Written by Sumaya Abdel-Motagaly
15 Years Old
Women as well as young girls are constantly being told how they should dress, walk, talk, and act. The society we live in thrives from the culture of beauty and it never fails to remind us that our looks are constantly up for assessment by others. If a woman isn’t seen as “beautiful” then she ultimately has no purpose in life.
This is what causes girls to surround themselves in a pool of insecurity and hatred towards themselves. In a longitudinal study of adolescent girls and boys done by the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, they found that around 90 percent of young women have no problem with identifying parts of their body they dislike and wish they could change.
“We don’t see unvarnished reality when we look in the mirror. Instead, what we see is shaped by years of cultural input, comments from friends and family members, and inner worries,” mentioned professor of psychology at Northwestern University, Renee Engelen in her award-winning novel, Beauty Sick.
The standards of beauty are far fetched from reality, yet women are expected to achieve them. Most models and social media icons are known for airbrushing, editing, and photoshopping their photos (not even considering the fact that their bodies are purely made of plastic). Oftentimes it can be difficult not to compare yourself with these people and delve into negative thoughts.
Epidemiological studies have proven that more women suffer from anorexia and bulimia than men. According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, eight million Americans have an eating disorder, seven million of them being women.
“We do know that objectification of women and premature or early sexualization of women is a risk factor for psychiatric illness in girls and women, so I think that’s going on in eating disorders,” said Dr. Douglas Bunnell, a clinical psychologist at Monte Nido Eating Disorder Treatment Centers.
Women are known to bring up the subject of and ponder about their appearances more than the opposite gender does.
“There’s a reason no one in this culture would be surprised to overhear a woman saying, ‘I feel so fat and ugly today.’ We accept this type of unhappiness as part of being a woman,” stated Dr.Engelen. This is nowhere near accurate. Being a woman doesn't mean that you have to go through periods of constant self-hatred in your life. People are not born this way. Young girls are spoon-fed the idea through T.V programs, social media, and other girls that the most important thing for them to be is beautiful which leads to this cycle of constant worry.
Nowadays we all need to understand that it’s not a women’s role to be pretty. Women are not here on this Earth to be viewed as Barbie Dolls. It is never in any way, shape, or form anyone's job to comment on one’s physical assets, as it always leads to insecurities. No one should be judged by their looks, but rather based on their actions.
“It’s time to focus on looking outward rather than being looked at,” said Dr. Engelen. “There's a lot to see out there in the world. There's a lot of work to be done.”