Young Students Pressured to have Bodies Like Those of Celebrities

April 22, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. rigorous 
[RIG-er-uh s] (adj.) – very strict, extreme, or harsh
Example: The rigorous training Cherry received helped her win the competition.

2. self-esteem [SELF-i-STEEM, self-] (n.) – self-respect or satisfaction over one’s self
Example: Constant criticisms from her parents lowered Sheila’s self-esteem.

3. insecure [in-si-KYOO R] (adj.) – not confident about one’s self and abilities
Example: Jane went on a diet because she was feeling insecure about her body.

4. airbrush [AIR-bruhsh] (v.) – (In digital arts) to change or enhance looks using a photo editing software (e.g. smoothing the skin, trimming the waist, etc.)
Example: The model’s photo was airbrushed so she can look thinner.

5. misery [MIZ-uh-ree] (n.) – a state of being unhappy and depressed
Example: Being called ‘fat’ all his life caused the teenager’s great misery.

Read the text below.

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in the UK found that children as young as four are already feeling pressured to have a 'perfect' body.

Children nowadays are padding their bras with tissues, not eating fatty foods such as cheese and doing rigorous exercises to look better. The survey, which involved school teachers, also revealed that some children even develop anorexia due to pressure from peers.

Majority of the teachers said that low self-esteem occurs among the girls and that many of the young girls already go on a diet.

But, teachers observed that not only the girls feel pressured to look good. According to half of the teachers, boys also feel insecure about their bodies. In fact, many of the boys give so much importance to comments about their bodies. A third of the teachers also know that some boys do extreme exercises.

Also, according to 57 percent of the staff, most of the girls aim to have Rihanna’s figure. Young boys, on the other hand, want to look like Harry Styles, said 40 percent of the teachers.

Teachers worry on how today’s 10-year-old girls desire to be thin by going on a diet. One teacher even heard four to five-year-old students saying that they can’t eat cheese because they are afraid to get fat.

According to Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, young people are pressured to have body images like those of airbrushed celebrities shown in the media. Sadly, pressure from friends and the media may lead to a child’s misery.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Who do you think affects a child’s body image more: her family or the media? Why?
·         How can we help kids be more confident with their body image?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, why do some magazines edit the bodies and appearances of movie stars?
·         Would you want to change any part of your body? Why or why not?


April 22, 2013