Retouch, airbrush, thinner body type, and boom–you’ve got yourself the “perfect” body that the media pushes in magazines, movies, advertisements, clothing stores, and more. This distorted view of what a “liked” body looks like is preventing young people from developing a healthy teen body image. Almost no one looks like what is portrayed everywhere, which isn’t a healthy message to send: you should look like this, but no one looks like this. It’s pushing the unattainable, which only develops a negative teen body image for the youth of the world.
Modcloth–an online clothing store–recently made a stand against the media’s unhealthy portrayal of “ideal” bodies. Modcloth is known for making clothes for all sizes and never warping a model to make them more “attractive” or “ideal”; this already sends a great message to young people looking for clothes on their website. Now, they took it one step further: they took it to Washington. Modcloth recently teamed up with a congresswoman to develop legislation that would work “to develop regulations for over airbrushing, photoshopping, or altering the appearance of people in advertisements.” The goal is to promote a healthier message for developing a positive youth or teen body image.
Teen body image and the media
The media promotes thin, dainty girls and muscled, tall boys; what message does this send to the average teen? People come in all shapes and sizes, rarely does someone look like they walked out of a billboard ad–so this weakens the positive teen body image. The “perfect” body is everywhere we go and look: our phones, on television, in the movie theater, while we’re driving–everywhere. A study from 1996, researchers found that they amount of time a teen spends watching movies, music videos, or soaps was related to a negative teen body image. Also, in a study of fifth graders, girls and boys (10 years old) reported that they felt dissatisfied with their bodies after either watching a Britney Spears music video or a piece of the TV show “Friends”.
This idea of the “perfect” body has woven itself through our daily lives, making it hard to escape–this is why it’s important for companies like Modcloth to fight against it. The company Aerie decided to stop retouching all of their photos–though they still use thin, drop-dead gorgeous models–which definitely sends a more positive message. Hopefully, Modcloth’s push for encouraging a more positive teen body image will inspire other companies to follow their example.
For more information about helping your teen have a more positive teen body image, check out Solstice East.