Our group discussions in class today as well as the small group discussions we had on Monday really got me thinking about just how damaging the beauty myth is to the United States. Young girls are raised to believe that they must be skinny to be considered attractive, to be loved, or to one day secure a husband. According to the ANAD, 91% of college women admitted to attempting to control their weight through dieting. Among elementary school aged girls who read magazines, 69% of the girls said that the images influenced their view of the ideal body shape. 47% said that the images made them want to lose weight. Elementary schoolers. Elementary. The fact that little girls who should be concerned with recess and selling girl scout cookies are thinking about dieting so that they can look like models in their mom’s magazines is disgusting. The National Eating Disorder Awareness week info-graphics say that 98% of American women are not as thin as fashion models. Girls are basing their ideal/goal bodies off of airbrushed, photoshopped models who have likely suffered eating disorders themselves. Eating disorders are not sexy.
Almost 81% of ten year olds are afraid of becoming fat, and the average age of girls entering the sex trafficking trade is between 12 and 14 years old. If these ten year olds are already body-conscious, you can guarantee this is only going to worsen by age 12 or 14. Most girls that are pulled into the sex trade come from unhappy, violent, or broken homes. Many are runaways that are then picked off of the street by pimps and traffickers who promise them better lives. These girls are already self-conscious thanks to the toxic Western society they’ve been raised in, but when you add in their troubled upbringings it is almost a guarantee that traffickers will be able to take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Our beauty-obsessed society is essentially creating perfect targets for sex traffickers to prey on. Trafficking is happening right in our backyards everyday. We need to empower young girls and reassure them that outer appearance is not the key to success. Elementary school is much too young for these vile, weight-based, shitty ideals to be planted in young girls’ brains.