Negative self image


Paige Coakley

Graphic by Paige Coakley

She stands hunched over, glaring at the reflection shown in the mirror. She pokes at the flabby skin she sees as unappealing. She pulls at the extra tissue pooled around her thighs because she can’t stand the fact that the skin is there. She pulls hard enough to leave a bruise.

In her mind, she has a million different thoughts running through her head. Every thought is negative and awful.

“I’m not pretty,” she tells herself. “I’m not pretty. I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough.”

She looks at the beautiful model plastered on the front cover of the latest trendy magazine.

She sees the perfectly tan skin, the perfectly white, straight teeth, the expertly crafted tight stomach displayed for all to see.

She thinks to herself “I will never look like that.” And again, she starts to poke and prod her own skin, never feeling comfortable

She knows the picture is fabricated, but it doesn’t matter, that is what the public wants, that is what her peers strive for.

Nothing less than perfect is acceptable.

Perfection is size two, straight hair, long legs, an ample chest, pearl white teeth and a face full of make-up.

According to, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to young people and social change “91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting, 58 percent of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight, and 95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.”

Based on research done by Health Research Funding, “81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being of being fat” and “42 percent of girls [in] first through third grades want to be thinner.”

Back in front of that mirror, she sees a girl too big. Her nose is too wide, her eyebrows too bushy, her hair too frizzy, and her fat tissue seeable.

Her breasts are disproportional, her forearms to flabby, her waist round and full, her stomach scarred with stretch marks. Moreover, she thinks to herself “I am ugly.”

She will never look like the girl on that cover, and she is ashamed of that. She will never be a size 8, let alone a size 2, and she hates herself for that.

All she sees are commercials advertising for her to lose weight, to become perfection, because she is not now.

It does not matter that she has a 3.8 GPA. She doesn’t care that she has awards for many different things like sports or arts. It does not matter that her parents love her and treat her right.

What only matter, is that she hates the person she sees every morning staring back at her.

What matters is that this girl is all of us. This girl represents the thoughts of everyone. This girl represents me.