Perfection Takes its Toll

Are Teens Too Hard on Themselves?

You’re walking through the quad when you suddenly see the perfect color—not the perfect color for your purse or nail polish, but the perfect color for your tan. You see a person who can pull off that strapless dress because they have the perfect shade of skin.

Today’s opinion has shifted slightly on what is physically attractive: lean and tan. Teens strive to match this image, which in turn holds some serious influence over their everyday mentality and behavior.

Unfortunately, society has always been caught up with body image. Just like fashion styles, there are different “in” body types. Two years ago, the “in” body type was stick-think. There were numerous Lindsay Lohans, Nicole Richies and Keira Knightleys running around in just skin and bones.

With all their exposure in magazines, teenagers soon followed the craze with intense diets, exercise and whatever else it takes to have the right body type.

“The need to be skinny, tall and tan is presented everywhere,” junior Emma Fulcher said. “It’s nearly impossible for a teen to completely ignore … the media.”

Because everyone is try to look the best, competition arises.

“Competition is everywhere … because a person is always trying to look better than the person next to them … to see who looks the best,” sophomore Inbar Fried said.

Having the best body is just another game to beat someone else at, no matter the cost.

Comparing one’s body to another’s usually leads to a tendency to immediately point out flaws and judge others.

According to senior Emily Tang, this has become something instinctive.

“Body image is the first thing that we see, and being human, we make quick judgements on what we see with our eyes,” Emily said.

Usually, when students judge others, it’s due to the fact that they are trying to cover up themselves.

“I think people who judge other people are just insecure,” senior Charles Olaires said. “Chances are, the flaws people point out in others are flaws they have themselves.”

When students see others walking down the hall, it’s common to look at their appearances and judge them. It’s much easier to find flaws in others because doing so boosts one’s own confidence, making one feel more attractive.

“The goal to be … perfect can drive people to become depressed if results to look great do not come quickly,” Emma said. “Obsession can take over to look a certain image, and … unhappiness can evolve because the person [will] never be satisfied.”

Students need to realize that there is a serious problem with trying to perfect their bodies. What’s important is how they are able to deal with the pressure to look perfect.

“If you treat your body with mores respect, you will like it better,” said psychologist Judith Rodin, author of Body Trap. “What your body really needs is moderate exercise, healthy foods … and relaxation.”