Body Image is simply defined as the way a person perceives their own appearance. Many people in our society today have a negative body image, which means that they have a skewed or untrue image of themselves.
“People with negative body image see themselves as a distorted image of who they really are. They feel awkward, uncomfortable, ashamed and self-conscious.” (Safe Teens)
This untrue image of oneself is mainly caused by a standard of beauty which people attempt to embody. The media, society, and one’s own peers can be the most consistent sources of this appearance expectation.
“Only 5% of American women have the body type portrayed in commercials and television in general.” (Huffington Post)
This gap between what people actually look like and what they are expected to look like creates the root cause of negative body image. Many teenage girls have expectations of their own appearance that may be physically impossible to attain, which can cause immense dissatisfaction.
Therefore, more than in the past, high school students, who are being constantly exposed to the “perfect” appearance, are the most susceptible to negative body image.
“But now, thanks to photo-centric social media like Instagram, Snapchat and other messaging apps, kids are exposed to a constant drumbeat of bikini bodies, six-pack abs, and just-right hair 24/7.” (Common Sense Media)
Due to the constant exposure to an unattainable standard of beauty, many teenagers get involved in “dangerous practices to control their weight and size.” (Brown University)
In the next blogpost, eating disorders and other effects of negative body image will be further discussed.