The School Newspaper of Texas High School

Splashing into the deep

September 5, 2017

She steps onto the wet staircase that leads into the warm blue pool. She feels nervous. She couldn’t really comprehend her feelings at the moment. Wearing a cute green pinup-like swimsuit, she starts to swim in the pool. She knows she doesn’t look perfect, but the camera flashes anyways. Would she get mean comments if she posted this? Should she feel like she would need to take it down immediately?

She didn’t want to think of those questions right now. She strikes a cute pose as her friend is taking a picture of her. Ready for the world to see how beautiful she is by defying social media standards.

For many years there has been a social trend that has influenced the way young men and women see themselves today. Magazine covers typically show off summer-time trends with women in small bikinis, shiny airbrushed skin and toned legs. No imperfections. Magazines also show men shirtless with a very muscular body and tall structure. No imperfections.  

Adolescents tend to look at these models from magazine covers and strive to be just like them. However, as they get older they tend to judge themselves because of the high expectations society has put on them regarding appearance.

Often times, viewers see these models as perfect. Are they perfect, or are they unrealistic expectations? Everyone has their own understanding. These distorted views of what the perfect body is has become a social standard near impossible to reach. This is an unbearable issue in today’s atmosphere.

Studies have shown that 80% of women who see images of women on the media makes them feel insecure while compared to women, 25% of teenage boys have reported about being teased about their weight. Lastly, 81% of children who are 10 are afraid of being fat.

A child should never be afraid of what weight they are, a 10-year-old should enjoy the sun, enjoy their childhood, and feel bliss. What kids, teenagers, adults, even elders don’t realize is that they should be comfortable with wearing a swimsuit that they think looks cute on them, instead of worrying about if other people think you look handsome or beautiful in it.

Sophomore Anolyn Keenum grew up with these expectations on her shoulders.

When I was younger, a bikini body to me was like the athletic build and the girl was tan and beautiful, Keenum said. When I’m on social media, like Instagram, I’ll always find a photo where every girl looks the same and is in the same five poses.

Similarly, sophomore Nadia Fryer used to stress over what swimsuit was okay to wear and what swimsuit was not okay to wear. Having to be this stressed over swimsuit attire is unhealthy to a little girl who just wants to go jump into a pool on a hot day.

“When I was younger, I thought it meant that you had to wear this tiny bikini and be as thin as paper, just to be popular, Fryer said.I’m kind of bipolar with wearing a certain type of swimsuit because yes, I am uncomfortable sometimes. It just depends on the trends. There’s always skinny girls or curvy girls when it comes to trends. Life is too short to worry about what you look like, or what a guy or girl thinks about you.

Over the past few years, there have been men and women who have rejected these social standards and have created body positive social media pages. Through this, positivity and love is spread by explaining how various things like stretch marks, cellulite, burns, scars, weight and height are all beautiful. These pages have helped many young (and old) people boost their confidence.

“It makes me feel more empowered and more confident to know that other women have all different body types,” Keenum Said. “With just as much or more confidence when they post a picture of them in a swimsuit.”

Senior, Damien Hamilton has felt the same way with this issue too.

“We are all in high school, we should be mature enough to handle our own business and stay to ourselves Life is already hard enough dealing with our own insecurities. Why should we tear others down because we are insecure?,” Hamilton said. “Society’s definition of beauty is pitiful. To be considered beautiful, you have to be under ‘x’ size and under ‘x’ weight. Me personally, I have always struggled with body image, but I am beginning to love myself for me.”


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