Is there a perfect body?
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
A thirteen-year-old girl stares at her image in the mirror in disgust. Why couldn’t she be skinnier? Why couldn’t she be perfect? Her lunch is thrown in the bin the next day. The quest for perfection has begun.
Across the country a 16-year-old boy stares at his image in the mirror in disgust. Why couldn’t he be musclier? Why couldn’t he be perfect? He proceeds to exercise at extensive levels, without any nutrition intake. The quest for perfection has begun.
Can we tell the difference anymore?
Today, in our extremely inter-connected world, we are bombarded with what perfection seemingly looks like. We are told what the appearance of the ideal man and woman should be. We are then given steps which are supposed to help us attain this appearance. “It is so easy,” social media influences claim. “Anyone can do it,” they say.
However, behind these shiny promises of perfection is a tarnished and ugly truth; these images young Australians are constantly bombarded with on all platforms in our day to day life are poison. We start to think that the new fad diet will make our bodies better. We start to believe that exercising without the proper nutrition to accompany it is the way to go!
“You will lose weight,” they promise. You will be desirable, wanted and loved is the message so many of us receive.
This is where it gets dangerous. This is where it can get fatal.
Australian children as young as eight have started experiencing body image issues. The research conducted by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute showed that young children already know about dieting and some have even started to restrict their intake of food in some way.
These alarming findings show that it is no longer enough to talk about body images once or twice in our teenage years. It is necessary for a nation-wide strategy to be implemented at an early age to prevent not only body image issues but eating disorders as well.
Teenagers around Australia have also expressed body image issues: The Australian Institute of Family Services conducted a survey and out of those surveyed half of the girls and one-fifth of boys admitted they were afraid of gaining weight. Another alarming statistic showed that one in four girls, and one in 10 boys consciously restricted their food intake.
Currently one million Australians suffer from an eating disorder. Only 25% are being medically treated. We need the government and mental health services to work together to implement a nation-wide educational program to raise awareness of eating disorders and the unrealistic expectations social media places on teenagers and children.
New laws need to be passed requiring magazines and modelling platforms on social media to declare whether photos have been photo-shopped or not. This alarming number needs to be reduced. Eating disorders ruin lives and we need to prevent more lives being put in danger.
As young people we must realise the images we see are not the complete reality. We must always remember we are enough: We are good looking. We are loved.
It is imperative we reinforce these messages to our family, our friends and even the people we see every day but don’t talk to.
Starvation is not the solution to perfection. To have a so-called perfect body one must pay a severe price. A price that ain’t gonna make you perfect after all.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Woke magazine.