By Isabelle Thompson
Whether it’s intentional or not, teenagers have a tendency to constantly compare themselves to one another, adding to the disillusionment of the ideal body type. In a society where “sex sells,” somewhere along the line, we have added the component of self-esteem to that bargain when our bodies do not meet the “desired look.” Let’s face it, between the disproportional growth spurts, brace face, experimentation with makeup, and the enemy (AKA acne), teenage years have proven to be more awkward than glamorous overall. Learning to love each and every state of our bodies is essential in redefining the quintessential ideal body type and building a healthier relationship with our own bodies.
Novato High’s very own MSA ceramics class is addressing this issue in one of their latest assignments. The class, led by Sabrina Kalleen, has decided to tackle a project to represent how students from Novato High feel about their bodies, as observed through responses to a survey.
“It was a project that students could do a sustained inquiry and have something that is personal to them, or at least something interesting to them,” said Kalleen.
Students have responded to the project in different ways and have begun to work on what they believe to be an expression of body image through the lense of Novato High students.
“A lot of people said that they treat their body right and they loved themselves. A lot of other people said that they weren’t comfortable with how they felt and that it affected their relationships, and some people just didn’t take it seriously,” said junior Emmanuelle Knox, a junior in Kalleen’s fourth period class.
Another student, Reyna De Leon added, “We saw a lot of upperclassmen and some freshmen doing a lot of drugs and drinking alcohol, and my reaction to it was that it’s pretty normal and common. That’s how it is in high school.”
The results of the survey are intended to be the platform for creative pieces of work that inspire questions about how we should look at our bodies as well as how we should be treating them healthwise and nutritionally.
“We are going to display them at art fest,” explained Kalleen. “Hopefully students will get something out of it. I thought it was a pretty big issue for adolescents, body image, and then I also thought about nutrition.”
Senior Daniella Ingargiola, who recently competed in a bodybuilding competition for her senior project, weighed in on what it means to take care of your body.
“A healthy body is a body that you take care of,” said Ingargiola. “You exercise it and don’t feed it chemicals and junk. A healthy body shouldn’t mean that it looks a certain way. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically pleasing. It’s how it feels, and you should be making it feel good and feeding it the right things.”
Placing first in teen bikini at the competition, Ingargiola has dedicated months to the process of muscle building and toning, during which her body underwent drastic changes. It can be said that many women are afraid of building muscle, but she took on the challenge with a positive mindset and came out on top.
“A lot of people will have issues when they see their body fill out a little more to build the muscle,” Ingargiola added. “If you can’t handle it, people get disorders from it because they are so obsessive. So it’s really important the whole time to trust the process and just love your body at every moment and accept how it’s changing.”
Whether you love your body or are constantly looking for flaws, people should remember that there is not one ideal body type. Confidence or self worth should not be contingent upon the state of our bodies, as they are constantly changing. By having projects and surveys of this nature, Novato High is bringing to light the opinions of students all over campus to promote body awareness. Hopefully this can engender a more positive outlook among students.