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Teens Need Positive Body Images Essay

1959 words - 8 pages

When walking down a junior high, high school, or college hallway, it’s not an uncommon occurrence to hear a young woman say something bad about either her body or another girl’s body. Negative comments instill a deeper impact than merely hurting a child’s feelings. They lead toward lowered self-esteem, increased dieting or eating disorders. Young girls require illumination at an early age into positive body images, avoiding those repercussions and the extremity of committing suicide such as demonstrated in “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy from 1973.
No matter the passing time or the era the world is in, young women maintain affected by negative body image. This needs to be cut off at an early age before it has a chance to resonate with them. Young girls are brought up to have bodily expectations that are reachable; sometimes expectations arise from other peers. In Piercy’s poem she talks about girls growing up with their dolls and lipsticks. (643) A Barbie seems like a harmless toy that girls have played with for 52 years (Gelder, 116) but conceivably the doll starts the problem. Barbie prevails untypically. Casey Tallent and Dr. Jan Deeds work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Women’s Center in the gender studies segment. This pair organize a workshop that they bring to schools as early as the middle school years. They proportion out Barbie to how she would look in real life. In reality, she measures to be more than seven feet tall with a 40” bust, a 20” waist, and a size 3 children’s shoe. If she were standing, she would topple over from being so top-heavy on such little feet with a heavy top half. Along with showing the students Barbie’s actual size, both boys and girls take second-hand Barbies or Kens and make them more realistic in size, shape, color or hair; even allowing them to add individualities of their choice such as piercings and tattoos. “The only rule is that batting (padding) must be added to save the starving Barbie, so she can digest food and use her brain” (Deeds, 28). These workshops assist young women in developing a love for their own body. If taught to look at themselves and accept their bodies early on, the more confidence they will exude when they begin junior high school.
Once they enter junior high, if not before, puberty begins. It causes many body changes in young teen girls. Sure, every girl goes through puberty but the weight goes up and down, breasts spring up, and the emotions have a tendency to go crazy. Girls get lost within themselves as they try to be someone they are not. If the young teens had been taught positive body image earlier in life, this wouldn’t even be an issue at this point. But by this time, many girls haven’t learned to accept their bodies. So, anything their peers say will affect them not just emotionally, but physically. In Piercy’s poem she states, “Then the magic of puberty, a classmate said:/You have a great big nose and fat legs” (643). After hearing this, devastations...

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