Today, images and advertisements are everywhere. You open your phone, go on Instagram and there is an image of a skinny woman with full size breasts holding a designer perfume bottle or wearing those jeans you just have to buy.

You go to a grocery store, there’s another perfectly sculpted woman on a magazine cover.

You turn on the television and there is your favorite actress and of course she has virtually no waist and fits into a size zero jeans.

At home, at the store, walking along the street; these images are everywhere. Though the women and girls in these adds do not look like us, they appeal to us. These advertisements have created America’s body image: thin.

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Teenage girl (16-18) with measuring tape wrapped around body

Women and girls, young girls specifically, are being taught that anything but “skinny” is not acceptable. A recent study shows that girls are not necessarily creating diagnosable eating disorders out of this issue but “rather an entirely normative obsession with body shape and size”.

Growing up in America, girls think it is normal to worry about their weight at such a young age. They assume that the obsession comes along with being a girl.

This ideal body image stems from media, whether it be television, advertisements or social media. These are related due to how many hours are spent exposed to this ideal.

A recent study written about by Hamilton Post, stated, “In one study, among European American and African American girls ages 7 – 12, greater overall television exposure predicted both a thinner ideal adult body shape and a higher level of disordered eating one year later.”

About .18% of the population suffers from eating disorders. According to Something Fishy (a website dedicated to eating disorders) about one in every one hundred teenage girls may develop an eating disorder.

Not all of these eating disorders can be accounted for by media, but it most definitely plays an extreme roll.

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In television shows, the thin characters who always dress nice are the successful, lustful, outgoing ones. While on the other hand a larger woman or man is almost always depicted as the villain or lazy and unkept. It is this divide that creates the need to be thin.

In advertisements for makeup, perfume or clothing the women are always skinny and most of the time are laughing, having a good time, looking happy to be thin. Or other times the woman will be accompanied by a man and they will be either locked in a lustful stare or a heated embrace.

Girls strive to feel and look as comfortable and effortless in these brands as the women in the images portray.

What most people fail to recognize or fail to acknowledge is how these “perfect” images of thin women are fake. Most of the time they are touched up; disguising minor flaws and making the models even skinnier than they already are.

In fact, supermodels weigh about 25% less than the average woman. Most modeling agencies encourage anorexia and other eating disorders. These women get treatments done to change their appearance in order to make themselves look thinner.

What we see in media, television, and advertisements is not real and it most definitely is not normal.

However, now the media has been starting a new trend centered around “wellness”. This trend can be found on multiple platforms of social media and media in general. It encourages viewers to strive for a “healthy, fit, lifestyle”.

fitspo-04Though to many this seems to be a turn around from the thin American ideal, it has turned into a promotion of fitness models and trainers that give slogans about “weight guilt”. It’s become hard to distinguish “fitspiration” from “thinspiration”. So instead, the strive for “wellness” is used as a disguise for those with eating disorders.

What young girls and teens fail to realize is those who live these insane, strict diet lifestyles are not all happy. It is okay to be yourself. But whoever you are, embrace it.

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Sources:

https://www.hamilton.edu/news/story/the-medias-effect-on-womens-body-image

http://www.mirror-mirror.org/the-media-and-body-image.htm

http://www.something-fishy.org/cultural/themedia.php

http://time.com/4459153/social-media-body-image/

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