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"The Perfect Body" & the Media

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–It is not always easy to feel comfortable in your own skin, especially when society has an idea of the “perfect body”–an idea that is popularized through the media. Women in media tend to be unrealistically pretty with a thin body, airbrushed skin, perfect hair, nails, everything. However, women in the real world rarely have the “perfect body.” The truth of the matter is that it is nearly impossible to be as flawless as women in the media look.
Media is everywhere, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Media in America especially has become increasingly potent with technology. As our world is becoming swamped with magazines, advertisements, and photography, society is being affected more than ever. Women are particularly vulnerable because they are looking at other women who have been photoshopped to be thin and have perfect skin, white teeth, and flawless hair. Presented with these images, they think that they need to look a certain way and meet the same unrealistic criteria.
The media has impacted women to such an extent that they develop low self-esteem or resort to eating disorders, substance abuse, and plastic surgery, among others. Studies show that approximately 91 percent of women are uncomfortable with their bodies and choose to diet in an attempt to become skinnier. The low self-esteem of women leads to eating disorders like anorexia, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts. Millions of other women struggle with depression and anxiety because they are uncomfortable with their body image.

Photo courtesy of www.believeinyou.biz
Photo courtesy of www.believeinyou.biz

That is a huge red flag! Clearly something is wrong if the health of women is being jeopardized because they feel that they should look a certain way. Next time you feel like you may not be good enough, it is important to remember that the models you are looking up to are unrealistically skinny and are probably unhealthy because of their weight. Even models suffer from eating disorders because they feel like they are supposed to look skinny. It is not uncommon for a model to not eat before a photoshoot, just so that she can look aesthetically pleasing.
Media is always going to be in our faces, telling us how to look and what the “perfect” woman looks like. But we can fight it. We should be able to eat what we want, when we want, and not feel obligated to be just as skinny as the models on TV. It is important to not allow the women portrayed in the media bring us down because they are edited to look that way. Everyone has flaws–even models, actresses, singers, and your favorite talk-show host. It is important to consider that under all the makeup and editing, they actually look quite similar to a real person.
So, ladies–it is okay to be comfortable in your own skin! And it’s not just okay, it is also important. If you think that you are not pretty enough, just remember that these women are edited in order to look perfect.
Author’s note: Content found in this article is supported by “Body Image & The Media: An Overview” by Beverly Ballaro and Geraldine Wagner, as well as “The ‘Thigh Gap’: It’s all about the Science” by Lucinda Farley.