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Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have Perfect Bodies?

Girls today are faced with pressure and expectations from society. They are constantly worrying about numerous posts and images of overwhelming thin, beautiful females. With the rise of social media, the pressure to dress up, put on heavy contoured make-up, strike a pose and upload flawless, filtered photos to attract several likes is a potential source of insecurity. Our generation is facing unattainable appearance pressure to be perfect. With the pressure of their parents, in particular, mothers, who are known to pressure their daughters into losing weight, social media portraying what beautiful is through “retouched and unrealistic models,” and their peer’s acceptance and approval forcing these young girls to go to the extreme just for the purpose of losing weight.” It is now upon girls to look a certain way in order to feel accepted and attractive to millions.

Parents can have a strong influence in the formation and maintenance of their teens. According to Ricciardelli & McCabe state in their article “Who Thinks I Need a Perfect Body” that, “mothers have consistently been found to act as social reinforces and role models for attitudes toward body image among adolescent girls.” Thus, mothers are often critical of their daughter’s weight or of their own, which leads to a negative impact on their daughter’s body image. Even if they are careful in telling their adolescences positive things, mothers attitudes toward themselves trickle down to their children. These comments can result in the belief that they are not worthy unless their weight falls within a certain range. In contrast, the role of fathers in relation to their daughter’s body dissatisfaction do not appear to have a major influence. McCabe informs us that, “Studies show fathers tend to give positive messages.” This is because some fathers are very influential and encourage a positive body image in their daughters, which sticks with them for much of their life.

Social media has had a huge influence when it comes to body image among adolescent girls. Were living in a world that has allowed the media to portray the ideal body. Many girls are aspired with many celebrities posting altered and airbrushed images of themselves giving the young generation a false image of what their typical body looks like. Samantha Levine, deputy press secretary, says “she had been moved by stories of little girls wearing body-shaping undergarments and getting plastic surgery to improve their appearance.” Furthermore, the pressure to have a perfect body has hit these young girls the hardest for wanting to improve their appearance by “opting to go under the knife.” Plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer, also known as Dr. Miami, agrees that social media has been an “enormous influence on the increase of cosmetic surgery, among young people.” He believes “they are doing it because they are seeing themselves on social media from different angles next to models like Kylie Jenner and Kim K.” Many celebrities are bombarding teens social media feeds with countless selfies, in particular, Kim K who is known to flaunt her voluptuous figure to the world. These girls are following her every day move by undergoing surgery to obtain this particular body trending only to keep up, and make themselves look like everyone else.

Peer pressure and body image has had an effect on how girls perceive themselves. For many young girls, peer competition has created a negative self image that has affected so many. The desire to look beautiful increases dramatically when they see well liked girls being praised by their fellow peers. According to clinical psychologist Stephanie Newman, PhD, author of Mad Men on the Couch, “adolescents use friends and fashion to bolster their self-esteem….sometimes teens can be ostracized for not wearing what everyone else is wearing or for trying too hard to copy a peer they admire.” Many girls are dressing alike and depriving themselves to reduce the size of their body only to reach the standards to belong to a peer group.

Adolescence is a time of “emotional and psychological transformations” With all of the focus on the body’s appearance, girls need to be reminded to give equal value to other important aspects of themselves, such as personality, inner strengths, mental aptitudes, and artistic and musical talents, which, along with body image, contribute to overall self-image.

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