Break body image standards


Graphic Sahana Sivarajan

Over half of the student body at Algonquin has experienced and/or has witnessed body shaming.

Sahana Sivarajan, Staff Writer

Some people are healthy, but they want a thinner body. Why? Is it for themselves or because of other people’s opinions on what the “ideal body” is?

Both body image stereotypes and toxic diet culture create unrealistic expectations. Many people think that only thin people are healthy, but that is not the case. One’s weight isn’t always an indicator for their health. Body shaming is a widespread problem that needs to be addressed more. It’s not only happening to high school students but also to middle school students.

According to a 2016 Yahoo Health survey of 2,000 people from the ages of 13 to 64, 94% of teenage girls reported felt shameful about their bodies, as well as 64% of teen boys. The study also shows that those negative feelings start at just 13 years old.

Senior Annabella Ferraiuolo has experienced body shaming both as a ballet dancer and as an Algonquin student. 

I think [body shaming] is something that people need to be aware of,” Ferraiuolo said. “Nobody talks about it. It’s a big issue, but talking about it will make it better. People shouldn’t feel unsafe for what they are wearing or what their body looks like. That’s not at all okay.”

Ferraiuolo isn’t the only one who has experienced body shaming; other Algonquin students have also dealt with it. According to a Harbinger survey released to Algonquin students from May 17 to May 19, 56% of the 188 surveyed students have experienced body shaming.

Graphic Sahana Sivarajan

Body shaming can lead to eating disorders. Some teens stop eating or go on extreme diets to try and fit in and be thinner, which is dangerous and can lead to severe illnesses. People, especially social media influencers who have had eating disorders, should raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders.

Anorexia is an eating disorder which causes people to obsess about weight and what they eat. Bulimia consists of a lot of binging and methods to avoid weight gain. Binge eating is another eating disorder which causes people to frequently consume unusual large amounts of food in one sitting. These eating disorders are dangerous and can cause massive damage to the vital organs: the brain and the heart.

Sadly, these eating disorders occur because the person wants to have the “ideal” body. 

Health and Fitness teacher Melissa Arvanigian teaches a unit to her classes that covers the “ideal” body image.

“People are so much more than a pretty face and a perfect body,” Arvanigian said.“If we could just be happy with what we have and be grateful, that would be enough.”

Diet companies are benefiting by creating broken promises and products that feed on people’s insecurities. One such product consists of the $68 waist trainer, made popular by the Kardashians. It compresses women’s figures into an hourglass shape. However, once people take the trainer off, most go back to their old eating habits.

By selling this kind of product, diet companies are creating broken promises to customers, who don’t end up with the permanent “ideal” body style. On top of this, even the idea of the “ideal” body is flawed because there is no ideal body style.

Not only do people buy reversible products to lose weight but also they go on toxic diet plans.

Zbysia Giegucz teaches Nutrition and Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Urban Gardening classes at Algonquin.

“There is a certain image for people to look like, unfortunately,” Giegucz said. “A lot of bad diets are out there in the world now.”

Giegucz’s main advice to people wanting to go on diets consists of cutting down portions and paying attention to consumption. Other advice from Geigucz directed to everyone is to make sure to eat all three meals, drink enough water throughout the day, do some sort of physical activity every day and make sure to eat all five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

Some individuals exercise and diet based on peer pressure. People should be happy with what they were born with, but if they are not, then it’s totally fine to change their appearance. However, this should only be for themselves and not for others.BrB

If you hear someone laughing at or body shaming someone else, stand up by speaking out. You can change your life to be happier with your body. Embrace all bodies and normalize them by speaking out about your own experiences with your body. 

At the end of the day, all bodies are normal, and people shouldn’t feel uncomfortable just for looking “different” than others. Many people, including myself, have witnessed and dealt with body shaming. People should know that they are not alone. Everyone is their own kind of beautiful!