We were all young girls once, and at some point in our younger years we have had to deal with unended and critical attacks on our bodies. Whether it be about our weight, our hair colour, our complexion. This, as some would argue, is just a process of growing up that we must all endure… unfortunately. However, we all learn to adapt to this in our own way and ‘get over it’.
Yesterday I was reading ‘The Times’ (I needed a break from the broadsheet), and I came across a truly shocking article. An app had been designed that allows people to perform plastic surgery and enable weight loss on a digital doll. This was available through Apple’s ‘strictly regulated’ App store, pah. This game allows the user to slice open a girl’s face and stomach to make her “slim and beautiful”, but what I found most shocking is that the app is described as suitable for children aged 9 and over. Wow. Should we really be subjecting our children to such brutality, especially at ages as young as this. Gosh, when I was 9 years old all I wanted to do was climb trees and eat mud. Yes, undoubtedly I was faced with my own personal body image issues, but this didn’t come to me until well into my teens. Now girls as young as 9 are subjected to the ‘utopian’ image of what a young woman should look like.
Young girls have the whole world out there teaching them that whatever they do and choose to do with their bodies they will receive negative feedback from somewhere. If a young girl ends up being larger than her peers, or having slightly smaller breasts than her best friend, then she will suffer. If a child is extremely intelligent, or suffers from learning difficulties, then they too will suffer. Basically, whatever a young woman will be, whether it be her lifestyle choice, her sexual preference or her physical body, she will be scrutinized. This in turn will force her to modify and edit herself in order to strive for societal approval.
Personally I have had to deal with fluctuating weight since I hit pubity, fortunately I have never been bullied for it, unlike some. I’m in no way saying I was a ‘big’ teenager, but I was by no means ‘slim’ like the girls I used to see in the magazine. Being at a boarding school where your peers have slim and sporty physiques I did develop an insecurity in regards to how I looked. However, I have come to a stage now where I can accept myself, I am this way for a reason, and no amount of sneering from the public will cause me to change. I am the only person worth changing myself for and I’m pretty happy with myself right now. If only I knew back then what I knew now, I would have been a much happier teenager.
My sister and mother on a regular basis, like girls do, spend time pointing out various imperfections with their body that they aren’t happy with. I would never have noticed if they hadn’t of shown me. I just thought, ‘Oh they are being neurotic’, and I am sure many people have had the same thought about someone else. However, it is not their fault. Once these ideas are planted they grow and develop in our minds until it takes hold. However, we can change. I am not an idiot, I know this will take time and confidence will have to develop, however, it can be done.
We should strive to make young girls feel good about themselves, not teach them to dissect every component of their body and scrutinize it until they develop body issues. What message is an app such as this saying to our younger generation? I mean come on, are we that obsessed with body image and self portrayal that we have to now put our insecurities onto children? Women are just obsessed with weight because other women are obsessed with weight. It is a viscous cycle, but one that can be stopped.