All Things Teen
We're all about teenagers, because we're all about making the next generation, the greatest generation. We've worked with teens for over 20 years, and in that amount of time we've racked up some great stories and life lessons, and we simply must share. So if you're in the mood to read about what the next generation is up to, check back frequently. Enjoy!
What's wrong with what I see in the mirror?
I arrived at my first day of high school feeling confident; I had carefully selected the perfect outfit, my hair was finally cooperating, and I’d even picked out a trendy backpack. I had been thinking about this day for a while and was overwhelmed with excitement—new friends, new teachers, new classes, all of it seemed exciting. Much to my dismay, all of this excitement came to a screeching halt as soon as I entered the girls’ bathroom. As I looked around, every square inch of mirror space was being occupied by what seemed like the entire female population attending my new school. Within a matter of minutes, my opinion of what I thought high school might be like and all of the possibilities that surrounded it had shifted. Suddenly, I hated high school.
I watched girls put on makeup, fix their hair and stress over whether or not their outfit was cute enough for the boy they wanted to impress. As I inched my way toward an open spot in front of the mirror, the confidence I had going into school that morning had vanished. I suddenly felt an enormous amount of pressure to be perfect and stress out about my appearance, just like my fellow classmates glued to the mirrors next to me.
While this experience was quite some time ago, I would be amazed if this same scene isn’t happening in the girls’ bathrooms in our high schools today. Why is this the case, you might ask yourself? Why are girls at such a young age feeling an enormous amount of pressure to be perfect? According to a study, conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, today’s youth are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media. Given the fact that females are overwhelmingly portrayed unrealistically in Hollywood, coupled with the amount of time teenagers devote to media, it’s no wonder teenage girls experience so much pressure to be perfect.
As a parent struggling to work around the powerful influences of media on your teenage daughter, you may be wondering how you can attempt to teach your teen about healthy body image. One way to combat the pressure to be perfect in young girls is to ensure they are surrounded by adult females who have a healthy body image. Exposing teenage girls to positive female influences who are strong, confident and possess inward beauty is very beneficial for them in developing a well-balanced body image. In addition, don’t shy away from crucial conversations with your teen. For example, if your teenage daughter asks you if she can buy the latest issue of Seventeen Magazine at the grocery store, use this as an opportunity to talk to her about finding a magazine that doesn’t focus so heavily on outward appearance and beauty and instead, search for a magazine that allows your daughter to learn more about positive body image. For more information about media influence on adolescent health and well-being, visit the Media Awareness Network.