Fifteen-year-old Becky gazes at her laptop screen with admiration as models like Cara Delevingne and Miranda Kerr strutted down the runway confidently in the Victoria Secret Angel fashion show. Her life-long dream was to become just like the “Angels,” to become confident and to be loved and adored by everyone.
Back to reality–her dream isn’t going so great. She isn’t “teeny-tiny” like Cara Delevigne, or beautifully tanned like Miranda Kerr. Most importantly, she didn’t have the “thigh gap,” the space between the inner thighs when standing with feet together, that was clearly required for all Victoria Secret Angels.
So she stopped eating and instead replaced it by running intensively 3 times every day. After a month, to her delight, her weight came down, but the thigh gap was still nowhere to be found. And although she looked significantly more “in shape” than before, her peers at school still attacked her for being “fat.” It’s as if all of the month’s hard work hardly paid off – it disappeared into thin air. This made her want that thigh gap even more. If she worked harder to achieve the thigh gap, her classmates would finally approve of her and she will finally gain popularity. That gap would improve her social life and it would help her complete her dream. She’d do anything for it; she’d die for it.
And she nearly did.
You’re not worth it – that’s what society is telling you. Whether you’re slim or curvy, tall or short, you’re never perfect; society will never cease to find a way to criticize you.
Which is why teenagers today, female and male alike, are forced by society to starve themselves, only to find that society doesn’t care how they’ve changed their body and will still disapprove of them.
Since 2006 there has been an uprising in the number of Americans diagnosed with eating disorders, and currently an estimated 8 million Americans have an eating disorder.
Believe it or not, the Internet plays a huge role in inducing that number. Through the Internet our young teenagers see the world’s version of “perfect” – in this context, the space otherwise known as the “thigh gap.”
On Twitter, the popular hashtags “#thighgap”, “thinspo”, and “#thinspiration” are filled with young girls desperate to be thin. What has our society become?
In April, model Alexa Chung was forced to remove an Instagram post with her mother because she was accused of being “thinspiration” for her “vulnerable fans.” However, Chung defended that she wasn’t trying to be “thinspo” for her fans at all, and stood up for the fact that “people come in different shapes and sizes.” She was threatened to the point where people “wanted to stab [her]”, called her anorexic when she claimed that she wasn’t.
No one is perfect to society. If you’re slightly curvy, they’ll call you fat. When you’re naturally slimmer, they’ll call you anorexic. What we have to realize is that our bodies do not, in any way, define us.
It’s hard to completely accept this truth, because through media we are constantly seeing perfect, beautiful humans, and we naturally envy what they have. What media is emitting can seem flawless, but there is so much hid behind the curtains. We shouldn’t let what society is projecting overcome our ability to reason, or brainwash us into perfection thirsty individuals.
The Internet shouldn’t decide for you whether or not you should eat today. Your well being should.