The Pressures to be “Pretty”

From stick-thin plastic dolls to airbrushed faces, the average American girl is exposed to unrealistic imagery every day. Dr. Mary Johnson of Loras College Psychology Department states that:

“The standards of feminine beauty are not only extremely rigid but basically pretty unattainable.”

Underlying problems of one’s perception of beauty extend far beneath the surface.  It is something that becomes engraved in the minds of young girls and follows them into adulthood. Johnson believes that

“Children’s minds are like sponges- it gets ingested in ways that is very hard to question. Those images very narrowly defined images of women’s beauty keeps getting reinforced throughout all of society throughout all of women’s lives.”

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.

College students like Julie Van Dyn Hoven of Loras College explains that since she has been in college she has seen a lot of eating disorders popping up.

Experts like Johnson say that those disorders can be linked in some ways to media pushing the idea of becoming what women today is believed to be “Barbie doll beautiful.”

But beyond the stereotypical imagery that the media exposes women too, Johnson believes there are still reasons to be optimistic explaining how “women now constitute over 50% of the people in this country who are getting college educations and women are thriving in ways other than just by definition of physical beauty.”

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