, say Vogue or Seventeen, or go watch any the latest movie, or discuss the latest celebrity gossip with your friends. Afterwards, stand in front of the mirror. If you look carefully, you might notice that your thighs brush together a little too much. Or that your nose is slightly crooked? Your lips could be a little fuller. And oh my, those hips are way too big. Hmm, maybe your ears are fat too? Really now?! Why are you thinking these thoughts? Maybe, because someone put it in your head?
One nose job after another, that model's nose is still slightly crooked forever in her head. As much as she keeps up with that Botox, wrinkles will come for that A-list actress. Maybe that beautiful model that made me agonize and diet for a while looks at her body with the same disgusted look in the mirror. If it is true that once you have a "perfect" body and face, you will be happy forever, how come we don't see pure unadulterated happiness reflecting through the eyes and life of America's most beautiful people? The media seems to try to tell us that we can achieve happiness and perfection through our body image. However, what they've failed to see is that even they haven’t achieved that.

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This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

Aspiringauhor said...
Dec. 4, 2011 at 10:30 am
So very true! I don't see how anyone could disagree with this. It's depressing to watch our society and see what we have come to as a culture.
ObnoxiousSilence said...
Jul. 25, 2011 at 10:01 am
Wow.  I loved this aritcle with a burning passion. You are a genius and you have read my mind! :)
M_IML This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm
I completely agree with you - it's crazy how many people try to find happiness with perfect looks without ever realizing that all those models and celebrities aren't necessarily happier people for it; sometimes they're even more unhappy, because of what they have to do to achieve that "perfect" beauty.
Katie S. said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Great article. I completly agree.
mudpuppy said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm
I agree with you, people need to learn to love themselves. I can't tell you how many times I thought I was ugly in middle school, because of what others say. Then I started looking at my face and thinking. Your name made me smile, because by chance my name is 'Melody'.
melodeess said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:05 am
yes, i also feel that way, thats why i wrote this (: thanks for the comment! :]
shywriter said...
Jun. 2, 2010 at 6:04 am
I don't live in America, but I know how you feel. Whenever I watch a movie or read celebrity gossip on the internet, I always feel depressed when I see super-thin celebs who are just plain beautiful. It has now become the latest fad to be gorgeous. It has become so much so that the old saying "It doesn't matter what you look like." has silently faded away!! 
melodeess said...
May 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Hey! If you decide to rate my article, thanks a lot! I would also love it if you posted a comment telling me why you gave the article the rating you chose. Thanks a lot :) -Melody
melodeess said...
Apr. 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm
hey! yes, i understand your point. i do read seventeen, teen vogue and other fashion magazines myself. and yes, i do love reading it because they do give great tips and ideas on style and etc. however, a lot of times looking at pictures of models make me very self conscious and can kill my self esteem if i dwell on it. so i do understand what you mean, but its just my personal opinion on this subject. thanks for your comments though :)
ThisLitIsBananas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I agree with almost everything in here - except for the part about Seventeen magazine. I subscribe to it and I think it's a great magazine, fun to read, and I don't come away from it feeling any worse about myself - in fact, I find that it encourages girls to embrace who they are. Maybe that's just me though. Also, they often have a section where Jess Weiner talks about various topics related to body image and self-esteem. So while other magazines may be degrading, I think Seventeen is pretty... (more »)

melodeess said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 9:26 pm
thank you for your feedback!
respecturself7 said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm
A very accurate observation. Well done.
melodeess said...
Apr. 20, 2010 at 10:03 am
thank you! :)
mcpanicfanic said...
Apr. 20, 2010 at 3:30 am
Good job! I hate the media.
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