Low self esteem is a large factor in a teenager’s future life. Parents shake their heads and say, “They’re just going through a faze.” Friends and peers either console or goad. Teachers ignore because of an inability to help. A teen with a bad body image has nowhere to turn. Several reasons for low self esteem are: the media, pre-existing stereotypes, and what a person has been treated like. Low self esteem can be physically and mentally damaging.
A leading cause of low self esteem is the negative expectations of the media. Tabloids attack celebrities when they step outside the “Pretty Borders”. TV shows like “America’s Next Top Model” say “Be perfect of lose”. Ads show young, skinny and strong, attractive men and women as happy. These physical expectations, when unreachable, can cause a teen to think of themselves as flawed and may cause them to harm their bodies.
Stereotypes have existed since men became hunters and women, gatherers and child bearers. Woman had to look young, healthy, and attractive to get a mate. Men had to be strong, good hunters. The urge and pressure to be perfect created corsets, makeup, and over-priced exercise equipment. Being pretty is supposed to make you happy. Sometimes it does and the stereotype “proves” true.
Not all self esteem problems are about how you look. If a person has been told all their life that they are stupid and worthless, they will undoubtedly believe it. Most of the time, they don’t even realize it’s a problem. The message is so deeply ingrained in their brain that they don’t notice it. Though sometimes they do realize it and become defensive and guarded, scared that everyone thinks they are stupid or worthless.
Low self esteem affects many, many teens. I think this is because teenagers undergo so many changes during puberty. Everyone gets taller and gain weight. Girl’s hips get wider. Voices change. All those changes and all those hormones can really freak a person out. The changes are to sudden and it makes them feel awkward and uncomfortable. They blame themselves and their bodies. Thus, low self esteem.
Low self esteem is not a “phase.” It is an emotional problem that can permanently affect a person’s life. There are not always outward signs of inner turmoil and confusion. If you do notice, be supportive as hating yourself is lonely business. Low self esteem is a serious problem that, when ignored, can only fester and grow. A teens low self esteem can permanently and negatively affect them physically and mentally their whole life.