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    The Pressures of Having a “Perfect” Body in High School

    by Mikaela Carden, Senior Staff Reporter for Yearbook (Digital Media)

    The pressure for high school students to maintain a fit or “perfect” body is overwhelming and causes a lot of stress on students. With the help of social media and their peers, some high school students feel the need to have a fit body during high school. Social media is a huge factor when it comes to body image. Celebrities posting photo-shopped pictures of themselves online gives a false image of what the typical body looks like. With a certain body type trending online some teenagers feel the need to keep up with these trends and make themselves look like everyone else. Peers at school also effect teenagers to be pressured into having a nice body. They aren’t pressured as in being forced to have a nice body, but pressured as in feeling like they need to look like the other people around them. This way of thinking causes high school students to sometimes focus on their health in unhealthy ways, such as excessive exercising, eating disorders, and taking steroids.

    For a few years now society’s expectation for women is to be “thicc”. Social media has had a huge impact on this body type. Everyone raves over thick girls and how they love their tiny waist and big thighs. Nonetheless, this body type has shined some light on girls who aren’t as skinny as everyone else and they’re praised for their curves. However, some girls who are thick feel like they need to keep this image of themselves and can’t change it. Katie Burns, a female student at Newton Falls High School, says, “I honestly do feel like I’m pressured to uphold a certain body type. People always comment on my butt or how I’m ‘slim thick’ and I feel like if I gain or lose any weight that people are going to comment about it. I used to be the fat girl and no one would let me forget it so it makes me extremely conscious about my body type.” This is an example of how girls feel pressured to change their bodies or feel the need to maintain the same shape forever.

    It’s extremely common for girls who are overweight to want to change the way their body looks. Feeling like you have to lose weight can lead to excessive exercising and eating disorders. Exercising non-stop and without rest days is common among teenagers for the reason of them thinking that if they stop exercising they’ll gain weight. Eating disorders also effect many young teenagers, especially girls. “35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives” (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org).  This doesn’t only count for overweight girls either. Weight can effect skinny girls as well. Especially because of the thick body image everyone is going for, skinny girls feel as if they should gain weight to look that way, though, many girls have a very hard time gaining weight.

    Though it is more common for people to talk about weight among girls, feeling pressured to have a “perfect” body applies for boys too. The body image boys are expected to have is a tall and masculine figure. Just like people praising girls for being thick, people praise boys for having muscles. But what about the boys who don’t have muscles? Boys may not feel as compelled to have a nice looking body as much as girls do, but there is still a pressure for boys as well. Because boys are expected to be muscular, steroids often come in to play. “According to a survey involving middle and high school male athletes, among 12th graders almost half admitted to using creatine.  The most common reasons for taking creatine were enhanced performance and improved appearance” (www.philly.com). Gavin Phares, a male student at Newton Falls High School, says “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure relating to how you maintain yourself. I think that you don’t need to be a certain way to be looked at by everyone else as a man, but I do feel that people treat all guys differently based on how they maintain themselves and how they look.” Overall, there is stress put on high school students to have a “perfect” body based on social media and their peers. However, people need to realize that every body type is different and just because they don’t have the same body as someone in a magazine doesn’t mean they don’t still look amazing.

     

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