This I Believe

Shelby - Bonney Lake, Washington
Entered on September 21, 2007

As a high school girl I am constantly faced with insecurities and the pressure to live up to society’s standard of “perfection.” I believe it is important for teens not to give in to the image that the media advertises and praises. Eating disorders and the strive to be skinny are a huge problem among today’s young people. Celebrity women are too often seen as unhealthily skinny, and are now part of the reason that not eating enough is a way to live life. The pressure to be flawless in every way is frequently linked to self-image and weight issues.

As I watch TV, images of famous, beautiful celebrities and their amazing lifestyles are drooled over. I see the reactions of those who watch, admiring their skinny bodies and protruding bones. I then realize who I measure my self to. This sugar-coated image is in reality, a lifestyle full of insecurities and eating disorders. These not so extravagant life styles are something I shouldn’t look up to or mimic in order to be societies “flawless” individual.

A typical morning of a teenage girl such as myself consists of painting a not so immaculate face with expensive make up to cover any imperfections, continuing the strict diet in hopes of losing more weight, and dressing in clothes I don’t necessarily like as a desperate attempt to be more like the gorgeous women publicized each day. This is a daily part of life. Seeing the increasing problem of eating disorders, especially in the celebrity world has opened my eyes to the importance of not falling under the influence of the glittery perception of Hollywood. Every day there are images of celebrities such as Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie who are viewed as role models, even idolized, though they continue to live their unhealthy lives for the whole world to see.

I believe in striving towards happiness with my own self-image and a world without the pressure to fall into the category of “perfect.” Instead of being filled with self-doubt and unsatisfaction, I feel the need to be full of self-confidence and pride in my individuality and appearance, regardless of the media and the way celebrities are portrayed. I should not be defined by expectations or by double standards, but defined by being myself. Celebrities promoting eating disorders just increases the popularity of it all. Seeing skeletal celebrities is a trigger and makes the illness so much more appealing to today’s young people. I have come to realize how much our media has become obsessed with thinness and weight-loss and how it effects me as a teenage girl. Falling under this spell could easily lead to serious self image issues as well as the stress of measuring up to the all too thin roll models of today. This is why I try to live my life free of the constant worry to be something I’m not, and to live a healthy life.