When did a piece of paper decide my body shape?

The following article was written by Mansi G10.

Being a teenage girl in this world is not easy. There are too many things to take care of friends, social media, studies and the most important our body! Magazines teach teenagers loads of things that help us through our life in high school and then college, but have you ever looked at how magazines show body image? These magazines are what make us teens wonder and question how we look. Instead of teaching us to love our body they teach us how to be like one of the dangerously underweight models. Body image has been a huge issue lately, people have talked about the effects it has on the community and how kids, especially teenagers, are being affected through this. Teenagers have a tendency to believe what they see and what they hear, which can be a dangerous thing.

A recent study shows that in America at the age of thirteen, 53% of teen girls feel ‘bad’ or are ‘unhappy’ with their body, this grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. This is because of the way media, especially teen magazines, portray body image (“Teen Health and the Media.”). At the age of thirteen, which is the start of teen life, girls who start questioning their body and start to take advice from magazines are affected the most, this also makes them lose confidence in their body and they start to become like someone else they see in the magazines. The way people are shown in magazines is not normal. The models are terribly thin, and in some cases are even photoshopped! Supermodels Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid just faced a huge photoshop fail were they lost their knees. In the image, you can see they are made to look like ‘Barbies’ and flawless their knees were photoshopped out. This shot was taken for the 10th-anniversary art issue of W Magazine where these t398d796a00000578-3856934-image-a-18_1476991760065wo models were all over the magazine. Throughout the magazine, there was photoshopping to make them look ‘perfect’ (“FitzPatrick, Hayley”). These young models are role models to thousands of other girls and having their images being photoshopped conveys an unrealistic message about body image. This isn’t the first time photoshopping has been caught and questioned in a magazine. Most of the time in order to make the model look ‘heavenly’ like and to show people that this is the ‘perfect’ body that a girl can have they go a bit over the top and make changes to their waist, arms, legs, hips and face. Photoshopped figures are perfectly sculpted, they are shown to be flawless and pure. This trend of photoshopping models promotes plastic surgery in females who cannot attain these figures naturally. A study shows that 45% of all surgeries are plastic surgeries, because of photoshopping in magazines, surgeries like fat grafting, Botox, and Liposuction Fat Reduction. Girls come with pictures of models on magazines and ask the surgeon to give them those hips, thighs or face (“SmartBeautyNews.”). Photoshopping clears out the wrinkles, pimples and pores on every model and what the readers see is perfect and visionary bodies.

This leads us to the ‘tips’ or ‘how to get a perfect body’ articles. There are loads of information in magazines nowadays on how to be like one of the perfect models. We have tips on how to develop abs, how to have a flatter stomach, how to cut down thigh fat, etc. I myself have tried many of these tips and all along I have wanted is to be like one of the models, to have a slimmer body. Over the course of time I have learned that these tips result in eating disorders and depression. In the United States, 78% of grown up teen girls who are affected by body image issues have had to deal with eating disorders or depression (“How Do Magazines Affect Body Image?”). Most of the time girls cross their boundaries and push their bodies too far to follow a particular diet they read in a Magazine or practice a type of workout that guarantees them a slimmer body, these exaggerations can result in an unhealthy body or a severe muscle pull. The image is an example of an article that provokes teen girls to start questioning their body and to see how others are losing weight and to practice the same routine. There also have been many cases of anorexia, where girls who have been on strict diet from magazines have faced many problems. I have read hundreds of these articles and every single one of them is the same where they talk about the do’s and don’ts of dieting, I have followed many tips but I always ended up pushing myself and putting my health in danger. When you start dieting at a very young age it can lead to a variety of health problems.

I would like to say that magazines do negatively affect female teenagers. Magazines lower the self-esteem of female teens by making them question their body. I myself have faced lots of self-esteem issues and have felt bad about my body. Magazines limit the thinking of teen girls by filling their heads with dieting, flatter stomach, bigger breast, larger hips and other elements which make a perfect body it limits their thinking that every girl in herself is unique. All teen girls can’t have the same body, we all cannot be unrealistic like those models in magazines. My motive in writing this blog is to tell girls that whoever you are, you are beautiful. Our bodies are what makes us unique, and letting some piece of paper decide how we look is foolish.

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