Many of us aspire to be in the footsteps of beautiful girls on the runways. Modeling has a colossal impact on the world of a teenager, as girls strive to be as skinny and pretty as those women on the runway.
This mentality affects how we go about our daily lives. We have this obsession to be supermodel-thin. It’s a goal that starts to dictate how we live and, more importantly, how we see our bodies. We start to deprive ourselves of good food, which becomes merely an obstruction to reaching our goal. Some of us may even go as far as starving ourselves because this mind-set has dominated us, and fills us with degrading thoughts. I don’t think it’s right to strive to be supermodel-thin, as doing so results in bad health.
Some time ago, Abercrombie & Fitch decided that they were no longer going to sell large sizes (10 and above), as bigger-size women were not “cool” enough to wear their clothes. This resulted in a lot of drama and, of course, a decline in the number of shoppers in the store.
This was even discussed on “Ellen,” where Ellen DeGeneres corrected the very wrong notion of beauty. She softened her criticism with jokes that had the entire audience laughing and applauding. It is her opinion, she said, that “beauty is not between a size zero and a size eight—it is not physical.” Ellen raised everyone’s confidence by doing this.
Furthermore, stores like Forever 21 and H&M even encourage their larger customers, as they have sections solely for them. Still, what the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO said only proves that there are retailers who drive away bigger-size customers. These people are laughed at and put down, simply because they don’t look the way media teaches us how to look. Our perception of beauty becomes distorted, especially with computer programs such as Photoshop, programs that can turn our flaws (which make us who we are) into absolute perfection.
We strive to imitate the beauty and flawlessness that only Photoshop can give, and we shape our lives to reach that goal. It constantly haunts us, especially during meals, as we start to feel guilty about eating something good. We start to believe that we need flawless skin, abs, curves. It is our conviction that all these physical things will make us more lovable, which is a shallow way of thinking, in my opinion.
However, I must say that I’ve fallen victim to this mentality, and I’ve allowed it to dictate my life. It becomes no longer just a desire, but a necessity. The mentality manifested itself in my sudden desire to wear makeup and lose weight at the start of freshman year in high school.
Such a concept of beauty deludes us, as we lose sight of who we really are. Our individuality is blurred, and is replaced by obsequiousness to what media says and current tastes—and all the things we are led to believe.
My aunt once spoke randomly about feeling guilty about eating, whenever she saw supermodel-thin girls walking around the mall. She then mulled it over, and came to the conclusion that she should “not care anymore” because “food is just too good.” This got a laugh from my entire family, and it was then that I realized the extent of media’s influence on all of us, especially us teenage girls.
As it is now school break for me, my friends and I often joke about gaining a million pounds before the end of our break. I was on the phone with my best friend, and I told her, “Dude, I swear, I think I’m gaining, like, 500 kilos.” She laughed and told me, “Me, too, I can’t possibly stop myself from eating. It’s too hard, and I’m not even going to try, because that would probably not even last one day!”
Beauty should not be linked to wardrobe size. It should not be a significant amount of eyeliner or lip gloss, a cropped top exposing a flat stomach that others should envy, extremely high heels one can barely walk in, a size zero mini-dress, flawless skin, or short shorts.
Rather, beauty should be undisguised laughter with our friends, a genuine smile after sadness, kindness to the less fortunate, empathy—the simple things that we often take for granted, or the things that we must start to do.