A Problem with Teenage Body Image

E. Barrett '18

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Turn on the TV to a show marketed for teenage audiences. Notice two things; how old the characters are, and how old the women portraying these characters are. Notice a discrepancy? Most of the time, yes. In the majority of shows popular among teens, the actresses and actors playing teenagers are much older. Take Gossip girl for example, Blake Lively was 20 years old at the beginning of the series and 26 years old at the finale. This is a generally accepted fact in Hollywood, but it is having negative effects on teenage body image. So, why hire adults to act like teenagers? Because they have more experience? Well that’s part of it, but not the main reason. Usually casting decisions such as this are due to the fact that these shows don’t want the appearance of their actors to change. There is a far greater discrepancy between the looks of a 15 year old and a 21 year old, and if a show were to last 6 years like Gossip Girl did, that would be a noticeable change. That would ruin the illusion of time moving slower in this fictional realm. Sure, this works for continuation of entertainment value, but at what cost? The issue with this practice is that teenagers are so accustomed to teenagers looking like post-puberty adults, it increases issue with body image as teen girls start to wonder why they don’t look like these mature women. Obviously, it’s easy for some of us to see we’re simply not supposed to. These adults have had time to develop and grow into post-puberty bodies, but for many girls, specifically younger girls, this fact isn’t so apparent; thus, causing problems. They can act as teenagers all they would like, but these women have bodies that are not teenage bodies. Where is the acne? Where is the “awkward stage”? I would like to know. Kids not seeing this completely normal stage represented in the media has harsh effects. Kids are embarrassed of their bodies that are normal and natural because they expect to look like adult women! Time will bring these things, but it is not represented when teenagers watch women who do not change on TV. This extends to men as well, in that some teenage boys haven’t hit their growth spurts yet, and they haven’t had their voices drop, so seeing these adult men can be just as detrimental to boys. These young kids start to believe that what is completely human is somehow wrong. No one should feel as though they are falling behind on development or growth just because it will be better for a television producer’s ratings. Now this is not meant to be an attack on the actors or anyone involved in these shows; however, it is genuinely a problematic practice that demands change. We are already struggling with epidemics of low self esteem as a society; we should do everything we can to remedy this issue. A great start would be equal representation of all walks of life on the television screen.

“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful. ” ~ Zoe Kravitz

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    This Summer’s Solar Eclipse

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    TRAPPIST-1

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    Trump’s Inauguration

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Arts & Entertainment

    Everything is a Lie

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Arts & Entertainment

    What’s So Great about Journaling?

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    The Classic Christmas Tree Farm

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Arts & Entertainment

    Is Music Literature?

  • Did You Know?

    Maybe This Wasn’t the Worst Election…

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    Has the Christmas Spirit Changed??

  • A Problem with Teenage Body Image

    Did You Know?

    November’s Supermoon

A Problem with Teenage Body Image