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Thin is In
By: Michelle M., Holy Heart High School, St. John's, NF

To be or not to be thin? That is the question. A rather straight-forward one at that. But the answer is not so definitive.

Unfortunately, we are living in a media-dominated society where our physical attributes, or lack there of, take precedence over our personalities. We are a culture torn between maintaining individuality and succumbing to the media pressure to conform. Today’s media paints a stereotypical picture and harsh generalization of the ideal body type. Thus, presenting their more impressionable younger audience with a disturbingly false image of what is realistically attainable.

The need to look and feel perfect is a growing issue among today’s society, especially youth. But whoever set the standard of this so-called “perfect” image recently, was way off base with reality. Since when does being perfect mean fitting into a size zero? Well that’s the question I find myself asking each time I turn on the television set. All too common is the picture of “lollipops”, as the media is now calling it, being flashed in the faces of naive young adolescents, females in particular.

Countless actresses are featured with heads that appear too big for their shrinking body size, thus earning them the title, “lollipop” heads. The pressure to be thin is everywhere nowadays. It’s an issue that has gone so far that it’s no longer a growing trend, but an obsession. I’ll be the first to admit that just because an actress appears frightfully thin does not mean that she has some sort of eating disorder. For some, being thin comes naturally. But when you see actresses becoming thinner and thinner on a weekly basis, it sends me and countless other teenagers the wrong message. The message appears to be ‘the thinner, the better’. But is that really realistic?

The truth is, that not everyone can obtain a size zero. It simply isn’t realistic, nor is it healthy in most cases. Just as not everyone has a flawless complexion, has picture-perfect hair, and wears designer clothes, the same is true of our weight. Not everyone can be a size zero. It just wasn’t meant to be that way.

Some people in Hollywood and other media forums, who are in a position to speak out and have their voice heard, seem to recognize this new dieting craze, but have done nothing to combat the disturbing trend. The concern is no doubt circulating in the industry, but the weight issue is kept pretty hush-hush by most. By doing so, they are contributing to the belief that if you are to be successful or seen as desirable, then you must be thin. They cannot claim to be, nor are they, part of a solution in any measure by merely saying that they recognize this problem.

In contrast they are part of the overall contributing factor to the problem and in a sense are rewarding these actresses by giving them attention through acknowledging and almost congratulating their weight loss. It’s time that Hollywood got a reality check and stopped dictating what the rest of society says and does. And if this doesn’t come soon, the price actresses and countless teenage girls might have to pay will be far greater than the rewards of slimming down and fitting into a size zero. Will an entertainer actually have to drop dead on a set in order for people to take notice that there is an increasingly grave issue here? That would be an unfortunate tragedy. Hollywood should not be glamorizing such a dangerous issue to anyone, especially female adolescents.

Having said that, it’s not only adolescent girls that are being sent these absurd messages, but the pre-teen population as well. The growing phenomenon suggests that all females, regardless of age, must be thin in order to be seen as attractive. Younger girls ranging from ages eight to twelve are not desensitized to the media. They are just as capable of recognizing the thin trend as any other intelligible female. One look at their favourite pop-singer nowadays is all they need to come to the startling realization that thin is in. Not only is this media-portrayed image unrealistic for the majority of society, but more so for the changing bodies of the pre-teen group. The fact that these girls will be the next generation of insecure, self-conscious women is crazy.

But what is even crazier is that deep down females know that they are all guilty of giving in to this pressure at some point in their young lives, whether they realize it or not. No matter how good they may look to others, they often just can’t see it for themselves when they look in the mirror. The constant pressure can leave any of us feeling guilty for eating that extra piece of chocolate cake. Instead of making ourselves feel guilty, we should be accepting that we are not all “perfect” as seen through the eyes of Hollywood.

After all, in today’s society where we, as today’s youth, are faced with so many other important issues, like school and relationships, weight should not be one of them. Let’s not take everything that the media throws at us at face value. Although they would like us to believe that we are all capable of attaining the so-called perfect body, in all reason or logic, we know otherwise. We cannot and should not let the media manipulate our young minds into thinking that the unsettling image they are portraying to us on a daily basis is anything but ridiculous. Rather than buying into the image, pride yourself in going against it.

When you consider my viewpoint on this weighty issue, the answer to the question that I posed in the beginning of my article becomes rather apparent.....not to be thin, that is the answer!.

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