Wake up. Change clothes. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Leave home. This is the standard morning routine for most people, but one step, in particular, tends to take up more time than expected: looking in the mirror. According to the TODAY survey from NBC, most girls spend over an hour a day looking at the mirror.
While looking in the mirror, millions of thoughts may run through one’s head. Too fat, too skinny, too ugly, too short– there are infinite variations of toxic self-bashing judgments. And the driving motivator behind this is the society’s pressure on girls to have the “perfect” body, effectively damaging their self-confidence.
Such toxic culture obsessed with looks can have a negative impact on one’s career as well. Research shows that skinny girls are more likely to get chosen for a job. 93% of people agree that girls are judged more on appearance than ability. If other people discriminate against girls by their bodies, imagine the psychological effect this has on their self-image? Girls will believe that they are held back because of their looks. Not only does this occur when applying for a job, but it also continues after employment.
Before posting a photo, editing is an essential step. Nearly 20% of girls admitted that their profile picture on social media is edited to the point where it doesn’t represent them at all. Editing apps that morph people’s bodies into slim figures only encourage girls to believe that skinny is beautiful.
This phenomenon is certainly not just social media-based; it’s widespread in real life too, especially in the model industry. Despite the fact that models are already thin, according to Vogue, over 62% of models were told to lose weight by their agencies. In addition to that, 54% of models were told that they wouldn’t be able to find a job if they don’t slim down. Consequently, there are countless numbers of fashion models that suffer from eating disorders. This is probably why anorexia, a type of eating disorder, is the most common among models. And this eating disorder, Anorexia, can be fatal; Ana Carolina Reston is a model that died of starvation. Besides not eating, models also do plastic surgery to lose weight. In fact, around 10 out of 100 models were recommended by agencies to get plastic surgeries like liposuction, which is a process that removes body fat.
The irony is that while mainstream media pressures regular girls to look up to thin models as the ultimate embodiment of beauty, the models themselves constantly face eating disorders and negative feedback from their agency. In the end, the “perfect” body is impossible to attain.
So why bother trying? There is no “perfect” body. It doesn’t exist. We are all perfect just the way we are. Our society keeps reminding girls that they should have the “perfect’ body; therefore, we need to take action. We should promote positive body images to take away the pressure that society puts on girls to be skinny. Girlguiding is the UK’s largest girls-only organization, and this organization launched a social media challenge to compliment girls on social media by using hashtags like #youareamazing. Participate in this challenge to spread positive body images. #Youareamazing
– Sohee Sophia Yoon (‘23)
Featured image: Sohee Sophia Yoon (‘23)