Many young, American women, from the ages 12-17 are suffering from body dissatisfaction—something that should not be occurring. In fact, according to Psychology of Women Quarterly, girls start to feel self-conscious beginning with “the onset of puberty, when bodies begin to mature. [It] is the time when girls’ bodies become increasingly looked at, commented on, and evaluated by others,” making them even more aware of their hormonal, changing body states (Slater 2). But what triggers these young girls to feel this way about their bodies?
Negative body image and body shaming are so prevalent among teen girls in modern America due to the media; specifically teen magazines, like Teen Vogue and Seventeen. Young girls like to browse the glitzy magazines, hoping to retrieve some helpful tips for surviving through their teen years; yet, how could they possibly be using these so-called “tips” to help them? In fact, according to most teens that read the magazines, they are seen as more detrimental than helpful.
Many young girls find themselves drawn to the magazines, because some of their favorite celebrities are displayed; however, when looking at these pictures of the glamorous celebrities, almost all teen girls wonder how a person could be so perfect. The answer is Photoshop, tons of makeup, seductive clothing, and hair products.
Celebrities play a huge role in the advertising business and Seventeen and Teen Vogue both focus on using very attractive celebrities for beauty products because girls will see how beautiful they look and think that that product will make them look like that; however, that occurs very seldom—causing disappointment for many girls.
Not all celebs are fans of being exposed in social media; especially in the magazines. Demi Lovato is a prime example of this. According to an article on huffingtonpost.com, Lovato dealt with “years of struggle with drug abuse, bulimia and self-harm, [that] ended with a stint in rehab in 2010 and a break from the spotlight that marked a new beginning for the singer” (Moreno 1). Like most teen girls, Demi Lovato used to read the magazines when she was younger and couldn’t help but feel intimidated and self-concious when looking at the flawless celebrities featured in the ads. Then, as she became older and more popular in the media, Lovato became a victim of being digitally altered herself, reducing her self-esteem as well. It just goes to show that these big time beauty companies and magazines, like Teen Vogue and Seventeen (both featured Demi at least once) only care about their image and how they represent themselves. They don’t necessarily care about the fact that they are causing anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, and other body shaming rituals among the young female population.
Some of these magazines have made some changes to what they display since so many young girls are stepping up and advocating for them to stop digitally altering their photos; however, it shouldn’t take thousands of young women to try and persuade Seventeen and Teen Vogue to change the way they represent young women in their magazines. They should know that it’s wrong to edit pictures and portray young women as sexual objects. Despite the small changes these magazines have made, more needs to be done; girls should feel good about themselves when reading the magazines that they’ve paid for, they shouldn’t feel self-conscious and depressed. Seventeen and Teen Vogue need to focus more on positive body image and healthy lifestyles among young women as opposed to the impossible ideal body figure.