Seventeen Magazine Influences Teen Body Image and Health

Environmental influences such as mass media, in particular magazines, contribute to how many young women feel about their body. Seventeen magazine promotes the idealistic young woman as ultra-thin and at an unachievable beauty level. The teenage readers interpret this unrealistic beauty as the social norm and it lowers their self-confidence about their own bodies. This dissatisfaction of body image is one of the major factors that lead to eating disorders in teenage women.

The pictures portrayed in magazines, often photo shopped, influence the readers’ ideas of the perfect body shape which sets the beauty standards for America. Seventeen magazine “depict[s] images of girls deemed socially beautiful and desirable with few, if any, bodily flaws” (Oliver 54). The magazine changes teenagers’ ideals of the perfect body as it influences its readers to believe they must look as perfect and desirable as the models featured.


In a February 2014 magazine, the Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario’s cover story “highlights her struggle with a recovery from an eating disorder that she believes resulted from her ideals of ‘perfection’. Then check out the next insightful cover story, advertised just centimeters away” (Admin).


Get an insane body.. it’s hard but you’ll look hot??? These are the reasons people like Troian Bellisario experience such disorders. We cannot escape a society where weight and thinness are emphasized.

Here is a short video to show you just how far photo shopping models can go.


July 2012 issue of Seventeen magazine introduced something called the Body Peace Treaty. The publishers of Seventeen introduced this treaty in response to activists going against the excessive photo shopping and artificial enhancement of their models. The treaty promises to “never change girls’ body or face shapes in published images” mentioning that they “never have, never will” and “insists that they will only feature real girls and models who are healthy” (Cowles). However, there is no way Seventeen is going to stop enhancing their models now. How could they? Whether it be airbrushing acne, brightening teeth, or slimming waistlines, the magazine was and still is guilty of improving the features of their models. They will continue to overly bronze, tighten and tone anything to please their high standards of beauty.



Seventeen negatively influences teenage body image and health through their unrealistic representation of models featured in their magazines. Young women are manipulated by their deceitfulness and it gives them dissatisfaction about their body image. They believe they must look like the models to be beautiful or successful in our twisted society. As they try to reach the beauty standard, it leads these women towards unhealthy eating behaviors such as anorexia and bulimia as they try to become skinnier.

Our youth shoul listen to the insightful words of Colbie Caillat and learn to accept their own bodies and the bodies of others.


Literature Cited

Admin, B. R. “So Much for Your “Body Peace Treaty,” Huh Seventeen?” Beauty Refined. Web. 13 Jan.      2014.

ColbieCaillatVEVO. “Colbie Caillat – Try.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 8 July 2014. Web. 29 Nov.  2014.

Cowles, Charlotte. Seventeen Magazine Makes ‘Body Peace Treaty’. The Cut. 5 July 2012. Web. 11 Nov.    2014.

Epitesti. “Catalin Eremia’s Before & After – Episode 1 – Short Version.” Online video clip. YouTube.     YouTube, 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

“Fear of Not Being Good Enough.” Ascended Relationships. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

H, Laura. “Prom, Dresses and Body Image Issues.” Fbomb. 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 20  Nov. 2014.

Oliver, Kimberly L. “Images of the Body from Popular Culture Engaging Adolescent Girls in Critical    Inquiry.” Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2003. Web.


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