Society, Body Image, and Self Confidence
Disclaimer #1: I feel like it’s important I mention this now, before you start to get the impression that I’m okay with obesity. I think it is absolutely important and empowering to have a healthy body and lifestyle. Everyone should work to eat right and exercise.
However, when we start to value what we look like and what size pants we wear, over who we are as a person, we have failed ourselves.
We’ve all experienced this nagging in the back of our mind, reinforced by media and society, that being thin and beautiful is the key to happiness. And that is just absolutely ridiculous.
I have never seen more evidence of this than during the Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
I’ve screen captured a few tweets post show.
Seeing this seriously enrages me.
Apparently being beautiful and perfect is only about how you look. And even then, it’s very specific. Stick thin, pounds of makeup, and glamorous hair, all of which requires depriving yourself of not only food, but any sense of self-confidence.
Disclaimer #2: I am not claiming that these Victoria Secret Angels do not eat healthy or workout or enjoy their lives, or anything about them specifically. I’m just speaking about the repercussions and what girls are taking from these people as role models, and what society has pushed us to believe.
How about instead of starving ourselves and purging our meals, we work to be kind and generous, and intelligent? How about striving to be successful and happy with you who are?
I’ve met so many beautiful people, perfect people. In fact, I live with some, I’m friends with many, I’m related to countless. Some are skinny, most aren’t, all of them are amazing people and that’s all that should matter when it comes to loving someone. I have never for one-second thought any less of them because of how they look.
It hurts to see that girls of our generation seriously believe people won’t love them or that they are any less of a person because of how they look.
You didn’t get that job? That cute guy doesn’t like you? You’re sort of broke right now? Well those things wouldn’t be true if only you were as pretty as physically possible.[sarcasm]
Your summer won’t be as fun or as Pinterest perfect if you don’t have that bikini bod!
These little thoughts and worries pop into our head, because society has trained us to think that somehow our lives will be better, that somehow we will be better if we look better. WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. You could be “flawless” and be dumb as a rock, or literally accomplish nothing. You could be the most “beautiful” person on Earth and be terribly lonely. We need to work instead on becoming beautiful internally; caring about other people, having a sense of humor, being honest, expanding our mind, and changing the world.
Rather than striving to be the next model to strut down a hallway in minimal clothing, can we instead encourage each other to be the next Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Ernest Hemingway, or Ronald Reagan!
Beauty can be a perfectly crafted meal and the pure bliss of not feeling some weird burden for enjoying life’s taste buds. Beauty can be the vast view after a sweaty hike. Beauty can be the words that bring tears to your eyes as you read late into the night. Beauty can be wandering in a bright new city with old friends. Beauty can be awkwardly dancing while laughing uncontrollably.
Beauty is not the quivering pain of a hungry stomach, the frown as you examine every “unperfect” detail of your reflection; it’s not the depressing self hate used as “motivation”.
That is no way to live our life we are so lucky to have.
Instead of worrying about how little we need to eat, we should focus on eating less processed foods and prioritizing health. While also recognizing that indulgence is a part of truly enjoying all that life has to offer!
I’m more than disappointed in the ideas instilled in these girls, not to say I haven’t had a fleeting few of the same, and I hope we can all work to build our self-confidence in the person we are, rather than the way we look. I hope we can all focus on living for the beauty we find in life rather than focus on perfecting our physical beauty to somehow better our lives.
Basically college and moving out into the big bad world has turned me into a bit of a feminist. (In a very soft correct definition of the term) For now I’m okay with it, sign me up for the love your body campaign, or better yet a love yourself campaign. I’m not perfect, in any sense of the word. And yet, I’m happy. I like who I am, I know I have flaws but I’m working on them. I like who I want to be and I like working towards that. It’s a rewarding process rather than a self-loathing one. I urge you all to see the potential you have to do big things in your life. I hope you all will prioritize who you are rather than how you look, because that will ultimately bring more happiness to your life.
p.s. try complimenting people more often on the important content of their character, rather than their physical appearance. I believe it’s worth more towards one’s self-esteem. Or both, that’s cool too.