By being immersed in our school’s competitive atmosphere for five days a week, other aspects of our lives are subject to the same pressure we often place on ourselves, including the food we eat. Although there are different pressures for different groups of people, the same stress of what and how much to eat has infiltrated into the school. When asked if there was pressure to look a certain way at the school, Sarah Weinshel ‘18 responded, “I think a little bit, but it’s not as bad as other schools.” It’s true that our school’s atmosphere is very welcoming, but unfortunately, the same body image pressures still exist, even if it is under the surface.
This pressure often stems from the media, portraying women who are too skinny to stand and men who take steroids to gain muscle mass. The media affects us in many different ways, but body image is one of the largest impacts, especially on young people. Still, the media is not the only source of such pressure. “I think it’s more of a societal pressure, as in you see from in society, and often what is ideal in society is different from what is ideal in reality,” Ayana Reiner ‘16 states. Our society values almost starving women and very muscular men. This twisted idea shapes how we view ourselves and strive to look like, even if that perception is not “healthy.” Jack Frazee ‘17 mentions, “I think that students in our community are affected by the beauty standards set by the media. You can’t hardly watch TV or browse the internet without seeing ads or movies that represents successful, happy people as fit and thin. I think that if young men only see successful people as tall and muscular, they will feel like they need to change themselves in order to be happy.” The repetitive images of very muscular men and underweight women affect us in extraordinary, often subconscious ways.
The pressure to look a certain way is incredibly damaging to the self esteem of adolescents, and this view of never looking “perfect” continues to eat away at teens through the rest of their lives. However, there are ways which we can change this influence. Just last week, there were signs in the mirror of the school bathrooms that read “You’re enough,” and “Be happy.” Although simple, it is acts like these that will improve the body image expectations here at Blake, and hopefully, one day, there will be none. Even though there aways in which our school attempts to boost self confidence and promote positive body expectations set by outside influences.