Students feel pressure to attain a “perfect summer body”


Sydney Kinzy

Protein World launched an ad last year stating that their products would transform someone’s body into a “beach ready body.” The ads faced backlash on Twitter and with graffiti covering calling for people to love themselves.

Summer is coming, and excitement is in the air.  Along with that, girls work hard to get a “perfect bikini body” while guys attempt to get a nice “six pack.”

“You’re at the pool more and out wearing shorts all the time while in the winter you wear pants and sweatshirts. In the summer, you wear less because it’s hot,” freshman Karly Tyree said. “I feel like there’s a lot of people talking about how summer is coming up and that you need to get ready for your summer body.”

According to a Pathfinder survey, only 10.7 percent of students do not feel societal pressure to achieve a “perfect body.”

“I do feel society is pressuring people. I try to not let it influence me as much as I can. I want to be my own person, I don’t want to be like everyone else and live to a certain standard,” freshman Matthew Showers said.

In the summer, teenagers reported having higher stress with their body image.

“It’s mostly in advertising with commercials that are saying, Get your summer body ready! I feel like a lot of girls are thinking, Man, I need to start working out. It’s a good motivation, but it’s also a time of year a lot of girls feel bad about themselves and don’t feel confident in the summer when they wear swimsuits,” junior Emily Bauer said.

Last year, a campaign launched by Dove attacked advertisements that talked about getting a “beach ready body.” The ad featured women of different ethnicities and different body types, saying “Yes. We are beach body ready.”

Over half of the students at West have felt unconfident about their bodies in the past.

“There are points in my life where I would just look at other people people and want to be like that,” Bauer said. “All I can really do is be comfortable with myself and get myself to where I want to be, so I can work out harder, but I can only do so much of what I can do. The rest of that is just self confidence.”

Luckily for those who want to work out, the summer months bring warmer weather and activities such as swimming or biking are recreational opportunities to do so.

“If you want to change, you can work hard at it, but just don’t be ashamed of what you look like or who you are,” Showers said. “As long as you love your own body, that is a perfect body.”

However, students with eating disorders will go to extreme lengths to achieve a “perfect body,” from binge eating to starving themselves.

“I am attempting to recover from anorexia,” an anonymous student wrote to the Pathfinder. “I was determined to have a perfect body, and many health complications came along with it. I now know I am perfect no matter how I look on the outside.”

But no matter what weight someone is, they still have the power to feel beautiful.

“If you want to be different, then you can go for it, but don’t make the comparison of yourself to someone else,” Bauer said. “Make it about comparing yourself to be. Compare yourself to who you want to be and compare yourself to who you were in the past.”