The Pessimistic Effects of Body Image on Teenagers
Body image is defined by health professional Carla Rice as, “an individual’s experience of his or her body. It refers to the mental picture a person had of his or her body as well as the individual’s associated thoughts, feelings, judgements, sensations, awareness, and behavior” (“Body Image”). Body image is developed through interactions with people and the social world. It alters across lifespans in response to adjusting feedback from the environment. Body image in young teens is greatly influenced throughout the preoccupation with weight and body image, it is affecting the youth very negatively with how they are seeing their bodies through the influence of social media, how it is effecting their self esteem, and how it is affecting them to change their bodies physically.
Social media is having a huge negative impact on how teens are viewing themselves. They grasp the societal depictions of the ideal figure primarily from the media. (“Body Image”) They are being bombarded with images in magazines, movies, on television, and especially online with instagram, snapchat, and twitter. “The flawless pictures and ads of celebrities can harm body image. These images can influence impressionable youths to view their bodies as not thin or fit enough” (Mehta). For girls, the perfect body is typically slim and toned, but with the constant take in of models and celebrities with the perfect figure, these teens are being led to believe that something is wrong with them because they are not as thin as these women. Seeing all of the artificially perfected images can hurt a young females body image in a way that one may see and feel about their body and the way that one may think others see them. Those messages from social media can really mess with a young teens self esteem.
The obsession and preoccupation with weight and body image are greatly affecting the self esteem of the female adolescents. In the long run, body image has a lot more to do with ones minds than ones body. Self esteem plays an enormous role in body image, the better you feel about yourself, the more likely it is that you will like what you see in the mirror. According to Schaefer, “this culture encourages many young women to go after unrealistic standards of beauty, which then compels them to edit their photographs and ultimately their own bodies. This culture fosters a never ending obsession to achieve perfection, one that eclipses young girls’ confidence in their real selves” (Schaefer) The self esteem of a young female can easily be disrupted and with all the negative effects with body image is transferring into how these teen girls are trying to alter the physical outcome of their bodies.
The pessimistic effects of body image are causing teens to try to change their bodies physically. The current standard of extreme thinness for women is unrealistic, unhealthy, and impossible for most women to achieve. (“Body Image”). In extreme cases, it is causing teenage girls to develop habits of doing unnatural things to their bodies to try to attain the perfect physique. Americans are encouraged to focus on their health by exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods rather than doing harm to their bodies. The body dissatisfaction can lead girls to participate in very unhealthy behaviors to try to control their weight (Hellmich). Cholelithiasis, peptic ulcer, and gastroesophageal reflux are all diseases that can be developed in these young women. “Experts call these behaviors disordered eating, a broad term used to describe a range of eating problems, from frequent tightening to anorexia nervosa (which is self-starvation, low weight and fear of being fat) to bulimia nervosa (the binge-and-purge-disorder)” (Hellmich). Although body image can quite possible lead to many horrific things for both the mind and the body, there can always be a flip side to everything as well.
As said before, body image is “an individual’s experience of his or her body. It refers to the mental picture a person has of his or her body as well as the individual’s associated thoughts, feelings, judgements, sensations, awareness, and behavior” (“Body Image”). That statement does not lead any one person to sway either way on if body image is associated with good nor bad things. When people think of body image they think only of the negative effects of it, but not everything only has one side to the story. Body image can truly help people in unbelievable ways. One of the greatest ways it can help sway people to the positive side of it is that it can be used as a magnificent motivator for all people. It may push them to work harder to reach their goals and desires in a natural and healthy way.
For the contrast of that reason, body image in young teens is continuously being influenced throughout the constant thought about weight and body image. It is affecting the youth very negatively with how they are seeing their bodies through the influence of social media, how it is effecting their self esteem, and how it is affecting them to change their bodies physically. The truth is, is that “perfection” is not realistic or even necessarily healthy, and once people began to realize that they will enjoy themselves much more. As Dr. Christopher Cain would say, “We all need to take a healthy approach to the way we view ourselves and our bodies – looking after ourselves, but not trying to attain an unattainable perfection at the cost of our health, wellbeing, and happiness” (Cain).
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below