With society emulating such a being, we are forced to ask ourselves, does society’s view of the ideal human being affect an individual’s view of them self? The answer is yes. Due to the stress society puts on perfection, the individual is forced to put that same stress on them self. It is said that Barbie promotes a healthy and non-sexist image for young girls, with careers possibilities such as astronaut or even a UNICEF ambassador (Barbie).
Creator of the Barbie doll, Ruth Handler, once said, “My whole philosophy on Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be.
Barbie always represented the fact that a woman had choices. ”(Barbie) But if women have so many choices why are so many of them choosing to starving themselves in an effort to be flawless? Even if women are not emulating Barbie, the pressure to be perfect still looms over society today. In May 2009 the family of nineteen year old Sara, attended her funeral. After her death her sister, Leah, stumbled across Sara’s journal, the first entry of which read “ I really don’t know where I should start. I guess with how I feel. I feel like a complete failure.
I’ve let bulimia take over again, and I’m slowly crumbling into nothing. ” At one point Sara told her parents about her struggle with bulimia. Just two months earlier she had written these words, “I was smart, on the honor roll, I danced, skated, worked at the hospital, strived for so many things… but I’m none of these things anymore. All that’s left is bulimia, is death. But I don’t want that. I want life, a good life where I can be content with myself. ”(Gibson) . Isn’t that what we all want? To be content. Yet still eight million Americans struggle with an eating disorder(Eating).
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This epidemic does not only affect teenage girls. Its roots are digging deeper and deeper with the drive to be thin is starting younger. 42% of first through third grade girls want to be thinner (Perfect).
It also does not affect only the female population. 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male (Eating).
Eating disorders touch everyone, young, old, male or female, the epidemic is growing. With Perfection being pushed further and further, at what point will it break? I feel that at the stem of this is satisfaction. If 100% of people were satisfied there would be no need for these gruesome statistics.
But, statistics don’t lie. 70% of average-weight women want to be thinner (Skin Deep).
Over 50% of Americans are, as a whole, unhappy with their weight. Over 250,000 women a year get liposuction (Skin Deep).
80% of ten year olds claim they are on a diet. Where only 56% of women aged 25-45 claim the same thing (Skin Deep).
All of these telling facts show that as a whole, Americans and dissatisfied with themselves. It’s no wonder why Americans are unhappy with themselves when society is continuously putting unrealistic expectations upon us.
On a modeling advice website it said, “If you are the united states average of 5’6” size 10 or 12, forget an hope of being a high fashion model… ”(Fashion).
With things like this being thrust in front of us daily, its no secret why people are feeling inadequate. But was it always like that? In our ever shifting world, our ideals are ever shifting also. In the 1950s the “ideal” was a voluptuous figure much like that of Marilyn Monroe’s size 14, in the sixties the “ideal” shifted again. A full figure was deemed bad and a new role model came forth. Twiggy. Twiggy was 5’7” and only 94 pounds(Skin Deep).
Her almost unachievable figure consisted of a small bust and virtually no hips. Many girls felt obligated to lose weight when this image first surfaced. Doctors also noted that that there was an influx in eating disorders when Twiggy first surfaced(Skin Deep).
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Regardless of if it’s Barbie or Twiggy telling us who we should be and what we look like, that presence is still there. Society is constantly pushing people to their breaking point. Some like Sara don’t make it through where others like us put up with that pressure on a daily basis. Whether it’s a television commercial with an ultra thin model.
Or a little girl at home wishing she could be just like Barbie, unaware of the consequences. Perfection comes in different shapes and sizes, different ages and different genders. Perfection its self stems from the satisfaction of accepting who you are and being just fine with your imperfections, because they are what make you, you. Striving to rid yourself of them sets you up for failure. No matter what happens, you will never lose them and you will end up loosing yourself in the mix. So don’t collapse under the pressure of perfection. And most importantly, be happy just being you.