enough with the manipulation; America needs an attitude adjustment.
Life is meant to be fun and carefree. You have a summer full of adventures waiting for you, but you can’t get yourself to go. Your mind is trapped elsewhere.
You can’t go to the drive thru burger joint with friends because you might gain a pound. God forbid you go to the movies; your diet doesn’t have exceptions for buttered popcorn.
Your body image is negative. You are disgusted by what you see through your own eyes. An eating disorder has a latch on you.
What made you this way?
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, over 24 million people suffer from eating disorders throughout the United States. Women account for a majority of victims.
Eating disorders put up the highest numbers of mortality compared to all other mental illnesses. The disease itself does not necessarily kill the victim; many pass away from organ failure, malnutrition or suicide due to the eating disorder.
Eating disorders and body image issues haunted one of my loved ones for several years. It will always be a disease that she has to battle.
As I watched her body waste away to skin and bones, she fell into a deep depression. I wondered to myself, why? Why doesn’t she realize how beautiful she is? She is starving herself to death; that is not beauty.
Like many other girls, she found it hard to stray her attention from the glamorous lifestyle of flawless models. They tell themselves they are going to have Kendall’s flat abs, Kate’s perfect apple cheekbones and Gisele’s legs as tall as trees.
According to a University of Wisconsin study, the average American woman weighs 140 pounds, measuring in at 5’4”. The average fashion model is a meek 117 pounds, standing tall at 5’11.”
Victims of self-image negativity don’t take into consideration that magazines use airbrushing qualities and Photoshop in their ads. The fashion world, an industry with the potential to make a positive impact on body image, has spent many years abusing its power. It sends the wrong image to a world of girls that soak up anything labeled beautiful.
Magazines are flawed when they do not show off their organic, natural beauty. The Center on Media and Child Health took part in a study stating 70 percent of teen girls said magazines and online images influence their idea on what an ideal body type should look like.
It’s not healthy for young women to mimic a supermodel that has been airbrushed to unrealistic perfection.
Marketers are behind what consumers view as sexy. They must appeal to the consumer or else they’re out of business. Women buy the products that promise beauty stemmed from body dissatisfaction.
Enough with the manipulation; America needs an attitude adjustment.
The definition of beauty should be self-confidence, an attribute that is not portrayed to young women through airbrushed ads. It must come from within. Numerous studies have linked magazines and self-esteem issues together.
Recently, some campaigns have noticed the deadly issue and are taking action.
Aerie, a ladies clothing and underwear company, has joined the movement of portraying natural beauty. Their campaign focuses on untouched, real sexiness. Stores are covered in ads with untouched photos of healthy models sporting the hashtag #aerieREAL. The ad on the center page of their website applauds self-confident women: “Think real. Get real. No supermodels. No retouching. The real you is sexy.”
It is crucial to positively influence self-image awareness like Aerie has done. Attitudes can change and self-confidence will emerge. People, campaigns and companies need to join together to strengthen the movement. Girls and women who struggle with self-image, like my loved one did, need to know that it is normal to have a bigger waist, shorter legs or curlier hair.
Perfection is not an airbrushed, professionally made up model.
The movement of creating a happy and positive body image starts from within; once it is ignited, it is contagious. Let us continue the movement by remembering we are all beautiful in our own way.
The world is in need of women who support other women, not compete and compare.