Have you ever seen a popular women’s magazine that doesn’t target self-image? Probably not. Media seems to make real-life extremely unrealistic. I mean how many people actually weigh about 100 pounds, that are totally healthy and in shape? Not many. In today’s society, women are always constantly worried about weight and the way they look and it’s all because of television, magazines, movies, and so on. The media tends to form a set image of how a person should look or act. To me, this only makes people weak. What type of girl do you picture when you hear “cheerleader”? Yep. Someone a lot like the cartoon character Brittany from MTV’s hit shows Daria. –ditzy, jumping, screaming, and helpless when it comes to doing much of anything else. We also have stereotypes of what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like.
How familiar is the description: 5’7”, long blond hair, blue eyes, super skinny? Besides the fact that most women aren’t built like that, this ideal version of beauty leaves out anyone whose family tree doesn’t go back to a Northern European Country. Most people are left out of this fairy princess stereotype that is all over TV. Think about it. Why are we so obsessed with fat? It seems like you can’t get through a single day without somebody complaining about being fat or comparing weights or talking about being on a diet. Most of the time it’s the girls who look perfectly fine. Doesn’t this get just a little bit old? Think of all the things we could be talking about –world peace, fighting starvation, or hey, even math homework –but instead we waste all this time making a show of how much we hate our bodies all due to the set image of media.
Even though the media is constantly trying to convince us that what we really need is to be stick-thin and covered inexpensive makeup and clothes, why do we feel so much pressure even within our groups of friends to go on and on about fat and fat that? It’s because of four main reasons. Number one, it’s a reason to cover for something else. Number two, you may feel pressured while in a group that talks about fat constantly so you find yourself doing the exact same thing. Number three, you’re looking for a compliment. And finally number four, sometimes we worry that if we’re confident, people will think we’re conceited. Confidence is a good thing. It’s what makes us able to take risks, assert ourselves, and do things we once thought were too difficult. But for some reason, some people think of confident women as conceited. So by talking about how fat or ugly we are, that’s our way of saying, “Don’t worry, I don’t think I’m perfect. I’m not conceited.”
Why can’t we be proud of ourselves, who we are, and what we can do? Why do we have to sit around and put ourselves down instead of doing fun things? Fat talk is dumb. It keeps us focusing on the negative stuff, forces us to compare ourselves to models, and even worse can lead to life-threatening complications such as eating disorders. Disordered eating is one of the most common problems of young women in America. Look at how much time is wasted thinking about or worrying about how we look. We spend so much time getting all these messages fed into us about how we should look, act and feel about ourselves, what we should do to change ourselves from what we really are and should be. What we have in magazines isn’t real. The best thing you can do for yourself is to honestly believe that those magazine models aren’t real, it’s all make-believe. Companies want to make money off of you by convincing you that you need to buy their stuff to be beautiful and worthy of attention. Don’t believe it for a second. Who are you going to trust, yourself and your own comfort, or are you going to trust a company try to make a buck off of you?