Summer Bod: An Analysis of Body Image and its Impact on Young Women

Marilyn Monroe once said, “To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.” In the cruel environment we live in today, society’s wrath of a constant strive for perfection gets intentionally strung and tightened on the necks of so many young women. The media take a condescending pull at the puppet strings that control our lives, teaching people to not love and appreciate themselves but to instead strive for an image that a nonexistent monster (named society) created. Because of this horrible creature, self-esteem is threatened through advertisement, lack of representation in entertainment, and social media.

The dominance of the advertising industry uses a force-feeding strategy to commercialize a product by first demonstrating the idea that there truly is a problem to begin with. This mainly exists cosmetically with a constant strive to be “beautiful.” This endorsement approach not only sets unrealistic expectations, due to constant photo editing, but can even cause eating disorders for many young women. During a February 2018 photoshoot with a Riverdale star, Lili Reinhart, pictures of Reinhart were taken and photoshopped for Cosmopolitan Philippines’ monthly issue. Not only did this action bring outrage to the star herself, it also brought many unrealistic expectations for young girls across the country. With expectations being labeled as what makes you cosmetically “beautiful,” people often look to products the advertisers are trying to sell on the ads, even if there was never a true problem to begin with.

A lack of diversity and rendition in the categories of race, economic standing, and sexuality also leads to an overall decline in self-esteem. According to the Thrive Global website, “[A] lack of representation is isolating — it causes one to perceive themself as ‘different’ and unusual. Minorities and marginalized groups need to know they are included and celebrated as a regular part of the world.” (Thrive Global). In addition to this existing in the entertainment industry, social quarantine exists in the cosmetic industry. When selling foundations, many makeup companies across the world lack specific or even any darker toned products. When Rihanna’s Fenty beauty foundations were released, the darker shades, which were in a greater and more specific scale, sold out everywhere on the first day. This amazing accomplishment proved how more cosmetic diversity was needed but also how wrong beauty companies who believed that darker tones wouldn’t sell were.

Lastly, social media and its constant grind for attention has taken a toll on self-esteem in its own way. With each notification scientifically designed to release a chemical called dopamine, the system of followers, likes, and comments strikes a yearning to receive attention through “likes.” So, many people today constantly compare themselves to others with more likes or followers, which often leaves them with a feeling of worthlessness and a decline in self-appreciation. According to The Huffington Post, “60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way” (HuffPost). In addition to this impact, social media also leaves people at a strong reliance on approval from others, even if it is through a screen.

Society’s wrath on so many young women creates a hankering to be superficially beautiful. Through objectifying ads, not enough delineation, and Instagram’s (and other networking sites’) hierarchical platform based on how many taps your photo received, my generation’s obsession with being prepossessing and personable has come to a high point in time. If we continue on this route, it will soon become impossible to see the true beauty in ourselves and in others.


Works Cited  en-and-eating-disorders


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