Image Problems: Teens and Their Bodies

By Angela Pascale

Every year, millions of people in the United States are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders. According to experts, more than 90 percent of those affected are adolescent and young adult women.

Many young adults are faced with being pressured to have the perfect body and personality. These pressures can lead to many disorders like depression, anorexia, etc.

In cases of body image, females are very much more perceptible to fall into the obsession of being perfect.  This is because girls are told to look a certain way from social media, society, and television.

In Branford High School, this is an occurring issue. Many young women in the school suffer with insecurities. Mrs Roy, who runs the Young Woman's Club at BHS, says she believes that parents and teachers need to instill into young girls that they are beautiful and not to define themselves from what's on the outside but from what's on the inside.

“I'm not sure if the body image ‘pressure’ comes from being in a public school, but from media”, says Mrs. Montano, BHS guidance counselor. “ Even though the pressures are not directly coming from inside the school community, there is still plenty coming from the outside that affects students in the school. “I've had students that needed to be hospitalized.

It's almost impossible to say how many young people are self-harming. This is because very few teenagers tell anyone what's going on. This makes it incredibly difficult to keep track or have an idea of how many people are self-harming. According to Self-harm Statistics, it is thought that around 10% of young people may try and hurt themselves on purpose at some point but that number can be much higher. Around 90% of young people treated for self-harm will have taken an overdose, and yet the most preferred method of harming is to cut. This means is that many young people are struggling with eating disorders and are harming themselves because of it.

“Low self esteem is extremely common in both, as is body dissatisfaction. They are both very much environmentally driven. Both place excessive emphasis on appearance and body size. In the same way, many of the same psychological underpinnings play into both," according to The New York Times.

As a school community there should be an awareness of the severity of these disorders and that our bodies are not what defines us, our inner being is who we are and displays our personality and intent.

"There is definitely a weight issue here at BHS," said junior Claire Benevento. "Not necessarily the size of people but how people are so self concious of it. I see many girls and even guys who don't eat lunch everyday and so many girls are just dropping weight at an unhealthy rate."

What do you think should be done to help address this issue? Let us know in the comments or @BranfordBuzz on Twitter.