Teen girls and body image: The fault lies within [Letter]

July 15, 2014

As a high school student, I am in full agreement with Alexandra Della Santina in that an astonishing number of girls spend nearly all of their time focused entirely on their appearance ("Don't hate me because I like myself," July 8). Being able to state, "I think I'm pretty," should absolutely not inspire a pang of guilt.

However, possessing the self-assurance to declare such "taboo" words will not launch you into a mindset of confidence when you spend your entire days in hallways full of girls that all share the deep desire to be a pant size 00. In order to fix that problem, we need to focus on what caused this generation of girls to focus so steadily on nothing but their appearance.

Obviously the media does hold some blame, but I think that they are not the root of this problem; we are. There are no actresses standing up telling us that our self worth is measured by the distance between our thighs and no supermodels once declared that the key to success is possessing the smallest waist. Sure, their theoretical perfection is what inspired us to be more attractive, but we are the ones telling ourselves to be beautiful, not them.

A change needs to be made, but it won't happen just by adults teaching us to say that we're beautiful, it will happen once teenage girls as a whole recognize that beauty should be practically irrelevant in the grand scheme of life. Progress will be made as high school students, myself included, acknowledge how vital it is to not let the epidemic of insecurity weave its way into our brains.

So yes, saying "I think I'm pretty" is not wrong, but its the mindset of a population that needs to change. Because just as much as we are built around this issue, this issue is built around us. It cannot and would not survive without the extremely large number of followers that struggle to escape its fatal cycle.

Jessie Montague, Sparks

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