What I Regrettably Learned From America’s Next Top Model
May 10, 2012 in body image
Unfortunately, I used to watch American’s Top Model frequently when I was about thirteen. I saw women fighting to be absolutely flawless – not one extra pound of fat, not one blemish, not one character flaw. They were fighting to be the best, and the best was rewarded with a modeling contract. American’s Next Top Model encouraged me to place my highest priorities on being beautiful, skinny, and perfect, not to be happy, comfortable with myself, or creative. It encouraged me to be someone I wasn’t. The smiling models tried to persuade me that happiness came with beauty – the cameras never showed meltdowns, unhappiness, or struggle. “Smile for the camera, you’re trying to convince young and vulnerable girls that beauty is everything!”
I remember one episode when the models were acting as if another model was sacrificing her modeling career because she was eating candy one evening. In the first episode of another they labeled a size two model “plus size”. I bought into these messages – I thought that was how women should act – we shouldn’t eat food. I remember watching American’s Top Model after school without realizing the messages I was being taught. We learn how to act from the external world. I can safety say that watching American’s Top Model, among other things, caused a lot of struggle regarding my body image and being comfortable with myself. It took a lot of reading and soul searching to heal from the damage it had caused. I’m thankful for every day I’m not watching this show.