There is a lot of pressure on people to look a certain way and to have the “perfect body”. Today, the self-hatred found amongst young people, in particularly in women is manifested through self-depreciative speech heard on a day to day basis as well as the amount of money spent on cosmetics and over the counter beauty treatments, diet fads and the staggering number of people who struggle with some form of mental health issue that is stemmed by self-hate. Although, the poor relationship society has with appearances is systemic and something that has been indoctrinated through the media for over a century, social media has amplified the issue.
Smart phones give us 24/7 access to endless feeds on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest with images of “perfect people” with “perfect bodies” and “perfect lives”, reminding us what we ourselves lack. This culture of idolising the unachievable (most of these images have had Photoshop editing) is detrimental to our self-esteem and holding us back from living happy and healthy lives. Thankfully there are finally conversations about this unhealthy relationship we have with our bodies and hopefully over time we can start to open people’s eyes and break the cycle.
Recognise What or Who Determines the “Beauty Ideal”
We all have people that we aspire to in life, whether it is career goals, long lasting relationships or people we consider to have good fashion style or make-up or even your ideal body. What’s important to remember that while it is important to want to succeed in life and to improve ourselves, we must also accept that everyone is different and we each have our own journey to travel therefore it is impossible for us to be a mirror image of someone else without losing touch with who we are and ultimately end up unhappy because of it. Things are definitely changing as we have seen the rise in plus-size models in mainstream media, the use of people of colour in runway fashion and the inclusion of disabled people in many aspects of life including the work place, fashion, music and T.V. However there is still the general consensus of what is “beautiful”. This is a beauty ideal that is determined by the media. It cascades down through film, television, advertising, magazines and celebrity culture. The latest trends are consistently thrust into our faces through these platforms advising us how to reduce acne, make your hair bigger, make your hair smaller, lose weight, make you more tanned, give you longer eyelashes, make your eyebrows thicker – the list goes on. Although many women enjoy using make-up and using beauty products, it is damaging to be consistently told that you are not enough and in order to be “beautiful” you must try to change these integral things about you. What’s worse is for many people these things cannot be changed.
How to Start Feeling Better About Your Body
Breaking down years of systemic indoctrination will take time and hard work but there are many movements out there dedicated to helping you do just that. One of those movements is Healthy is the New Skinny. This business is a hub for anything that embodies female empowerment, health, wellness and connecting to your true self. Founder Katie Wilcox started the movement as a personal blog where she wrote about the damaging body measurement requirements for models in the fashion industry. Things developed from there through use of Instagram which eventually led to her book, titled the same as the movement, which helps women to combat the media’s pressure to achieve the “beauty ideal” and instead lead a healthy, happy life that is true to each individual.