Teens pick the best bodies
By Alexa Baracaia, Evening Standard
5 January 2004
Nine out of ten British teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies - and believe thinner girls have more friends, it emerged today. A new study shows that, despite the best efforts of health professionals, young women are more obsessed than ever with losing weight and are convinced that being thin is the key to being happy and popular.
They consider Britney Spears has the best female body, but the perfect woman is a combination of Rachel Stevens (face), Christina Aguilera (breasts and stomach), Beyonce (legs), J-Lo (bottom) and Britney (arms).
A quarter of 14-year-old girls say they have "considered having plastic surgery" or taking diet pills to achieve an 'ideal' waiflikephysique.
And despite the rise of larger stars, including Kelly Osbourne, Pink and Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus, most teenage girls view such celebrities as having the "worst" kind of female body.
Despite the fact that only 19 per cent of teenage girls are actually overweight, a staggering 67 per cent feel they need to lose at least half a stone. Nearly two-thirds of girls under 13 have been on a diet.
Almost threequarters of teenage girls think thin girls are "more popular" and "more attractive to boys", while 66 per cent say they are "depressed" that they cannot attain the looks of their celebrity idol.
The problem is rife in London and the south east, where just four per cent are happy with their body and 62 per cent - nearly 20 per cent above the national average - believe they would be happier if they were thinner. Britney Spears is named by the girls surveyed - whose average age is 14 - as the top female to aspire to.
And they say the "perfect" specimen would be comprised of former S-Club 7 star Rachel Stevens' face, Britney's arms, Christina Aguilera's breasts and stomach and Beyonce's legs.
Probably the only heartening aspect of the survey is that the fullerfigured J-Lo's bottom is voted most perfect rear, while the siliconeenhanced Jordan is denounced as having one of the worst bodies.
The study, commissioned by magazine Bliss, questioned 2,000 teenaged girls across the UK.
It found that, regardless of huge publicity about the dangers of eating disorders, teens are still being affected by their own mothers' continuing anxiety about their weight as much as the skinny cult of celebrity.
Nine out of ten girls who say they are "unhappy" with their body say their mothers are insecure about their weight.
"Female body image obsession has grown year on year since the sixties and it's now reached epidemic proportions, filtering down to young girls," said Bliss editor Helen Johnston. "Teenage girls look to their mums for guidance only to see them continually worrying about their own body shape and size.
Now many girls of 13 and 14 are dieting constantly at an age when their bodies are still developing.
"It's tragic that even girls of a normal weight want to be skinny. They are driving themselves mad trying to achieve unrealistic bodies that even supermodels won't lay claim to."
This just goes to show the terrible influence people like Beyonce/J-Lo and Britney are having on teenage girls. And it also shows they are popular because of their body parts. Yes, it's not their music or "talent" because they don't have any but because fans see that they have nice body parts. Very sad.