By Alicia Leno, 11th Grade Student at New Milford High School
Growing up as women in today’s society is definitely an exhausting thing. From sexual harassment to rape and less pay at work, women are persistently put under a fine microscope for almost everything that they do. One of the biggest issues that women face today, however, is body image. Men and even other women comment on the appearance of females, and these particular people possess the ability to cause women to become depressed, try to diet, and it even changes a girl’s view of her own self. Being a young woman myself, I find myself able to face an impact from this issue.
Being told you are ‘too fat’ or ‘too thin’ can cause a variety of issues. One of the main ones, however, is dieting. When a young woman who doesn’t know better is told they don’t have an ‘ideal’ body, the first instinct is to try and do whatever is possible to change that. There are websites devoted to eating disorders, such as anorexia, encouraging people to engage in health-harming behaviors in order to be thin” (Vargas). Studies show that if a person finds one of these websites, they are more likely to have a desire for being thinner which leads to a negative body image. Growing up as a girl in this modem world, I find flaws about myself almost every single day. I shouldn’t be taught growing up that I’m ‘too fat,’ or ‘too skinny.’ There isn’t a definite body figure, and I think that every girl needs to stick together and realize that.
However, there have been acts to try and stop this outrage. Certain companies such as Dove, have campaigns to try and stop airbrushing on women’s bodies. It has actually become one of the country’s most talked about success stories to this day. It came from the fact that Dove was being overshadowed by other competing companies. The head of Dove then researched some of women’s top interests and priorities. Through their research they found out that only two percent of women consider themselves to be beautiful. Hence, the start of the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. The only big issue regarding this campaign was that the owner took part in a company that had dealt with skin-whitening cream. Why was a company promoting natural beauty if they were taking part in another company that doesn’t do the same? Could their products secretly hold ingredients that aren’t so good for them? Even though some of these questions were going through the minds of women around the world, the campaign did actually spread happiness to some.
For myself, growing up as a young woman in this modem society can definitely be a struggle sometimes. As a young girl, I wasn’t the skinniest, and I didn’t see myself as beautiful either. Other kids would make fun of my weight among other things. I find myself able to have an impact from this issue solely because I know what the majority of women in today’s society go through on the daily and it’s not easy at all. I hope that by the next generation, the majority of women’s issues will be resolved.
This blog post was an entry into Young Women Rising’s annual essay contest in which 11th grade students were asked, “What is one of the most important issues facing young women today and how do you see yourself having an impact on that issue?”