By Alejandra Rojas
The most exciting thing about school coming to end isn’t the fact that there won’t be any homework to do and that there won’t be a need to wake up for classes, but it’s the thought of lying around the pool is just around the corner.
Swimwear season is here and every mall around the world will have racks with colorful swimsuits and Hawaiian-style swim trunks ready for college students with a must needed vacation. Students will crack bottles of sunscreen, the dust on the Jet Ski will be cleaned off, beach balls will be ready to be bounced back and forth and colorful towels will invade every swimming pool, lake, beach and ocean. But the amount of money spent during the summer isn’t due to the time of the year, but instead it is spent in order to draw attention. Attention to what? It’s not to finding the perfect swimsuit or to getting the right girl. It’s having the perfect body image.
Students strive to have the perfect body. To look thin, fit and to have abs. Oh, the six pack can drive anyone crazy. The reality is, students go on diets in an unhealthy way to “fit” in and to achieve their version of a perfect summer.
PBS showed a documentary titled “In the Mix Self Image, the Fantasy the Reality.” In the documentary various students were interviewed and asked what they thought the perfect body image was according to them. According to the men who were interviewed, men are obsessed with matching the media’s image of “diesel” male bodies. The way for them to achieve this is by using steroids. Statistics show that one million teenage boys have eating disorders and as many as 400,000 are steroid users. And while steroids may be an answered prayer, it’s not the key to having a wonderful life. There might be a chance at the best summer, but later on steroids will cause acne, lower sperm count and make testicles smaller.
Doesn’t sound like the perfect body image, right? More often than not students worry about working their tails off with extraneous activities to look thin, forget to eat, worry about body weight and never realize they are damaging not only their bodies, but mentally will have anxiety and depression.
Students from the University of Colorado at Boulder conducted a research in women wellness and found that young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents. They also discovered that in 1970 the average age of a girl who started dieting was 14, by 1990 the average dieting age fell to eight.
Surprising enough dieting is something that happens on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. One out of three women and one out of four men are on a diet at any given time. Two thirds of dieters regain the weight within one year and virtually all regain it within five years.
No one ever stops to think about the number of people who worry about having the right body image and all for the wrong reasons. Everyone strives to have a six pack. When the coaches have us do crunches during soccer practice, swimwear season is in the back of my head. So why are we so obsessed with looking good. Why don’t we appreciate our bodies? It can be hard, but our bodies are ours. Everyone has the right to diet, to work out or not work out, everyone should be aware of the dangers diets may cause. Don’t let the diet be in control, but rather control the diet. Exercise and eat in a healthy way. But most importantly be happy.
Yes, the beaching will be calling and swimsuits will be worn and they will be shown off by everyone. In order to have fun, fat shouldn’t be in the back of any ones head. Remember that thoughts are choices and that those choices determine reality. So this summer, instead of sulking about the perfect body image determine the reality of students full of laughter, splashing in by the pool and playing water polo.
Alejandra Rojas is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.