What's A Girl To Do?

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What’s a Girl to Do?

A few minutes has passed before I realize that I’m doing it again. I set the magazine down and begin to open the 100-Calorie pack but change my mind and put it away. I think to myself, “Can looking at one picture in a magazine really do this to me?” The answer is yes for virtually every teenage girl. The younger generation has become the main group for inhibiting actions like these. But with images of skinny, beautiful women being thrown at them left and right, how is a girl not supposed to be influenced? We all know that young girls tend to be naïve, and seeing things like this everywhere can be detrimental. It not only distorts what “beautiful” means to them, but it twists their morals and values.

These days, if you look at any fashion magazine you will say pages upon pages of what society views as beautiful. Not only do these women have a perfect tan and complexion, but also they seem to barely weigh over 100 pounds. Girls my age look at these photos and dream of having bodies like theirs, even though we all know they are airbrushed. Most girls are fine the way they are, but seeing what’s in the magazines changes the way they look at themselves. In fact, 75% of teenage girls felt “depressed, guilty and shameful” after spending just three minutes leafing through a fashion magazine (respectrx.com). The artificially perfect models make young women feel like they aren’t pretty enough. For many women, it’s not even genetically possible for them to look like the magazines; their build is just too different. It seems that unhealthy-skinny is the desirable look. This drives girls into a viscous cycle of eating disorders and self-mutilation. One may think this would start in the teenage years, but a recent study showed that 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner and 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat (nationaleatingdisorders.org). At what age do children even start to notice things like weight? I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that early.

Not only are young women being subconsciously told how they should look, but also clothing stores are glamorizing the sickly-skinny style. All the mannequins are freakishly thin because fashion is now geared towards the skinnier population. Clothes are made to fit petite bodies, but the majority of women are not petite. If you look at popular styles now, it’s quite evident why the clothes are styled for thin girls. Shirts are almost see-through, and as low cut as possible. They are also tight against the body, showing every curve. Jeans are also very tight and low cut. Shorts are whole different story; they show as much leg as possible, and barely cover the necessities. It seems now the trashier the outfit, the better. Why? What satisfaction do girls get from walking around with things hanging out everywhere?

The trashy trend also carries over to the way teen girls act, especially around boys. The attitude that their style portrays influences a girl’s decision about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Growing up, girls are generally taught to stay innocent as long as possible. Once the teenage years roll around, everything changes. In fact, 1 in 2 teens say that they have gone against their beliefs to please their partner (respectrx.com). It’s no secret that all teenage boys want sex, and girls are expected to give it to them. 1 in 3 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 say sex is expected for people their age if they're in a relationship; half of teen girls who have experienced sexual pressure report they are afraid the relationship would break up if they did not give in (respectrx.com). But nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure (respectrx.com). These studies show that teen girls are pressured to be promiscuous with boys, but by whom are they being pressured by? Most would think that boys are the culprit, but this isn’t entirely true. Of course girls flaunt themselves to attract the boys’ attention, but it’s their girl peers that put a monumental amount of pressure on them to become sexually active. But when a girl does start having sex, and has more than a couple partners, they are viewed as “dirty” and “sluts.” Is this fair? A majority of teen girls succumb to this pressure and don’t stand up to what they really believe is right. Is it because their morals have changed?

This idea of changing morals goes hand and hand with the prevalent drug and alcohol use among teenagers. Girls are especially influenced by this. They want to be seen as “the life of the party” so they get drunk, act foolish, and do things they wouldn’t normally do, mainly to get attention from boys. I’ve seen girls dance like strippers at a party while all the boys cheer her on, and I know she loves the attention because she smiles and laughs the whole time. The way girls go about getting a boys attention has become so twisted. They feel the need to be trashy and easy because that’s what they think guys want. But when young girls do things like this, they don’t understand what image they are portraying. Is it because teenage girls want to be seen like this?

Young adult girls have so many pressures thrust upon them every day. From body image, to the way they should dress, the way they should act around boys, what’s a girl supposed to do?
Works Cited
“Statistics: Eating Disorders and their Precursors.” Nationaleatingdisorders.org 2008. 29

October 2009. Web.

“Girls Stats+ Studies.” Respectrx.com. 2006. 30 October 2009. Web.





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