This can give kids crippling self image issues. This isn't quite what happened to me though. Don't get me wrong I had issues with how I looked (and still do to this day), but it wasn't nasty comments on the playground that gave me low self- esteem. It was my own opinion of myself. I remember looking in the mirror at age 10 and thinking that I should go on a diet and lose weight. I stood there for what must have been hours and pinched at my hamster cheeks and barely there stomach. As far as I know it's not normal for a 10 year old to think 'I can't wait until I'm older and I can go on a diet' but that was how my mind worked. Then came the teenage years I read all the magazines with skinny, impossibly beautiful girls with the perfect hair and the expensive clothes and the boy on her arm. There was a point where I would have done anything to be one of those girls. I remember going dress shopping for my prom in 2009 and when a size 10 didn't fit I was almost reduced to tears. I was looking through the rails insisting to my Mum that 'I cannot be a size 12 Mum, I'm not. I can't be that big. I can't be fat.' Obviously I'm aware now that a 12 is so far from fat but in that moment the number might as well have been 80.
I'm a strong believer that being skinny does not mean you're beautiful and being bigger does not mean you're ugly but this is something the media very rarely covers. Magazines will write stories every now and then with titles like 'curves are in', 'men love curves, and 'sexy curves are back' and their article will consist of pictures of beautiful curvy women. Then you turn the page. And the rest of the magazine is full of pages of women who look like they haven't eaten in months and are bordering on anorexic. To me, that made me feel like they just wanted to sell a few more issues. As long as the media are so closed minded about the influence they have over young girl's minds no real progress will be made here. Eventually I figured out that if I'm happy with how I look then I don't care what anyone else thinks.