Originally, I had a huge problem narrowing down what I wanted the subject of this submission to be. After all, I tend to watch a lot of television and movies, a bit of a hobby; I also tend to become far too devoted. But after glancing at other student submissions I saw one who had written about a TED talk. I was suddenly inspired. I love TED talks, I think they’re a valuable resource, incredibly inspiring, and touching. I narrowed down my expansive list of talks to one Cameron Russell gave called, “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.’
Negative body image is a human issue; it’s an issue for women, men, boys, and girls. I personally understand the stress and trauma negative body issues can cause. Girls spend the vast majority of childhood and adolescence examining and critiquing their appearance. Everyone begins this vicious habit of scrutiny at various ages. Some girls won’t have a problem until their teenage years or adulthood, for others it can start as early as elementary school. Generally the smallest events can cause someone to look at themselves in a different, more negative light. It could be a sideways comment about hair, clothes, skin, or weight; a comment from a mother about dieting; or a rude one line insult from a boy when they’re too young to really understand the implications of their words.
Growing up in our extremely connected and wireless world means complete access to extraordinary resources and amazing connections, but it also means there is virtually no escaping the always “perfect’ idea of beauty. People are more and more heavily influenced by mass media. We combat the images of the “perfect’ people we see flowing through magazines, television, and movies; not to mention strutting down the runways, or being photographed by the paparazzi. Even Cameron addresses the impact these “perfect’ expectations have on models, causing them to have major health issues in the name of being a size 00. These standards give people an unrealistic idea of health and attractiveness. Mass media reaches children at a younger and younger age, instilling this unrealistic ideal in their minds earlier than ever before.
Somewhere along the road of good self-image, girls were taught not only to not want to be like the size 00 supermodels with unhealthy bodies, but to also dislike those said supermodels. To resent these girls, who Cameron explains happened to win a “genetic lottery’ or view them as another species entirely. My favorite thing Cameron talks about is how models are equally as self-conscious about their bodies if not more, because they are under constant scrutiny by their employers and the world. The biggest thing I took away from this talk, something that certainly stuck with me, was the universality of body image and the struggles related. Everyone is in the same boat, including the supermodels.