"There is a Cover Girl commercial, featuring Ellen DeGeneres, where she says "Outer beauty is probably more important than inner beauty". It is thought that there is something seriously wrong with that statement. DeGeneres probably wasn't even given her lines until right before shooting the commercial.
It seems that every which way you turn there is something new to make a "better you". TV commercials, internet advertisements and billboards which contain the latest makeup or weight loss programs are everywhere. In moderation these things are fine, but some people become obsessed with the way that they look. Which can lead to an unhealthy way of thinking.
This obsession with physical appearance dates back to the ancient days. In the 16th century women would crush up alabaster and lead paint and apply it to their face. I would make them appear more delicate and pale. Both alabaster and lead paint are highly toxic. In the Victorian Era, women wore tight corsets to get an hour glass figure. The corsets would cause the loss of blood flow and therefore women would faint.
Now, there are well over five hundred makeup companies in the world. There are about one hundred weight loss programs, diets or pills. And maybe 1 out of 5 are safe. We also have plastic surgery, liposuction, tummy tucks, etc. The list goes on and on. These companies and doctors are making a fortune off of society's insecurities. Granted if someones health is at risk due to being over weight, then surgery may be the best option for them.
Children as young as nine or ten are beginning to be concerned with their own physical appearance. That's not okay! A child should enjoy being a kid. There are pageants for young children. These pageants compete in talent and cuteness. Children can be as young as three years old to be in one. Children can even model. How is this helping your son/daughter grow up to be an individual? And if they don't win the pageant, get to be a model, or get a part in a commercial, they begin to feel that they are not good enough at such a young age.
Teenagers are suffering the worst. In middle and high schools, the major competition is 'who looks better' or 'who dresses better'. It should be 'who gets better grades. Athletes compete by their strength, which can lead to steroid usage.
Thought of feeling unworthy, not good enough or not pretty/handsome enough can lead to clinical depression.
If we get rid of all the hype about being the prettiest, thinnest or strongest then kids won't think that way. Then maybe our kids can be kids. And there might not be so many teens with eating disorders or drug addictions." Lisa Wallace.
It is not surprising that eating disorders are on the increase because of the value society places on being thin. In North America, women are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, they must be thin. Every time you walk into a store you are surrounded by the images of emaciated models that appear on the front cover of all fashion magazines. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves this very minute trying to attain what the fashion industry considers to be the "ideal" figure. The average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. Maintaining a weight that is 15% below your expected body weight fits the criteria for anorexia, so most models, according to medical standards, fit into the category of being anorexic. Teenagers need to realize that society's ideal body image is not achievable. The photos we see in magazines are not real either. Many people don't realize that those photos have gone through many touch ups and have been air-brushed to make the models look perfect. Teenagers striving to attain society's unattainable ideal image will just end up increasing their feelings of inadequacy.