Ultra-slim starlets Mary-Kate Olsen and Paris Hilton are viewed as “too thin” by teenage girls, while Beyoncé’s bootylicious curves score high on their list, according to a recent report by Teen People magazine.
The magazine released the results of its first-ever body image survey on Friday (July 1), to be published in its August 2005 issue. More than 1,500 girls, ages 13-18, participated in the study, which takes an in-depth look at how teen girls view themselves and what influences their physical self-image.
The study found that a majority (55 percent) of teens polled feel confident about their bodies, while 17 percent said they feel confident all the time and 27 percent said they “hardly ever” feel satisfied.
Pop culture and the media have a significant influence on teenage girls’ perception of beauty, according to the study. More than half (58 percent) said the appearance of models in magazines and actresses on television and film are the leading factors that cause girls to feel insecure about their looks. However, parents, and not the media, were cited as the ones most likely to pressure girls to lose weight. In fact, the survey notes than one in three teenage girls had been pressured by a parent to drop the pounds. Also, 53 percent said they felt they weigh too much, with 43 percent saying they weigh “just right.”
As far as celebrities are concerned, the teens said stars like Mary-Kate and Paris are too skinny; while Hilary Duff, Kelly Osbourne and Beyoncé have figures that are more representative of the average woman’s body type.
Despite makeover reality shows frequently depicting teen girls getting plastic surgery (“Extreme Makeover,” “I Want a Famous Face,” etc.), 74 percent of girls said they have not had plastic surgery and would not consider it. Twenty-five percent admitted to thinking about having work done, but only 1 percent had actually gone under the knife. Most girls who contemplated plastic surgery wanted to get liposuction, but the most common procedure actually performed on teen girls is a nose job.
The Teen People survey also found that ethnicity factors into how teen girls view their bodies. Hispanic girls scored the lowest (30 percent) in satisfaction with their body image, with whites coming in a close second at 31 percent. Black girls, however, were the happiest with their bodies, topping the list at 51 percent.