Tweed youth are feeling pressure to look perfect

Mari Beth Rabano and Brian Greenfield are comfortable with their bodies Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Mari Beth Rabano and Brian Greenfield are comfortable with their bodies Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News Blainey Woodham

YOUNG people from the Tweed are fighting body image issues and constant pressure to look perfect.

With non-stop portrayals by the media of what we should look like, young men and women around the Tweed reported pressure to stay a certain size, or look a certain way.

Young woman are finding it necessary to diet constantly and over-exercise to maintain the perfectly toned body they think it is normal.

While men are tending to stress about muscle mass and how big they appear, often training for large periods of the day and neglecting other aspects of their lives.

Indeeka Short is a healthy and happy 18-year-old from Tweed Heads, and she was worried about how many of her peers viewed their bodies.

"You can't be perfect," she said.

"If everyone walked around looking the same it'd be really boring."

Ms Short blamed body image issues on the media and bullying.

"It's TV and magazines, which are airbrushed," she said.

"And all the bullying."

The Tweed teen suggested "Not worrying about what people say and being yourself", but understood it was difficult for some people.

When we asked Ms Short if she felt pressure to look a certain way, she was quite down-to-earth.

"I don't want to be really skinny, I like some curves," she said.

Brian Greenfield from Palm Beach is just your normal guy of average weight, but he was happy with his looks.

He said that young adults were worrying too much about their body, and suggested some had it worse than others.

"It's the kids who maybe aren't so fit who are going through the dilemma," he said.

Mr Greenfield pointed the finger at the media and the area's emphasis on looks over brains.

"They always have pressure to look a certain way," he said.

"It's crazy."

His partner Mari Beth Rabano agreed and encouraged young people to enjoy their bodies, no matter the shape or size.

The Butterfly Foundation offers support for people with eating disorders, and their spokesperson said young people were being bombarded by negative influences.

"There is enormous pressure coming from multiple sources. If you think of a young person at the centre of multiple circles, each circle is a layer of influence that is connected to them on a day-to-day basis, with parents and friends the closest influence," they said.

"Environmental factors include negative body image talking, body idolisation of celebrities, peer group opinion and unrealistic body shapes and sizes being portrayed by the media.

Negative body image is a strong contributor to developing a clinical eating disorder."

According to the Butterfly Foundation 9% of Australians are affected by an eating disorder at some stage in their life.

If you need help or support for any eating disorder or body image issue, please call the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673 or email

Topics:  body image

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