Media damaging how young people think

What do you think is the perfect body? 

Since I was a young child, I have been told what my body is supposed to look like: super skinny with unrealistic curves. Growing up, I never saw plus size or curve models that depict a realistic body. This unreasonable goal to attain the “perfect body” is unrealistic and can create dangerous habits for both girls and boys. The media should represent people of all body types and sizes to set reasonable goals for youth. 

While some do fit the stereotypical body ideal, most do not. Every person’s body shape is different from curvy to muscular to skinny. Social media, commercial models and actors, movie stars and childrens shows continue to represent the minority body type of skinny with unrealistic curves, or for men, extremely muscular and tall. Media is constantly causing young children and teens to feel bad about their natural, healthy body. 

One example for girls is dolls. From Bratz to Barbies, these dolls have extremely tiny waists, long thin legs and over exaggerated curves. These dolls have an oversexualized unattainable body shape that girls are consistently seeing with most children’s toys. It is ridiculous to not represent other body types and to constantly portray the same image in every doll. Body image stereotypes are not just directed to girls. 

Mainstream movies and social media depicts men with an extremely muscular body; from action movies to comedies movies, in order for a male role to be a non comical hot protagonist, they have to have huge biceps and washboard abs. Not only this, but men who do not have this ideal body type are made the butt of all weight related jokes and never “get the girl”. These images are quixotic; most actors have behind the scenes personal trainers and dieticians that train them to attain the wily sought after body shape. 

These impractical goals can cause innumerable mental health and eating disorders for both girls and boys alike. According to, improbable body stereotypes can lead to mental and eating disorders such as: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Approximately 2% of all youth in America struggle from an eating disorder as reported by This accounts for nearly one million teens across the nation. 

Similar to other mental health disorders, those with eating disorders struggle with it for the rest of their life. Not only this, but states: “Most medical experts agree that a third of people with the disorder will remain chronically ill, a third will die of their disorder, and a third will recover.” While one third is better than none, many medical practitioners disagree on what qualifies as recovery. Most recognize that most who “recover” never truly heal and struggle with it constantly. 

While unrealistic media images are not the only cause of eating disorders, they contribute a significant amount. Media needs to represent all body types and stop shaming others. The youth of today need to be taught that all bodies are beautiful no matter what size.