Mirror mirror on the wall



Fixation on weight loss often negatively affects confidence and self-image of women.

Jill Morton, Staff writer

Every little girl grows up watching Disney movies and seeing the beautiful princesses in their gorgeous dresses. And then every girl starts dressing up and wanting to be beautiful just like their favorite princess. These are just some of the early messages that young girls see about how important physical appearance seems to be in our lives.

Body image issues affect almost everyone, especially women in high school and college. Some of my really skinny friends think they’re fat and they watch their weight religiously. This was a lot worse for one friend in particular when she was in high school. But as she’s grown up, she realized that she’s actually quite fit and in good shape. She doesn’t worry as much anymore.

“If anyone ever told me I wasn’t pretty enough for something, I’d smack them across the face. “”

— Jill Morton, Opinion Writer

But that’s not the case for everyone. Once a person is fixated on their weight or any part of their body image, they usually just get more and more obsessed with it. They don’t necessarily snap out of it once they grow up, like my friend did.

Sometimes, people don’t realize they can’t change their actual body type. 70 percent of women of average weight want to be thinner, according to the Park Nicollet Melrose Center. Some women happen to be curvier than other women who are just straight up and down. Neither of these is better or worse.

But it’s incredibly unfortunate because I know girls who have the whole “hourglass” thing going on who wish they were more straight up and down. But then those skinny girls wish they had bigger hips. So it seems to be a lose-lose situation. Women never seem to be happy with what they have.

More than 90 percent of girls ages 15 to 17-years-old want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest according to statisticbrain.com. This is way too high. It truly makes me sad to think about.

How many of my own friends think about their weight or their looks on a daily basis? That passing comment of ‘ugh, I’m fat’ but played off with a laugh. How much does she truly worry that she is overweight even though she eats very healthy?

I could barely believe this next stat when I found it. 40 percent of women stated they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future according to the same site mentioned earlier. These shouldn’t be the things girls are stressing about.

I blame the media for these issues. Studies show that the more reality television a young girl watches, the more likely she is to find appearance important according to dosomething.org. I was lucky that my parents didn’t really let me watch reality TV as a child. I was also lucky that social media wasn’t a huge thing until I was in high school, so I wasn’t as impressionable as I would’ve been if I were younger.

But I was still told from a young age what “beauty” is. It’s a tall, blonde girl with perfect skin. If you can’t match that, you’re not pretty enough for this society. It even starts with kids’ toys, like the beloved Barbie. Girls can’t possibly look like a Barbie. It wouldn’t even look good because they’re so unhealthily skinny.

All in all, I think that there’s way too much of an emphasis placed on looks. How you look doesn’t really matter at all compared to how smart you are, how much effort you put into something or what your attitude is like. Individuals can control these aspects of their lives, but they can’t control what they look like, so it seems rather unfair to judge someone for what they cannot control.

If anyone ever told me I wasn’t pretty enough for something, I’d smack them across the face. But if someone told me I was too negative, I’d try and fix my attitude because I can control that, unlike my looks. Girls shouldn’t be taught to analyze and dissect every little thing that isn’t “perfect,” they should learn to love their bodies how they were made.

Jill Morton is an opinion writer for Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]