The Calamities of Beauty | Teen Ink

The Calamities of Beauty

November 29, 2007
By Anonymous

“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 ( 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 ( 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, (Dr Hickin, 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.

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This article has 58 comments.

on Feb. 9 2016 at 9:18 pm
LillyBow BRONZE, Weiser, Idaho
4 articles 0 photos 6 comments
Wow, this is so powerful, I loved it! Keep up the excellent work!

on Feb. 5 2016 at 7:47 pm
KayeIsWriting SILVER, Oxford, Alabama
9 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" - Franklin Roosevelt

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...
on Jan. 18 2016 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.

littlepepe said...
on Sep. 23 2015 at 12:06 pm
littlepepe, China, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"hey" -Casey Ramos

@spotteddickgloria would enjoy this poem

on Sep. 23 2015 at 11:46 am
Alina Tomy BRONZE, Delhi, Other
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
i must say its a beautifully written thought provoking article :)

on Aug. 16 2015 at 7:51 am
SomeoneMagical PLATINUM, Durham, New Hampshire
22 articles 1 photo 259 comments
I agree. Great job and I think you have a lot of talent:)

Natt_ said...
on Jul. 26 2015 at 11:55 am
Natt_, Bangkok, Other
0 articles 3 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Answer this yes or no answer. Is it possible for you pull it off? Yes? Then do it."

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.

Shameey SILVER said...
on Jul. 12 2015 at 11:28 pm
Shameey SILVER, Butuan, Other
6 articles 2 photos 4 comments
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.

on Apr. 24 2015 at 6:49 pm
BriannaLogan SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
9 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. - Marian Wright Edelman

This was a very motivational article! I loved it!

on Mar. 17 2015 at 8:58 pm
VickiLi2519 GOLD, New York, New York
11 articles 0 photos 1 comment
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.

on Jan. 18 2015 at 11:54 am
BeautifulSilence BRONZE, Frankfort, Illinois
2 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Good writing. Very expressive. Much talent. So creative. Doge like.

I never knew that exercise could be a form of purging.

on Jan. 18 2015 at 11:50 am
BeautifulSilence BRONZE, Frankfort, Illinois
2 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Good writing. Very expressive. Much talent. So creative. Doge like.

I feel that people judge from the outside too much also. I'm very curvy and went to school with mostly thin girls with no curves. I learned to be more comfortable with my curves, though. Anyway, I totally agree with you that people can be of different sizes and still be beautiful, and I believe there are people who realize that.

on Jan. 18 2015 at 11:41 am
BeautifulSilence BRONZE, Frankfort, Illinois
2 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Good writing. Very expressive. Much talent. So creative. Doge like.

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.

on Jan. 9 2015 at 2:48 pm
Thefanatasticagirlie101 SILVER, Euless, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our mind. That's what I hope to give you forever." ~The Notebook

This is a very motivational article. Nice opinion.

on Jan. 9 2015 at 1:26 pm
snailkisses PLATINUM, Malden, Massachusetts
31 articles 14 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"so you're tired of living, and you feel like you might give in? well don't. it's not your time." - a better place a better time // streetlight manifesto

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.

on Nov. 29 2014 at 12:19 pm
People are normally a size 16+ this is true, but I am a size 1. I have never worried about what I  I eat and all that crap. And yet even though society believes thin is "beautiful" I have been bullied for my weight. There is no normal weight. You weight is determined by your hight, area you live in, food you typically eat, and body shape. So who cares. Screw worrying no matter what you do society somehow finds a way to punish you for it. So enjoy life and ignore them.

on Aug. 13 2014 at 2:10 pm
The_Book_Thief GOLD, Brownville, Nebraska
18 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And when you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I honestly think that you don't have to beautiful on the outside, but everyone freaks out if you aren't. I'm thin to the point of being skinny enough to wrap my thumb and pinky around my wrist so they touch and there is a centimeter of space between my fingers and my wrist. I am very bony and have no curves. I think that people judge by the outside too much. I think you can be size eighteen and still be beautiful, you just have to find the person who realizes that.

on Jul. 19 2014 at 7:56 pm
DominiQueRechelle, Mesa, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"You have enemies... Good, that means you stood up for something in your life" -Eminem

It really does suck that we as girls look to the media for confidence and self assurance. I agree with everything this piece is saying and I can relate. I've never thrown up after meals or anything but i've always struggled with my weight and always wished I was skinny. Now I realize, I don't want to be. THICK IS SEXY and attractive. In fact, skinny is actually becoming unpopular. If I could go back in time, I would've told myself "Shame on you for not loving your curves." Girls need to read stuff like this because it raises awareness and lets them know that what you see in magazines is unrelaistic and the models themselves more than likely have eating disorders. I pray that the next generation and even know wake up and realize not everyone is built for skinny and should accept that fact.

midnightwoah said...
on Dec. 19 2013 at 4:45 pm
midnightwoah, Monett, Missouri
0 articles 0 photos 188 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We accept the love we think we deserve." -Stephen Chbosky

You tell it like it is and I respect that. The weird part is that I'm a size 14 too!! But you inspire me that having some extra meat on my bones is not worth loosing a meal

on Dec. 19 2013 at 9:09 am
KassandraThough GOLD, Bridgeport, Texas
13 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible and when im finished, you will finally understand why storms are named after people."

"Ugly has to be somewhere. You can be beautiful and healthy on the inside and ugly on the outside, or you can be beautiful and skinny on the outside and have ugly insides. I'd prefer ugly insides."