Growing up I never noticed the effect media has on certain body types. It was not because it was not there, I just did not pay attention to it. The most significant time I remember taking a step back and thinking to myself this was a problem was senior year of high school. All through my life, I played sports and in high school I started working out on a regular basis. I thought I was always in fairly good shape, but then I found myself comparing my physique to others more and more as I heard them complain about their own bodies. It was really bad towards the end of the year when everyone was preparing for beach week. Girls started stressing out about trying to get the ideal beach body. I knew there was a problem when I started questioning myself for not joining all the other girls by going on gluten free diets, cutting out all kinds of carbs like bread, and the endless cleanses they all seemed to be trying. Luckily, I had an amazing group of friends that did not fret about those things. Instead of worrying about dieting, we would go out to get ice cream or have a movie night with various snacks. Besides, we were way too tired and hungry after school, lacrosse practices, and games to try to keep up with a diet.
Many people are not so lucky. Most teenagers scroll through social media during their free time. Some may already have their own insecurities about their bodies, and then go on social media to be beaten with the idea that there is only a certain body type you must have to be beautiful. When everyone is telling you this is right, it is hard to recognize it as wrong.
It is especially hard with so many different social media sites telling you the same thing. Followers of this ideal have turned to Twitter to blow up their goals with hashtags like #thinspiration and trends like the thigh gap and bikini bridge. The trends have led to extremely unhealthy solutions. Relapsing (@fatfightingmia) tweeted, “So I think I’ve beaten bulimia but now I’m falling back into my anorexic ways I’m starving myself over exercising avoiding food at all costs” (Relapsing). There were countless other posts with the same meaning and pictures of their goals. Beyoncé demonstrates some of these struggles in her music video, “Pretty Hurts.”
However, people do not understand that this is not healthy at all. If you are not born with the trends, then you most likely cannot achieve them unless you do so with surgery or malnutrition (Vira). There is also the fact that most models are photo shopped to the point they do not even look like themselves. You should be able to go online and see how proud people are of their bodies and feel good about yourself too. Spreading this type of positivity would create a much better body image for all to have.