GCSE English Speaking ExamWatch
Beautiful skinny girls are on the cover of every magazine, social media is filled to the brim with these picture perfect girls, their sparkling white teeth, clear skin and stunning figures. We are brought up being told to love ourselves for who we are and all our flaws but how can we when these digitally enhanced photos of this distorted idea of ‘beautiful’ is being waved in our faces at every moment, telling us what beautiful is ?
What is this promoting exactly? Young girls aspire to look like these models, 5’7, long legs, flat stomachs, perfect features. The whole idea of ‘clean eating’, going to the gym every morning or night, spending their lives counting calories and snacking on salad. Society telling children that they have to be skinny to be pretty? These are disordered behaviours that shouldn’t be seen as normal but yet somehow are. Children as young as 10 can be found downloading calorie counting apps and other fitness apps and on social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest looking at accounts that promote eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Yet Instagram and other websites do not do anything about these accounts. There are whole websites and blogs dedicated to getting a ‘Victoria’s secret angel’s figure’.
Social media accounts that show and promote eating disorders to look good glorify disorders, making other people think it’s okay to stave themselves to look like the people online. Photos online are enhanced and edited to show the best of people making children and teens think that there is something wrong with them. This can lead to anxiety, self-harm and depression.
I’ve seen children on social medias, such as Tumblr, posting and liking photos of depressing quotes on pictures of girls with scars on their arms and the anorexia accounts raving about how happy they are that their spines are finally peaking from the back of their bodies or how the anxiety remedy is to take a Lush bubble bath and listen to your favourite songs. There are girls that post online pictures of their ribs with a caption talking about how many days they’ve only had water and maybe an apple to eat and how pleased they are with the results. Children and teenagers are especially vulnerable and naïve, this makes mental illnesses seem cool and ‘trendy’. Such destructive behaviours have become normal, but it shouldn’t be. These illnesses are life threating and should not be promoted.
Figures obtained by BBC News from NHS Digital show a rise of more than 130% in those aged 19 and under suffering from eating disorders being admitted to hospital in England since 2011. In 2018 there were more than 2,000 admissions for children aged 15 or under - up by 163% on 2011. Surely these figures alone scream to us that we need to do something to help people with these awful illnesses instead of making them seem like something people want and aspire to have. It’s one thing to advertise helplines and services such as CAMHS – child and adolescent mental health service but it is not okay to promote these disorders as it makes it seem as if it’s normal to have depression and eating disorders. Nothing about that is normal and no one should think that it is.
As a society, we need to stop glorifying mental illnesses and deciding what people need to look like.
I think you need a more powerful, provocative conclusion.