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Pressure on Women to Have Perfect Body

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Body image has always been a contentious issue particular where it has related to being “perfect” or “ideal”. This leads many to the question of: what is the perfect body image? Is it to be tall, skinny, curvy, thin or pretty? All these descriptions are always on our minds so we can fit into the “perfect” image of society. Unfortunately, society and individuals are not content with appearances and are constantly modifying, tweaking or amending themselves to fit in with the “perfect” image that society has moulded. The public are influenced by either social media, celebrities, models, adverts or movies which make them crave the idea of the flawless image and they begin to imagine and idolise what they want to become.

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Social media creates a persona that society should be “perfect”. We are influenced by not just our peers, but also by social media influencers to have the ideal body. The well-being of youngsters is hindered by having low self-esteem about their bodies. In today’s generation, individuals log onto social media and compare themselves with one another. Many young women have an obsession with the number of “likes” they get and they are frightened that they aren’t beautiful enough. Nowadays if you look different from social media, you are considered a “catfish” as people would say. However the desire to “cat fish” is influenced by fear of judgement or not being “desirable” enough which has contributed to this.

An investigation was carried out by Jennifer Mills for females between the ages 18-27. This also included a questionnaire which asked about their thoughts and feelings about their appearance. Mills results stated: “They felt worse about their own appearance after looking at social media pages of someone that they perceived to be more attractive than them. Even if they felt bad about themselves before they came into the study, on average, they still felt worse after completing the task.”(1)The “perfect” body isn’t always perfect as people edit their photos online to satisfy themselves however this can have an impact on others. This doesn’t just affect the public but it also has an effect on celebrity stars as many have had to quit social media at least once in their lives such as Taylor Swift as she felt there is too much pressure on looking “perfect.”(2)

Body image can have an impact on people’s mental health as it gives individuals the belief they are not good enough. Social media is a powerful tool, this means is if you are very active online and constantly worry about having to regularly post pictures, this can lead to anxiety and has led to people mentally harming themselves. Social media users are misled by influencers into having the ideal body which leaves them dissatisfied with their own bodies which can lead to serious mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders. Eating disorders slowly develop and individuals become anorexic as they are not eating enough. Sometimes people assume anorexia is just about slimming and dieting, but it is much more than this. Young people have a negative outlook on themselves as they compare themselves to others. They have a destructive mindset and are willing to do anything to have the perfect body. It can be very dangerous as young people are starving themselves, over exercising and ruining their diets which is destroying the insides of their otherwise healthy bodies. It can get out of control as people are beginning to kill themselves due to hating themselves. There is a lot of prejudice with size e.g. if you are thin, toned and muscular then you are associated with being successful and beautiful however if you are overweight then you are framed with the image of “ugly”. This lethal dilemma is affecting many people’s mental health as most of the public all have this type of mind frame.

Public figure Billie Eilish has a mental health issue called Body Dysmorphic Disorder which is a delusional effect on your flaws and in which your looks are severely exaggerated negatively in your eyes. Billie also suffers from depression and has a lack of body confidence. This all started when she was only 12 years old. Eilish said “This was probably the most insecure I was”. She also admits “I couldn’t look in the mirror at all.”(3) This shows how body image can affect globally successful stars too. Those with BDD and shape/weight preoccupations had significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, and suicide than other patients with no body image concerns. This highlights big stars are often feeling down about their appearance.

The unaccomplished dream of the desirable “perfect” body is beginning to come true as society is turning to surgery to fulfil their needs. Their itching urge to be the ideal as people believe they will be happier and content with their bodies if they go through with procedures to have the ideal body. Although it usually isn’t to appease themselves but it is for “peer acceptance” from others and being overall the best version of themselves as they have an addiction to please today’s society.

Kim Kardashian who is a reality television star is a perfect example who is a well-known influencer for youngsters. Kim has had many surgeries from lip fillers to botox to butt implants which is what she is most famous for. This gives her followers a bad example as they may think that to be beautiful you need to change your flaws. There is a rising demand for injectable facial fillers and botox amongst younger patients as they are being influenced by famous people.

Plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer said, “Ten years ago, women in their late teens and early twenties rarely sought plastic surgery, but now young people are doing it because they are seeing themselves on social media from different angles next to models like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian with curvaceous bodies.”(4) Evidently this shows the insecurities people have embedded about themselves, however they shouldn’t have to follow the crowd in order to make themselves feel beautiful. Also in dentists surgeries many people tend to see posters of models with amazing teeth this may encourage them to have changes made to their teeth. In our society we all compare ourselves to who we think are “prettier” or “better looking” than us to fit in. This can be highly destructive to self-esteem and body image, often encouraging those already insecure to question their self-worth.

However, there can also positive aspects of having the perfect image. One being it allows citizens to stay fit, to be healthy and to look after their bodies. Due to this obesity has declined and we are becoming a healthier nation. Obesity increases our immunity to diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition a person may also experience an improved lifestyle if they slim down such as a more active social life, greater confidence, better sleep and improved energy. However should weight loss be celebrated if it isn’t achieved properly? The arguments given previously have explored the negatives of society being obsessed with having the perfect body this continues into the last paragraph of this essay about obesity. Obesity is on the rise and the perfect body in lightens us with the idea of losing weight. Yet people are not doing it responsibly; this is where eating disorders and mental health is brought back into place.

In conclusion, the perfect body image is ruining the nation. Social media is a platform which is growing rapidly, however it can be a place where it makes people feel unhappy about themselves. It is common for the average person to be insecure to some degree; some may speak about them other may not. In the world today, everyone is constantly comparing themselves to those they wish they looked like. As human beings it is important to be able to speak about any issues being experienced. It is common to see articles about famous people and about their body image and how it’s changed which is irrelevant to their work yet it the always the number one discussion. No matter what size a person is they are beautiful the way they are and it doesn’t need to be changed. 

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