Essay Review on Thin by Joan Bauer
|📌Published:||14 April 2021|
Standards in society that influence what people think beauty is supposed to look like regularly affects what many people say and think about themselves on a daily basis.
In “Thin”, a short story by Joan Bauer, Deenie, the main character, frequently judges herself based on the high expectations she obtains from society. No matter the circumstances Deenie continuously obsesses over losing weight and being “perfect”. Deenie has put herself in harm's way and has lost friends over this obsession. Throughout the story Deenie let her fear of gaining weight take over and control her life. This continued until one day she blacked out and went to talk to a therapist. In the story “Thin” by Joan Bauer, the author shows the reader that beauty standards in society often affect the way that individuals view themselves and others around them, through Deenie’s concerning actions and feelings.
In spite of Deenie’s tough workout regimen and fit body she still considers herself to be less than perfect. While weighing herself on a scale in the bathroom she starts to judge herself based on beauty expectations . “The mirror being held up today is pretty hard to compete with -all these perfect women on Tv, in magazines, on the Internet”(Bauer 1). This is important because it illustrates Deenie’s harsh thoughts and expectations as she thinks about herself and her body. On the other hand this detail showcases the thought process that many individuals go through seeing the need to be “perfect”. In the opinion of Deenie she has a standard to live up to and anyone who doesn’t live up to it is letting themselves go. “But look the bar’s been set- that’s how it is- and I for one am not going to lose my ground like my mother, who doesn’t diet or exercise” (Bauer 2). This conveys how body image affects how others think of each other, this may mean bullying and other forms of teasing. In this case how Deenie thinks of her mother is mainly affected by beauty expectations. Although Deenie was a skinny girl and practically starved herself , her rough body expectations/standards that she obtained from society caused her to think less of herself and others.
Seeing the harsh beauty expectations she expects herself to live up to, Deenie pushes herself to extreme measures to remain thin no matter her health. This trait is confirmed when while Deenie is working out she says “I am moving towards the pain and the burn, which is the goal in the war against weight, which is why, and I’ve tried to explain to my mother, I keep going even when it hurts”(Bauer 4). This example illustrates how far Deenie is willing to go to remain thin no matter the situation. In present circumstances this relates to many individuals starving themselves or workout immensely because they think that fat is “ugly” or “disgusting”. When Deenie comes home from the gym she goes to the bathroom looking for the scale to weigh herself again. “I’m standing at the bathroom door, looking for the light. I feel so lightheaded; my legs feel like rubber. I hear my mom calling, “Deenie, is that you?” I try to hold onto the wall to steady myself. “Deenie?” mom shouts. That's the last thing I hear”(Bauer 6). It is important to notice that no matter how much Deenie’s health is negatively affected she still feels the need to workout constantly. This example shows how body image affects people’s physical and mental health. In fault of the beauty standards and expectations in society, Deenie continuously puts herself in danger by over working her body in an attempt to lose any gained weight.
Beauty standards in society affect how individuals look at themselves along with others through Deenie’s overbearing actions. Many of Deenie's absurd actions are influenced by the harsh expectations she expects herself to live up to. Without society’s influence on what people deem as beautiful, many people wouldn’t feel like they have to look like a TV star or a model, and body judgement towards others and oneself wouldn’t feel necessary. This short story demonstrates how serious society’s influence is on individuals and how willing, people are to go through extreme regimens or diets to look a certain way or to feel like they're good enough to be seen as beautiful. Despite this being a fictional story in reality many people still judge themselves and others based on beauty standards in society. Although many may not recognize the harm caused by comparing yourself to others, everyone should love themselves just the way they are.