By Gabi Roach


To be a Barbie or to not be a Barbie- that is the question. Picture this: more than half of adolescent girls read magazines for an average of 4 hours every week. Magazines are overflowing with Photoshop and advertisements that are just plain fake. Celebrities and ads for anything from perfume to toys are all air brushed and edited down to the smallest detail. This is to make these products and people look appealing, when in reality, there is no such thing as perfection. Teenage girls especially are brainwashed into thinking that things like cellulite, acne, and weight issues only happen to them and not people like Kim Kardashian or Ariana Grande. Teen girls want “thigh gaps”, like the ones they see in pictures on Instagram and all over the Internet. But is that really healthy? Is it really so awful to have your thighs touch? Things like “big” thighs are erased and replaced with skinny legs, flawless skin and a waist the size of a Barbie. Kids cannot afford to grow up thinking that this is the way they should look.

Since the media has grown and become extremely popular over the course of the last twenty-five years, this is the main reason that teenage girls are lowering their self esteem. In 1995 in Fiji, there was one case of an eating disorder. In 1998, 69% of the people wanted to lose weight and 74% said they felt too fat. TV and social media are the main causes of how girls feel about themselves today. The media wasn’t around over a century age and things like dieting have increased since then. Girls are constantly seeing pictures of other people’s lives and are comparing their lives to people who are somehow “better” than them. Many experts say that the media plays a role in “what women try to live up to be today”. So many teens are unhappy with their bodies and don’t feel confident. 90% of people who have an eating disorder are girls from 12 to 25! 

Teens can’t listen to what other people say about how everyone should look. Paul Harrington wrote the book The Secret to Teen Power. He writes “When you compete against others, you’re often beating up yourself.” This explains how girls compete against other girls to look better, while in reality they are really just hurting themselves. Teenage girls are “more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer, losing their parents, or nuclear war”, an article by Radar Programs say. The article ‘Dying to be a Barbie’ says that 4 out of 10 girls in first to third grade wish they were thinner! Not only has the media affected teen girls and women, it is affecting girls who haven’t even gotten to middle school yet!

There are billions of people in the world. Many of these people confuse “real” with “ugly”. Girls are beautiful no matter the size on the tag of their jeans or the bumps on their face. The media portrays women and girls as tan, skinny, and flawless, but that isn’t real. Girls bully other girls based on how greasy their hair is, the pimples on their face, and how “big” their thighs are. If girls don’t support other girls, what will our world be like when everyone is pushing everyone down for what they look like? 

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  1. G, this is a thoughtful and important article. You are brining up points that should be brought up. You are setting a good example for young women in your school by writing this article. Good for you Gabriella. You are a beautiful, smart, loving young woman whom I am proud to know…good for you…good for you!

  2. This is an insightful and mature article about a great concern for our society. I would recommend that all teenagers, both girls and boys, read this article and think about what are the really important qualities to look for in others. Ms. Roach has done an excellent job and is off to a great start both as a journalist and as a confident, successful and inspiring woman! Bravo!

  3. Such an insightful article from a student who can see what is going on from an insider’s perspective. The world is a crazy place and for young women to be affected by the pressure of the media let alone their friends, can be very intimidating and scary. I applaud Gabi for writing an article with a strong voice for the young woman of tomorrow.

  4. PREACH GIRL!! This is amazingly well-written and incredibly telling of the pressures young girls face daily. Good for you for displaying this unfortunate societal issue and pointing out how dangerous it is to allow the media to portray unrealistic standards of beauty as “normal”. Keep it up, can’t wait to read more from you 🙂

  5. Gabi I just love this article! This is such a sad but important issue. I hate that everyone is airbrushed in all the magazines. Not only does it make young girls and women feel inferior but it also tells the people in the magazine that they must be “altered” to look beautiful. Imagine magazines and media with all girls and women in their natural and beautiful self. How empowering that would be to us all. I will certainly be sharing this article with both of my kids. Thank you Gabi. #girlpower

  6. This is a true and rising issue. The way you explained this issue made me want to read more and it was really well written.