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Sincerely Sydney: break the mold

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In her weekly column, staff reporter Sydney Gish offers her perspective on various issues.

In her weekly column, staff reporter Sydney Gish offers her perspective on various issues.

Students already have a lot on their plate with keeping up in school, managing extracurriculars, hanging out with friends and family, so the last thing needed is more pressure. In addition to trying to balance social and academic lives, many teens also struggle with low self esteem.

With new technology it is easier than ever to gain access to magazines, movies and social media all by the click of a button. But unfortunately this access exposes teens to unrealistic expectations set by the media that can cause additional stress and self image issues.

To some people this may seem like a trivial thing, but in this generation it has been ingrained that how we look affects almost everything about us. Even when I was in middle school I would be envious and constantly compare myself to people in movies and magazines. I thought that because I wasn’t the ideal height or weight that there was something wrong with me and that’s not a healthy mindset for any teenager.

The worst part is that this is a normal feeling for most teenagers, as more than 90 percent of girls aged 15 to 17, want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. Many guys feel the same way since they are expected to exhibit masculinity a majority of the time, for example 38 percent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements in order to gain muscle mass.

We all have insecurities and it seems all the media does is heighten that by giving us a platform to compare ourselves to others. We pick out all our flaws and the society does that as well. It has given us our idealization of male and female bodies, due to the way they are portrayed on television and social media platforms as people who have no defects and look good a majority of the time.

The models we see in magazines today are almost always altered digitally, yet some of us still believe that is what we should look like. They’ve been touched up to remove things like acne or excess weight. However those aren’t imperfections, they’re normal and shouldn’t be cut out because it gives teens the idea that having pimples or not having a perfectly slim body is a bad thing when it’s not.

The way society portrays how we “should” look can be detrimental to young men and women.

Low self esteem and a poor body image can lead to eating and mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

It can be confusing to have heard “beauty is more than skin deep” as a child, when now the media shows us what we “should” look like in order to be deemed attractive in the eyes of others. Teens should be focused on things like their character, sense of compassion, and moral integrity while appreciating the value they have as a person, without worrying about trying to fit into this mold society gives them.

Sincerely,

Sydney

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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas
Sincerely Sydney: break the mold