Body Image | Teen Ink

Body Image

March 21, 2013
By NinjaW GOLD, Indianola, Iowa
NinjaW GOLD, Indianola, Iowa
14 articles 66 photos 11 comments

Girls and boys these days have pressure all around them, school, peers, extra-curricular, and their body. It seems that an increased amount of students worry about their body, and many times it affects their lives. Often a poor body image, self-confidence and control problems lead to eating disorders including anorexia-nervosa and bulimia-nervosa. This is often an obsession with losing weight. Women, mostly, especially in their teens, see themselves as overweight, despite the fact that their thin ideal is actually very unhealthy (Huebeck).

What should be considered healthy, when they look in the mirror all they think and see is FAT, FAT, FAT.

The media, family circumstances and even genetics play a key role and when an eating disorder does hit a friend or family member, it is “impossible to change their mind about the way they look, no matter how much praise you give them.” Says my mother who is a chronic anorexic and despite the fact that she is aware of that, she still looks in the mirror and sees her ninety-pound figure as fat. She came from a family where she was considered an underachiever with overbearing parents. This and a feeling of a lack of control of the world around her was her cause for this disease (Boston Women’s Health).


Yet most people say another cause is the media, and its show for the ideal thinness in models on magazine covers, in movies and TV shows whose appearance is often altered. In magazines there is an emphasis on sexuality, and with that, an emphasis on the “skinny woman” being a sign of beauty. As well as this, almost a third of articles are centered around weight loss or keeping “in shape”, and many articles are not about healthy weight loss, but dangerous fad diets that so often only cause more weight gain after it has ended (Miller).

Even past this, it seems that magazines make a mockery of other people’s misery. In most cases it was the business they were in to cause them to go to such extreme measures to “measure up” to what was expected of them. This is the message being sent to the young generation of the US and in other very developed countries (Boston Women’s Health).


A group of 150+ students, aged from 12-19 were asked how they felt about their body image on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. The average score for a boy was barely an eight, while the average for a girl was barely a six. The younger the girl, the more polar the numbers were, most were either a very high number in the 8-10 range or a 1-4. The boys were either in the middle or thought highly of themselves. As the kids started getting older, the numbers sort of plateaued to a 5-7 range.

Anyways, these numbers are not high, most people were not very happy with their body image, despite their age except for a few content kids, but there was also some saddening numbers, kids who gave themselves 1’s and 2’s, but also one person who put down a -6.

What Can Be Done

Yet there is a way to fight this. We can help young girls, and even boys to understand that what is being seen on TV and movies is not real, and what is real, is not healthy. To be healthy you need to eat a balanced diet, not starve yourself into oblivion, and you need to exercise regularly, but not fanatically. For personal growth in healthiness, strive to be healthy, focus on positive goals, and find support and to help others, give compliments freely, it really does help. Anorexia and Bulimia take lives every year, but so does a lack of self esteem, that needs to be changed and friends and family can help that, as well as awareness to the fact that eating healthy is healthy, not to idealized 24 inch waist (Huebeck).

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