100,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking. That is 1/640 of the entire population. I’m sure most of us have easily talked to 640 people in the last year – think of friends, relatives, people at school, shop assistants, and supermarket checkout workers… Can you imagine every year, one of them dying and their cigarette habit being to blame?
I used to associate smoking with middle aged, or older people… Almost all of my grandparents and older family members smoked, and I saw it as quite a generational thing – in their teens (the 40s, 50s and 60s) smoking was highly glamourized and seen as really ‘cool’, and I did not believe this was still the case. As kids in my school year grew older, of course some of them smoked and got into drinking, but it wasn’t until college that a trend begun. No different to other schools I’m sure; we now have a whole ‘gang’ of smokers. They meet up in a large group (sometimes over 30 people), swap cigarettes and also sell them, they often do the same with drugs too. I would say now (Year 11) that almost ½ of my year (360 kids) have tried smoking.
We all know chocolate can be addictive, but recent research has exposed just how severely we can become hooked on the substance. A group of researchers in an American College put to the test the effects Oreo biscuits had on the brain in comparison to the effect Cocaine had on the brain. To much surprise, it was actually revealed that Oreos activated ‘significantly more neurones’ in the brain than Cocaine did, concluding that high fat and high sugar foods can be extremely addictive, to a similar degree that drugs can be.[i]
As we all know, addiction can be dangerous. Our body begins to rely on the substance at hand, and we end up consuming it super regularly and gradually tend to need more and more of it in order to get the same consequences. Chocolate and sugars work exactly like that – it tastes great, so we eat it and we eat some more and our body becomes reliant and hooked on it.
The issue of girl’s body image has always been talked about, images of perfect girls such as Barbie’s or princess gather criticism whereas a blind eye is shown to the boy who feels under pressure to achieve an idealised figure of a “prince.”
Young boys’ perception of what a man looks like is being flooded with big sexualised muscular figures that are so called “role models” that feature across magazine covers, music videos, television, and social media. Leaving boys with the belief that they don’t measure up to the media ideal, feeling like they need to bulk up.
Before boys even reach school age they already have an ideology that they should be big, dominant, and muscular. With cases of boys who worry about their looks starting as young as age six. I don’t think the traditional social norm that boys are only concerned about sports and games is still true. And yet as a society we ignore the sensitivity that young boys are presenting. If a girl was to starve herself in order to look skinny it would gather concern and help, yet nothing is said to the boy that asks for seconds and thirds in order to get big.
Globally, there is a LOT of focus on sport. We have a large sports section in almost every newspaper, thousands of different national and international sports competitions going on each year like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup and each child grows up doing compulsory Physical Education lessons for many years at school.
This is all, especially the latter, very important – encouraging and advertising fitness is definitely a good thing, and for a younger generation that is becoming less physically fit and more technologically fit doing sport is absolutely necessary.
Although this is true, and is likely to have been the initial intention of the sporting industry, overtime things have changed. Take sports events like the Olympics for example – hugely advertised and broadcasted across the whole world, but what they are showing is not a group of people coming together to represent their country in a fun or enjoyable game of sport, it’s a group of people coming together to win a title or trophy. Having watched many of these events on the television, participants really do push their bodies right to the very limits – sometimes quite horrible injuring themselves – in order to win the gold. And with millions of people’s opinions of you hanging in the balance you really do want to go for it.
What young women accept as normal today is devastating.
I wouldn’t say this is any kind of realisation as such, as the fact stated above is obvious in hundreds of different ways, and I could give thousands of examples that back it up, but what really hit me the other day – was just how serious the affect of this has.
Every girl is the key holder to what happens around her, and there is absolutely no way abuse could occur if we did not allow it, and for some they may even want it. After all, you couldn’t ask for stronger evidence to prove you are not worth love.
Recently I attended a presentation, and something was said that really struck a chord for me, it was the idea that many people around the world believe that abuse is in no way acceptable, but put up four walls around them and it’s perfectly fine to yell, hit, scream and do things they would NEVER do in public, because – well, the walls make ‘all the difference’.
Before you start thinking that this is a story about domestic abuse, or even a confession – it isn’t, but that cannot be completely dismissed, as I certainly have been the perpetrator of abuse, but in what is seen so ‘normal’ as society that you wouldn’t actually believe it is called that.
I was recently reading an article on the Guardian Newspaper about how emotional problems in British School girls aged 11 to 13 has increased by 55% between 2009 and 2014. Although I go to school and witness this in action almost every day, the statistic still shocked me.
I thought about what the cause could be for this; in the article the writer connects this problem to social media, and body dissatisfaction. In my opinion the greater reason is young girls’ expectations of themselves, which THEN affects how they feel towards their bodies, lives, families, and friends.
I agree that social media plays a huge part in this. I mean the amount of photos shared by girls that are #hairgoals, #bodygoals, #relationshipgoals, #bestfriendgoals is slightly insane. Although in the past I’ve certainly never seen it as a very big deal, I realise just how much girls look outside of themselves and compare to other people. They are constantly seeing photos of other girls, and seeing what they have as ‘better’ – as their goal.
Picture this. A boy and a girl are sat a table for dinner with their parents. When serving, the girl is told not to fill her plate too high – her parents assure her she does not want to feel bloated in the morning or put on too much weight. No comment is made while the boy serves. They sit down, and enjoy dinner. Following, when the boy is done, his dad exclaims that he did not eat much, and encourages him to have seconds or thirds – he is a ‘growing man’ after all. The girl watches this with confusion – she is growing too, so why is it that even one plate is apparently ‘too much food’ for her? The meal commences; the girl may still be hungry, and the boy may be stuffed; yet the happy faces of their parents confirm that they have done the right thing.
So what’s going on here?
So coffee has never been something I have ever really liked - give me cakes, sweets, or even icing sugar strait from the packet and I’d be set, but coffee just never did anything for me. I used to drink it when I was younger because I saw it as an ‘adult’ thing to do, like being able to drive and having a job, but I could only handle about a half shot with flavoured syrup and a kilo of sugar to mask the taste. And for me it was always decaf, because even that made me feel kind of hot and weird and off the wall, if only for a few minutes, and then it would make me feel like curling up in a ball and taking a nap – not the affect its supposed to have, and certainly not what other people seemed to be experiencing.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.