By Maya Khuzam
Every year at Kennedy High School seniors participate in Senior Sillies, among which are actual awards such as “Most Likely to Succeed,” “Class Clown,” and “Most School Spirited.” Amidst the actual “silly” categories, there are titles that encourage superficial judgment such as “Best Hair,” “Best Smile,” “Best Eyes,” and worst of all “Best Body.” Although all the categories that focus on external traits encourage the pressure society forces on teenagers to look a certain way, “Best Body” poses a more serious problem.
Feminist senior Roxana Becerra believes that the category objectifies bodies and insists that other people’s opinions matter. In today’s society, it is extremely important to help teenagers accept their bodies instead of encouraging them to donate their bodies to a competition of superficial ignorance.
According to dosomething.org, “Among high school students, 44 percent of girls and 15 percent of guys are attempting to lose weight.” While missrepresentation.org reports that, “65% of American women and girls report disordered eating behaviors.” There is a clear correlation between teens being insecure about their bodies and trying to achieve thinness, whether they are female or male.
The most common classification of a “Best Body” is fit, toned, and healthy. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is self-evident that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. Some people work for their toned bodies, others are born fit, and some don’t mind not being toned. So why do we feel the need to praise certain bodies over others?
Nick Rodriguez, winner of the male Best Body title, inquires, “I didn’t run for ‘Best Body’ to shame anyone else’s body or to show-off, I worked hard for my body and decided to try my luck, and maybe receive a bit of praise.”
Body-praising is important, but instead of praising a certain type of physique; society should be praising the idea of loving your body regardless of how it looks in comparison to others. Everyone should be aiming towards “healthy,” which does not necessarily mean “toned” or “muscular.” Giving an award to someone based on their physical appearance can lead to other students feeling insecure about themselves in comparison.
The category also creates a stage for bullying when people are nominated as a joke. Senior Daniel Meraz, and many other students, believe that it is fine for someone overweight to be nominated as a joke, as long as they are in on the joke and not offended. But they seem to forget that others who have similar bodies to those whom are jokingly nominated may be offended.
The bottom line is that students should be awarded on their academic achievements and their personalities as opposed to how they look. Since most students do not feel comfortable saying goodbye to the superlative once and for all, the title should be changed to “Most Toned” which allows students to be awarded for something they worked for. What do you think?