Who Run the World? Healthy Girls.

Now that we’ve centered a lot of our attention on the athletes and models themselves, I’ve decided to ask college aged women, a time when body image is a big issue, how they feel about two photos. One is of a model who is extremely skinny. She is not an athletic model of any sort and she has the typical figure of a female fashion model.


The next image is of Jen Seltzer. She is asocial media celebrity whose goal is to inspire young women to eat healthily and work out. She trys to encompass the healthy lifestyle in her photos and tweets.


Lets see what they said….

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 2.26.33 PM.png

“It makes me feel kind of bad about myself but at the same time she looks unhealthy so I’m not jealous”- Lauren, Freshman at UMD

“You can tell by her legs and chest she’s unhealthy. She’s pretty, but I would rather have a more athletic body than hers.”- Eileen, Freshman at UMD

“She’s really skinny, her boobs look nice but her legs are skinny- way too skinny. I don’t want to even look like that because im comfortable with the way I look. This probably is not a good role model for girls because it promotes people to want to be that skinny. That girls legs are literally bone and there are so many people who go through eating disorders and this ideology should not be promoted.”- Raiha, Freshman at UMD

Now for a boys perspective…

“She looks emaciated, I don’t think this is a good role model for young girls.”- Ryan, Junior at Washington University in St. Louis

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 2.28.30 PM.png

“It motivates me a little more- she looks sporty. Im not jealous at all its just motivating!”- Lauren, Freshman at UMD

“She’s very athletic and has a great body. It does look like working out is her life, and I don’t think that should be the only acceptable body. I think it’s a good goal but not the necessary body to be happy and healthy.”- Eileen, Freshman at UMD

“I like her body a lot and she is really fit. She looks healthy and you can tell its not the gross kind of skinny where you don’t have muscle. You can tell she eats well and works out. Its motivating to eat healthy and work out!”- Raiha, Freshman at UMD

Now a boy’s perspective…

“She’s really pretty but she’s still a little too skinny.”- Ryan, Junior at Washington University in St. Louis.

Discussion time!

As you can gather from our responders, the first picture sparked feelings of disempowerment towards women. The girls in general thought the woman was too thin and unhealthy. They all agreed that young girls should not idolize a body like this one as it can lead to eating disorders. Photos of women like these generally just make girls feel badly about themselves. Even from the male perspective, it was agreed that girls should not aspire to look like a string bean. So, if some girls feel the need to fit the mold of a model to get attention from men, that is completely unnecessary! In some countries, such as France, lawmakers are taking action to fight against girls idolizing unrealistic bodies. As we can see from this survey, it is definitely the move and other countries should follow suit.

The second photo was inspiring to most girls. Athletes are more likely to inspire empowerment among women through social media. These findings allude to the fact that athletes are more motivating and inspire young girls to eat healthily and work out. The male perspective thought the girl was pretty but even then was a little too skinny!

So, after these findings, I will leave you with this quote by Kanye West.

“Welcome to the good life, where we like the girls who aint on TV cause they got more ass than the models.”


Can your chicken legs kick a ball tho??

Thoughts filled my mind as my thighs filled my jeans. The seams about to burst, along with my anxious mind. My voluptuous butt seems to stick out with the severity of this model’s rib cage. I look at myself and wonder how she can fit into her size double zero skirt while I would only be able to wear that article of clothing as a headband. Scrolling though my Instagram, I see carbon copies fresh out of society’s machine. Their bleached blonde hair billows in the wind, a wind that would have the power to blow their dainty frame away. Millions of young girls across the globe can relate to this experience. They will then question their value as society judges one on their appearance rather than their thoughts, values, and intelligence. What is wrong with me? Why cant I also look like that?

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 5.36.51 PM.png
Screenshot of Instagram


Thoughts filled my mind as my thighs filled my jeans. The seams about to burst along with my anxious mind. I see athletic women with hips and thighs and butts posing just like models do except something is different. These women are glowing and they’re healthy! They seem like they enjoy three meals a day and aren’t afraid to eat pizza every once in awhile. They’re so fit looking and cool- I want to be like that! Maybe I should start playing sports or something so I can look like Alex Morgan. She totally is rocking that athletic track suit!

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 5.32.26 PM.png
Screenshot of Instagram

These two scenarios juxtapose a young girl’s reaction to looking at stick-thin models every day with a girl’s reaction to seeing athletes pose as models. I previously asked the question of “are athletes empowering themselves or disempowering themselves when posing as models on social media?” I figured this discussion would be best if it weren’t one sided, so here’s the effect. Girl A- lets name her insecure Ingrid- has her confidence levels brought down while idolizing stick-thin barbies. This can lead to eating disorders, confidence issues, self-loathing, etc. The list goes on and on. Girl B- confident Courtney- is inspired by the athletic bodies she sees in magazines and wants to lead a healthy lifestyle to be like them.


Our role models and society have a dialectic relationship and are products and producers of each other. If we want our young girls to enjoy the occasional ice cream night with her friends while they cry over rom coms, we need to provide them with great role models. Role models who inspire rather than deprecate.


But she doesn’t look aggressive…

Ronda Rousey, the woman who could take down a six foot two male weighing in at two-hundred and fifty pounds, has also succumbed to the powers of social media.

With her seven and a half million Instagram followers, Ronda has a large platform to display her feminine side. She has posed for Sports Illustrated, promoting the celebration of women despite their size or shape.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.21.05 AM.png
Screenshot of Instagram

“Such an honor to share the cover with @theashleygraham and @haileyclauson for @si_swimsuit’s issue celebrating women of all body types,” Ronda writes. Finally! Women who have some meat on their bones are finally getting some attention too! Ronda’s shoots are empowering for both herself and millions of women everywhere who don’t look like string beans.

Maybe athletes-turned-models is a good thing. It captures and promotes the athletic body to the public. Girls spend hours looking at magazines such as Vogue which plaster images of women who definitely have a BMI under 18.5 all over its pages.

Its important for young girls to have athletic looking role models rather than aspiring to an unattainable standard of female beauty. Many people think that social media is encouraging the development of eating disorders by increasing the attention towards women. It is so easy to scroll through Instagram and see other girls on beaches in bikinis and wonder why they cant look like that.

We can fight back against the growing number of women who feel disempowered when looking at social media by promoting healthy, fit women.

Lights… Camera… Athletes?

Women’s achievements have been overshadowed by their sexuality since the beginning of time. A women could have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but she would still be judged based on how hot she looks in her skirt.

When sexual attention is unwanted and overshadows a woman’s achievements, it is demeaning and humiliating. However, what if that woman chose to put the spotlight on how her body looks, rather than how it moves? Many female athletes enter the modeling industry after gaining fame through sports through the help of social media.

Social media outlets, the biggest one being Instagram, are perfect to promote athletes’ aesthetic value to the public in an easy way. Companies catch wind of the athletes this way and use them to promote their products through their social media. They are often recruited to flash poses for modeling campaigns.

Alana Blanchard, among one of the top ten female surfers in the world, has 1.6 million Instagram followers. Her flawless photos have captured the attention of various marketers and companies looking for Alana to model their clothing. She has since become a sensation on social media and has even created her own bikini line with Rip Curl, titled “my bikini.”

alana blanchard rip curl bikini.jpg


Alex Morgan, of the USA Women’s Soccer Team, has shocked the world with not only her footwork skills in soccer, but with her flat stomach and beautifully bronzed skin. The athlete has 3.1 million loyal Instagram followers who constantly comment on her candid athletic photos regarding her beauty. She has appeared modeling for various swimsuit companies and has posed for Nike. Rather than being praised for winning the Olympic Gold for team USA, many idolize Alex due to her slender body and pretty face.

The question that arises is, does social media help to empower or disempower women?

Read more about the two different perspectives on the topic here!