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 Dec. 2 2013 at 8:31 pm
Peacemakerz PLATINUM, Cupertino, California
25 articles 2 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith.
-John Foster Dulles

Don't follow the media when your seeking advice for your personal life and health. The media potrays an illusion. Take it from me, a girl who wears the headscarf daily and proudly too. As well as, from the adults, doctors and the girl who made this article Peggy Z. Thanks for posting this article, great message!

on Nov. 30 2013 at 9:20 pm
Outcast4God PLATINUM, Farmersville, Texas
33 articles 2 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in place-- what mortals that you should think of us. Mere humans that you should care for us.
---Psalms 8:3-4

Truly beautiful!

pan1c BRONZE said...
on Nov. 17 2013 at 7:39 pm
pan1c BRONZE, New London, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 28 comments
Great message behind this article. Stay strong, and I admire you.

on Sep. 21 2013 at 3:11 pm
ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
26 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

there is nothing wrong with being curvy y'all! granted, there is a healthy weight, but this is a pretty large range and being too thin is as bad as being too heavy.    

on Aug. 25 2013 at 1:25 pm
chrisvfree PLATINUM, N/A, Florida
37 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face. - Johnny Depp

Yes, with personal experience as a bullimic/anorexic (I have recieved help, thankfully) exercising can itself become another form of purging. So it should be restated as, exercise to a limit, never overexert yourself, but also never overeat- you have to maintain a healthy balance.

on Jul. 28 2013 at 11:47 pm
InspireWriter SILVER, Lansdale, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have a lot to say. I'm just a teen girl, trying to tell a story in the only way I know how.

I couldn't have made this statement better myself. You turned a point into a piece of writing that displays both a personal & factual point of view. You really know how to get a point across through an elaborate piece of writing & I'm sure I speak for many when I say I admired this piece of writing. There's no better way to explain the definition of beauty.

on Apr. 8 2013 at 5:15 pm
MckennaS PLATINUM, Port St Lucie, Florida
21 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
Well, I’m well.
Well, I mean I’m in hell.
Well, I still have my health
At least that’s what they tell me
If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness?"

The last part bothers me some - the suggestion to go to the gym instead of throw up your food. Bulimia does not solely refer to literally throwing up food but by purging away calories as well, and there are many women with eating disorders that spend hours at the gym "purging" calories, and they get diagnosed with bulimia/exercise bulimia. I know you had a different point when you stated that last bit, but that's just something to think about. I mean, I can definitely agree that exercising a moderate and healthy amount is better than purging - from both personal experience and experiences of others I know.

on Mar. 6 2013 at 4:38 pm
Selena1234 BRONZE, Weslaco, Texas
1 article 6 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you never try, you never know.

I really love this article. Very well said.

Cow2399 BRONZE said...
on Feb. 9 2013 at 9:26 pm
Cow2399 BRONZE, Spokane Vally, Washington
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To All The Girls That Think Your ugly Just Because Your Not a size 0 ,Your the Beautiful one its Society Whos Ugly"-Marilyn Monroe

"The Minute You Think of Giving up , think of why you Held on so long"- Unknown

This is so true , and something everyone should know .

Becca9203 said...
on Feb. 9 2013 at 9:14 pm
Very well written, and beautifully said. I love the way you started with a quote from your own mother... it makes the piece personal and relatable. Very nice!

on Feb. 9 2013 at 4:29 pm
BubblyTea BRONZE, Madison, Connecticut
2 articles 1 photo 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Plant the thought,
Watch it grow.
Wind it up,
And let it go. -Glen Hansard

This piece is well said. Real people don't look like super models. Real people are your parents, your neighbors, teachers at school. Being thin isn't everything....Write more, please! c;

on Jul. 15 2009 at 10:33 pm
Hope_Princess BRONZE, Hebron, New Hampshire
4 articles 4 photos 376 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible."

I love the way you worded everything and every word spoke the truth. Thank you for reminding me that beauty comes from the heart and not your appearance.

on Jul. 15 2009 at 9:11 pm
SmileyRiley PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
30 articles 0 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You can be a victor without having victims and you can stand tall without standing on someone"

i think this was a wonderfuly written article but i think that you should have not only given people healthy alternatives to anorexia and bulemia but made people know that its just fine to be "curvy". but its totaly your choice. i thought this article was great. good job.

on Jul. 15 2009 at 8:38 pm
distant_dreamer GOLD, Belmont, New Hampshire
12 articles 6 photos 497 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life's a climb, but the view is great!"

Wow! All of it is so true!! Great writing! Keep on writing, people need encouragement, and truth like this!!

on Jul. 15 2009 at 4:58 pm
kiwi12 PLATINUM, Austin, Texas
28 articles 10 photos 365 comments
This is very well written and should be read by all those 15 million girls. You should put this in your school newspaper or something.

on Jun. 7 2009 at 1:40 am
unearthlyhaphazard GOLD, N/A, New York
15 articles 0 photos 176 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."~W. Somerset Maugham

Very well written, and so true! I love the way you started it.

on Jun. 6 2009 at 7:17 pm
pinksage33 BRONZE, Woodstock, New York
4 articles 1 photo 211 comments
Well said!!!

on Jun. 6 2009 at 6:37 pm
ramnapotter PLATINUM, Toronto, Other
26 articles 1 photo 90 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow...”

This is amazing. I always look myself in the mirror and see a reflection of someone that I revolt at. I hate it. Thank you for that. You've opened my eyes.

This should be published.