The Female Perspective

June 14, 2021

For teenage girls today, body image and self-esteem remain massive issues. Approximately 80% of women in the United States are dissatisfied with their body and how they look.*

This is no surprise, though. The societal norms pressuring women are countless. They’re ever-present, and strangest of all, they often contradict each other, placing women under constant self-scrutiny.

“You need to be curvy, but not fat. You’re expected to have a tiny waist, but not be too skinny. It never ends,” sophomore Samantha Klein said.

On the opposite spectrum of men, women are often expected to be less muscular in order to appear more “feminine.” And thanks to the beauty industry, these expectations are shoved right in girls’ faces from a young age.

“The beauty industry cares about itself first and foremost,” junior Andrew Stephens said. “It is a predator which preys on girls’ self-consciousness–a business in which every insecurity it creates means another dollar made.”

Big-brand advertisers push out marketing for women like wildfire, creating an unreachable image of beauty.

“It can be exhausting. We are constantly bombarded with unattainable opinions about our bodies,” junior Ella McGee said. “Every aspect of my ‘look’ is criticized, objectified, and sexualized.”

It can be exhausting. We are constantly bombarded with unattainable opinions about our bodies. Every aspect of my ‘look’ is criticized, objectified, and sexualized.”

— Ella McGee, 11

Constant pressure from the beauty industry, social media, and peers can be inescapable. Poor body image is often accompanied with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression as many individuals aim to avoid specific clothing and food entirely, if only to prevent downward spirals of self-loathing.

“Every day I struggle to eat and restrict myself when the scale doesn’t say what I want it to say,” one female Liberty student said.

The images and pressures from norms surrounding teenage girls can be extreme. Yet in the face of all that, many people try to recognize the beauty of imperfections.

“I still don’t think or feel like I fit the standard. I’m never going to be perfect, but I’ve reached a point where I’m okay with that,” sophomore Annika Kronberg said.

In the end, we’re all people with flaws and imperfections. Recognizing the importance of all your body does for you is just one step in the process towards a better self-image.

“We are all built differently, and that is completely normal. If you are having a bad body image day, that’s okay. Just try your best to move forward and not judge yourself,” Liberty’s Swedish hospital teen mental health counselor Hillary Cohen said.

 

While the differences between the issues faced by men and women are slightly different from one another, there is still one factor that scrutinizes body image for our generation more than any before us.

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