Updated: Dec 18, 2019
We live in a society where an individual’s worth is defined by their beauty, often a factor measured by a person’s size or weight , and girls as young as 7 are subject to developing mental health disorders. Since 2007, the number of young girls admitting to hospitals for self-harming or attempting to take their own lives has risen by 42% and a shocking 70% for males. We constantly feed them with unrealistic and unattainable body images.
Whilst we like to solely blame the media, the distinction between a 'man' and a 'woman' is taught through their paths that are waved by their primary idols mainly speaking their parents and guardians they are the product of their environment. When will we finally take notice of those reserved enigmatic epidemic that is slowly crawling into our children souls.
A clear correlation can be made between the rise of new media and growing mental health disorders amongst young. Simply the ordinary person can edit, filter or Photoshop photos of themselves, raising the question, is body positivity even possible? We normalise the idea of changing every aspect of ourselves that we dislike simply to impress others and conform to beauty standards. An increase number of plastic surgeons mimicking trends such as ‘ duck lips ‘ and ‘ hourglass figures ‘ making surgery the quick fix for people to fit in with such standards. This has a number of damaging effects stretching from botched surgeries and bankruptcy. However the most disturbing consequence is the cycle of discontent created whereby a person will never truly be satisfied with their body. Instead using any means often dangerous ones, to change the next feature they hate a spitefully never ending cycle. When celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Nicki Minaj both with huge following, mainly children portray such unrealistic body images achieved through surgical means. This is especially problematic as these girls idolize the famous and consequently will do anything to look like them regardless how dangerous and unnatural it can get. It is no wonder so many young girls are unsatisfied with their bodies.
Furthermore, it’s difficult for people to imagine that one day it could be them suffering with some form of eating disorder such as bulimia. However, with 1.6 million people affected everyday by different types of eating disorder it’s easy to see how quickly things can escalate. It can begin with a person simply skipping meals and counting calories and can spiral into a person binging, purging and depriving oneself of any food. The dysmorphia can also affect people in less obvious manner such as causing a person to isolate themselves due to feelings of shame and guilt. It can also, however lead to other more damaging effects on a person’s body such as misusing alcohol or consuming other drugs in an attempt to punish themselves, gain control or even to distract themselves from the pain they feel within. The most worrying fact is the large increase in hospitals admissions in the last decade as now more than 3000 young girls and boys have been suffering of eating disorders admitted as inpatients every year. We need to make to make a change before it is too late. We need to make a change before we can no longer cope with the immense pressure of caring for and rehabilitating the large number of struggling teens and young adults. We need to make a change now.
Body positivity it is time we accept. It is time that we begin. It is time we stress the importance of loving oneself and accepting imperfections. We need to make young girls and boys understand that it is THESE cherish imperfections that makes everyone unique. They make who we are. We should celebrate and embrace. It is also time for people to start realising the impact of their words. Although it may seem minor to the perpetrator it is the victim who is burdened with carrying these words. Every word; their mood their thoughts and feelings are all affected. Unfortunately some cannot cope with these immense loads of negatives, and stigmatic ideas, and we see them slowly fall and collide into mental health disorders which they are unable to come out off. Some taking their own life’s and because of what? Another’s idea of normal?
They need help we can help them by encouraging them to seek help from a close friend, family relative and even a therapist. As a society, we need to work together to remove any negative and stigmatic ideas about coping and handling issues on their own and not taking the help available through family, friends and the NHS. This is especially relevant within BAME communities and other minority groups where a subject like insecurities, bullying and mental health are still not openly discussed.
Grace Evans, Emily Roberts, Abigail Stephens and Mark Johnsons are any of these names familiar NO? That’s because we don’t take about such important issues openly. These are all young people who have lost their lives this year and like million others their struggles and cries for help went ignored. It’s important to use opportunities like this to educate and raise awareness to ensure that their message isn’t forgotten.
They cannot be forgotten.
They WILL not be forgotten.