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….
“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
“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.
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.”