By: Chantelle Rideout

   "Don't judge a book by its cover." That is a quote that people say all the time, but obviously don't think about the meaning. Teens are always judging and being judged by the way they look. They try so hard to change the way they look, because that's what teen image says they need to do. Teen image is a superficial image of the perfect teen that teens will go to extremes to achieve.
The reason we have teen image is because of the media. The media has created an image of the perfect teen. It has done so by using pop stars, airbrushed models, and Barbie dolls. Teens, mostly girls, see those images and are lured into the trap of thinking that they need to look like that. The media seems to be saying that if you don't have shiny hair, perfect skin, a tiny waist, and a big bra size you have to change something about yourself. You are not good enough. Teens tend to think that they need to change or they won't be accepted, or wanted by the opposite sex. Teens are constantly seeing gorgeous images on television, movies, and in magazines that they feel they need to look like. The media sends these messages, but do they realize how unrealistic they really are? Even the ugliest girl in the movies can turn beautiful at the end. Real life is not like that. Nobody is perfect; therefore nobody can achieve the perfect "teen image."
The things teens will do to achieve teen image can be very extreme. Teen girls may get breast implants or other plastic surgeries, while teen boys may turn to steroids. A magazine never has a model that is not skinny, or a male who is not well built. Many teens turn to eating disorders. A lot of the time they feel that because of their size they are not good enough. They feel that other people are better than them because they have nicer bodies. They may turn to eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. They can hurt themselves very badly, and even kill themselves by doing this. Not everyone goes to a dangerous extreme for teen image, but it's safe to say that everyone has changed something about themselves to fit the teen image or just to fit in.
Fitting in, that's what it's all about. The media practically screams, "This is what you should look like!" In junior high and high school, fitting in is all teens’ want. They just want to look like the teen image, like that perfect model or star. Teens think that if they achieve this unreachable goal, they will be accepted.
Not only that, girls and guys compare each other to the image of the perfect teen. Everyone cares so much about what others think of them, and the way they look. Nobody seems to care about who you are, what you like, what you believe, or your personality at all! Beauty is supposed to come from the inside, but everyone proves that saying wrong. According to the way our superficial culture acts, beauty is all about what's on the outside!
In conclusion, teens are putting way too much time, energy, and money into their appearances. The media is influencing teens into thinking they need to be carbon copies of their stick-thin, perfect models. Teens waste their life trying to achieve this stereotypical image that is impossible to reach. They try and change so much about the way they look. They don't realize that they are spending their life trying to change who they are, and they are never going to have a chance to be themselves.