The fast fashion company Fashion Nova has dominated the social media site Instagram for the past few years. As a result, the models who are wearing these items are an unrealistic inspiration to many young girls. Fashion Nova has perpetuated the “ideal body type” and has ruined the body image of millions of girls.
With the changes that the teenage female body constantly goes through, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself and eventually pushing yourself into a self-inflicted depression. Whether we want to admit it or not, social media shapes our concept of beauty. As a culture, we are consumed with images online and with the relatively short attention span that our generation has, it is easy to base our self-perception strictly on what’s pushed in our faces. Brands like Fashion Nova intensify our insecurities and make us desire to be “Nova Babes.”
Fairfax High School senior Dulce Vera expressed her feelings on Fashion Nova and social media as a whole.
“I am continuously growing into myself and have always been secure within myself and the way I looked as a child, but seeing these bodies that are manufactured all around me is affecting me, as much as I don’t want to admit it,” said Vera. “It affects all of us. We are slaves to the images we see. Fashion Nova is a part of the perception that we as consumers see as a reality of the body type that we need to be desirable and successful.”
Last year was the year of the body, where three of the top five surgical procedures focused on the body, and increased indefinitely. According to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 12,000 more liposuction procedures performed in 2018 than in 2017, while breast augmentations increased by four percent. There were also surges in other body-sculpting procedures like buttock augmentations and thigh lifts.
“Liposuction continues to be the gold standard in body contouring because of its versatility, efficiency and effectiveness,” said ASPS President Alan Matarasso, MD on the Society’s website. “With liposuction, one treatment may be all you need to reshape problem areas.” Unfortunately, women are feeling more pressured to change their bodies to meet unrealistic expectations imposed by men.
Many girls think that their self esteem starts in the mirror, but it really starts in their minds. Adolescents with negative body image concerns are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal than those without intense dissatisfaction over their appearance, even when compared to adolescents with other psychiatric illnesses, according to a new study by researchers at Bradley Hospital, Butler Hospital and Brown Medical School reported on the website NeatToday.org.
There is a link between poor mental health and poor body image, and people develop an obsession with their flaws and want to change their bodies. Numerous studies have linked exposure to the thin ideal in mass media to body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and disordered eating among women.
View Park High School student and aspiring model Janelle Stevens spoke to the Oarsman about her problems with eating and obsession with being skinny.
“I had anorexia for about three and a half years trying to become slim enough to pursue my modeling career, and I didn’t even realize how much I was damaging myself at the time,” she said. “A few skipped meals turned into days without eating anything, and if it wasn’t for my mom noticing my dramatic weight loss, I would probably still be starving myself. All I wanted was to be like those beautiful girls on the runway, but I have to mend my relationship with my body first. That’s what’s most important.”
It is truly unfortunate that the young women and men of today are being collectively swayed to believe that their bodies in their natural state is not “cute enough” based on the number of likes that a post gets. They measure their self worth by clicks, and they evaluate their wardrobe by the endorsements they see from their favorite celebrities and Instagram influencers.
Girls are becoming life-size Barbie dolls, getting alterations to fit a certain aesthetic popularized by the models and artists they idolize. Those who are the most impressionable, which are teenage girls, think that they need to have their beauty injected in them slightly near the lip to remove the developing laugh lines or in their hips to add volume to their figure. The common misconception that body modifications are necessary evils, and without them, girls are not worthy of love or attention.