I recently watched the Lifetime movie “Starving in Suburbia.” Now I’m not usually a fan of lifetime movies because they’re so cheesy and unrealistic, however on this typical Sunday night I was fully captivated. The movie focuses on a high school senior, named Hannah, who is active is dance and stressing about colleges. She stumbles across this “thinspiration” website that promotes anorexia and teaches subscribers how to lose weight and control their eating, or lack thereof, habits.
Hannah begins to spiral out of control and make decisions that hinder her success in dance, school and relationships. Her family is torn over the idea of how to deal with this ongoing issue. Turns out her younger brother is also suffering from an eating disorder as he struggles to make his weight class for wrestling. Hannah’s weight soon consumes her life. Every day and night she struggles with being hungry yet starving herself because “Ana” (short for anorexia, from the thinspiration website) tells her she can and needs to be skinny. She is fighting her internal demons while destroying the life around her.
Once the movie was over all I could think of was how messed up society is. For one, I just ate two pieces of pizza while watching and two, thin does not equal beautiful. Thin does not equal perfection. We are constantly surrounded by advertisements, music videos, and commercials that showcase thin, pretty women. This is the standard in our culture, which is screwed up beyond belief.
I was a communications major in college so I have studied numerous case studies about media influences and it’s only getting worse. The theme of today’s fashion might as well be called “less material, the better.” Crop tops, bandeaus, high waisted shorts are all the rage yet the actual material seems to be getting smaller and smaller.
Why can’t girls feel just as confident in a simple tank top and shorts at a reasonable length instead of a crop top made for an infant? Society needs to teach girls, especially young ones that are in the developing stage and are very impressionable and insecure that they are beautiful! A size on the tag does not determine your worth. Society harps on the image of girls, but seem to neglect that boys are influenced just as easily. Although the media focuses on girls, young boys can be impacted and also suffer from eating disorders. Like Hannah’s younger brother who was only 15 and feeling the pressure to be a certain weight in order to be successful.
I feel this topic is always circulating on the internet, yet no changes have been made. We can’t escape society and the constant bombardment of advertisements but maybe if we can empower young girls and boys to love themselves we can shift the idea away from perfection to acceptance.