By VICKY ELHELBAWI
The media portrays a narrow definition of beauty, resulting in an increase in people struggling to view themselves as beautiful. The unrealistic standards constantly depicted result in self-harm and eating disorders among the youth and must be ended.
A lack of confidence can make someone question if they are enough and feel immense pressure to conform to societal standards. Often images in the media manipulate the mind into thinking that there is only one type of beauty in the world.
“Confidence comes from within yourself. People will never know the way you’re thinking,” said Alex Embree, sophomore.
Images of models who all have the same body type can make young women want to change themselves in order to look like the people they see in magazines. What these young people may not know is the images they are viewing are often heavily photoshopped and edited.
The people pictured in magazines look completely different in real life. “I feel that eating disorders start because of bullying and stress. People are constantly feeling like they need to look a specific way to be accepted,” said Dominique Marghella, junior.
“We are constantly reminder by magazines and T.V. shows about what beautiful or perfect is.” Along with full blown eating disorders, many people fall into unhealthy habits or skip meals in hopes of losing weight.
People get caught up in thinking their body is not up to the standards of society, which is very damaging to a developing self esteem.
“I know for myself, [I am] never happy with how I look. I know I’m not fat, but to me I’m not skinny enough and it takes over my life sometimes,” Marghella added. “Sometimes I skip a meal or have gone days without eating. It’s sad but it’s the truth but we need to find ways to accept ourselves.”
Anorexia and bulimia are two very serious eating disorders that can result in long term health issues and even death. Both men and woman suffer with these disorders, something which is often ignored.
Anorexic individuals deprive themselves of eating food, consuming a very low caloric intake per day. Bulimic individuals binge eat and then make themselves vomit the food back up to prevent the calories and weight gain.
This can cause long term damage to the throat and stomach. When an individual is going through this traumatic experience, their whole life revolves around what to eat, what not to eat and how to avoid food and drop more weight.
Mentally, their brain is manipulated and drained. Physically, the human body will begin to go into starvation mode and eventually organ damage starts to occur.
When a person’s body is going through this, they become extremely weak. The weaker they become, the less energy they have. Gradually, they lose motivation for many things they once were passionate about and only focus on what the mirror and scale are showing them.
“It’s very common for people to suffer in silence about eating disorders so it’s important to bring attention to it because is the most deadly mental disorder. Social media glamorizes eating disorders and hides the fact that eating disorders are a mental illness,” said Ashley Saladino, sophomore.
This disease is a mental rollercoaster and a growing problem throughout the world. It is important to recognize disordered eating habits, so if someone is struggling with this issue, it can be addressed and they can be helped.
There must be a push to ensure the images portrayed in the media showcase a wide range of people. Through depicting people of all shapes and sizes, a more body positive and inclusive society can be created.