When reading most magazines, watching music video, watching commercials on television, or looking at billboards, you can't help but notice that girls and women are used to sell just about anything. Expectations for appearance are laughably unrealistic, and many girls quickly develop the mindset that they are not thin enough, pretty enough, sexy enough or their teeth are not straight and white enough. It is safe to say that the average adult knows these impeccable humans (often celebrities and models) are not as they seem. Many of the celebrities and models often have a support system of personal chefs, private fitness trainers, stylists, to help keep them "beautiful". They are "dolled up" for photo shoots, have the right lighting and are photographed from the right angles in addition to having their photos “touched up/airbrushed”, to reveal a flawless appearance. The question is do most girls and women know and understand this or are they ignoring the fact that it exists due to the extreme pressure of being perfect?
Does appearance matter to girls? Absolutely. Without a doubt, our culture and media are obsessed with women's looks. You can find magazine covers and website links on a regular basis with titles like "How Celebs Are Slimming Down! The Diet Secrets Of Hollywood’s Hottest Stars" or "Jada Pinkett-Smith, 42, Rocks Hot Bikini Body on Hawaiian Vacation". You can also see National Enquirer or Star tabloid papers with titles like "Stars Lose Fight with Cellulite". Celebrities display unrealistic bodies that most girls cannot duplicate without doing harm to themselves. These not so subtle messages being sent to girls all over America. It causes them to compare themselves to these "perfect" people and they begin to feel as if they can never quite measure up to the standard they see on a regular basis. This can result in low self-esteem and lack of confidence, and poor health. In addition, it can directly lead to some girls becoming obsessed with their looks and desperately try to change them via smoking cigarettes, diet pills, prescription medications that suppress the appetite, laxatives or just not eating. Talking to girls about their bodies is not an easy task to embark upon but a necessary one in order to stave off the media images/messages in our society regarding what defines beauty. Let's not forget about boys. Parents need to pay attention to them as well, so they understand that the images projected are not realistic and they should not hold girls to that standard. It doesn't happen as often with boys as with girls, but they can suffer from eating disorders as well. There is a recently published book titled Shattered Image by Brian Cuban (brother of the NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban) in which he talks about his struggles with eating disorders.
Tips For Parents/Guardians/Teachers/Coaches