Honesty is refreshing in a world where fake is the new normal. Not that one should expect this one photo to have an impact on the touch-ups that will no doubt accompany her professional shots. But at least women, and yes, men as well, should know that their expectations of female beauty are being shaped by false standards.
Regardless of what drives these trends, following are some numbers to consider. According to a Washington Post report, citing statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
- The number of surgeries and minimally invasive procedures have increased from 7,401,495 in 2000 to 15,908,330 in 2015.
- Buttock implants have become the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery. The number of procedures has grown from 1,863 in 2014 to 2,540 in 2015.
Body image issues are affecting ever younger children, girls especially, who internalize unhealthy anorexic representations of the female form. In fact, a recent report by the child advocacy group, Common Sense Media, shares how kids as young as 5 are concerned about their body image.
Some very disturbing statistics are reported in the NYC Girls Project:
- Over 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat.
- Girls’ self-esteem plummets at age 12 and doesn’t improve until 20.
- 63 percent of girls think the body image represented by the fashion industry is unrealistic and 47 percent think it is unhealthy, yet 60 percent say that they compare their bodies to fashion models, 48 percent wish they were as skinny as the models in fashion magazines, and 31 percent of girls admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lose weight.
- Teenage girls often start to smoke to avoid weight gain.
- Obese children were 63 percent more likely to be bullied.
- The risk of teenage motherhood is raised – by up to 50 percent – among teenage girls with lower self-esteem.
Perhaps we should emphasize to our children that a healthy self image should not be dependent on the unreal, retouched photos of women. Furthermore, we should emphasize to ourselves that we have our own natural beauty. Sure, we need to take care of our appearance. But when our expectations and those of our partner are unrealistic, we set the stage for problems that can last a lifetime.