Students battle body image

Victims of body negativity explain how they overcame it


by Melissa Bushong, graphic by Chloe Meredith

Senior Trinity Cline-Smith and sophomore Aaron Gallagher hold signs displaying things they have been self-conscious about in the past.

Jazlynn Stone, Reporter

From inside the school walls, to home, to social media, teenagers can encounter some form of influence on body image each day. To some, this is all one can think about.

“People shouldn’t worry about (body image), but a lot of people tend to, because they get bullied,” sophomore Aaron Gallagher said. “I, myself was bullied over my weight,”

With numerous influences from fellow students, teens who struggle with body image have found it is up to them to change their view of themselves, not society’s view of them.

According to Gallagher, body image is  more about someone’s confidence than their physical appearance. He had had a few experiences with negative body image, and made drastic efforts to change not only his view of himself, but the direct source of his problem: his body.

Other students would even call him “nasty” names, mainly  targeting his weight.

Gallagher says he eventually stopped caring about what others thought of him, started making friends again, continued on with his everyday life and even began to dress nicely to make himself feel good.

Even after changing his style and his own image of his body, he says he found solace in church, where he grew past the negativity from others.

“I even started going to church,”  Gallagher said. “(There), I started to learn how to treat people better than how they treated me.”

Gallagher is not alone. According to , 40% of women and 20% of men said they would take plastic surgery to “fix” their bodies. Even 58% of college women feel pressured about their weight, according to

Senior Trinity Cline-Smith has her own views and experiences of body negativity, stemming from dealing with her weight as a child. She believes that you shouldn’t base your appearance on not how others see you but, how you see yourself.

“Body image is how you see yourself, but in society body image is how others see you,” Cline-Smith said.

Even as a child Cline-Smith had come to clash with her weight as a young girl and her parents’ “tough love” that had both a positive and negative affect in her life. She says although, they had her best interest in mind, it proved no help to her in her body image.

“As a little kid, (my parents) were always worried that I was going to get chubby as I got older,” Cline-Smith said, “Instead of helping me in a loving way, they would put me down.”

Although Cline-Smith says tough love from her parents did not help as much as it could,  she says that made her into the person she is today.

SHS senior Emily Patrick has also came a long way from changing her own body image. She says she lacked the most confidence in her weight.

According to Patrick, she began to change her body for herself in middle school. Patrick got more active, obtained a gym membership and even played volleyball to stay in shape over the years.

“I was tired of feeling insecure,” Patrick said.

Between all three students they had one thing in common, they changed not because of someone else, but for themselves. Gallagher found love in himself, and treated others better than they had treated him. Cline-Smith loved herself even when her own parents doubted her but, their tough love guided her since the time she was a little girl into her teenage years. Lastly Patrick who was tired of feeling insecure but changed her lifestyle in order to become a better person.

According to Patrick, life is all about perception, your identity is like your body image, wear it proudly.