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  • Jaya Bohlmann

Unrealistic Beauty Standards Cause Eating Disorders Among College Students

By Shannon Goodwin, ROSES Ambassador


As students adjust to a new lifestyle at college, this may give rise to several different mental health concerns, especially in the current climate of our society. Chief among these issues are eating disorders, a prominent struggle among college students as they relocate and restructure their lives. While some students feel excited to start a new chapter, others can feel incredibly overwhelmed and deeply lost, and that is when eating disorders become a serious issue. The media has been instrumental in raising awareness about eating disorders, specifically among college students, and ways to help. On the other hand, however, the media is also a large reason for the perpetuation of unrealistic beauty standards. The media tends to highlight celebrities that have the “perfect” body and look, when this look can only be achieved by having professional work done. The regular person, especially college students, cannot obtain the looks that these millionaire celebrities have, yet the media continues to grant praise around these celebrities and these looks. In a society heavily focused on social media such as ours, it can be incredibly difficult for anyone to constantly be forced to look at these celebrities' unachievable looks and compare themselves to them. On top of that, as a college student, when you are in an incredibly transformative time in your life, this type of media coverage can contribute to some deep insecurities. News Medical states that the risk of developing an eating disorder may “be higher for adolescents and young adults who spend more time on social media and have accounts on multiple platforms.” (https://www.news-medical.net/health/Eating-Disorders-and-Social-Media.aspx#:~:text=Take%2Dhome%20message,have%20accounts%20on%20multiple%20platforms.)

College students, who tend to spend a large amount of time on social media, feel the pressure to look like the celebrities that the media highlights. Subsequently, this drives many college students to try to control and alter their eating habits to achieve this look. As beauty standards are set by the media and the celebrities they choose to praise, I believe a bigger conversation needs to be had. Those who have had work done, should not deny it and pretend that their look is something realistic and achievable for anyone. Getting any work done is not the problem, all people are entitled to do what they wish when it comes to their appearance, however, what is wrong is the denial and hiding of this fact. Society needs to take the first step- eliminating the narrative that getting work done is shameful. In doing so, this can open the floor for celebrities to be more honest with the public, allowing the beauty standard to shift to something more realistic. With these steps taken, college students will feel much more comfortable and secure with themselves and understand that they cannot and should not compare themselves to something unrealistic. This will take the significant pressure off of these students and allow them to appreciate who they are and what they look like, rather than go to great lengths, such as eating disorders, to change themselves.


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Dec 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great article on an important topic.

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Guest
Dec 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great read

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