Who decided what it meant to be pretty or to be good looking? Who decided that thin is in and that the dream guy is tall, dark and handsome? The media has been pushing images on us of the “beautiful” people for so long that it’s hard to pin point when it actually started. But, what people (or at least the media) don’t realize is that there are negatively effecting a wide number of people. What is it going to take for us to break the cycle? Why is it so hard for people to believe and feel that they are beautiful on their own? No more insane diets, liposuction, plastic surgery, starvation or self- loathing. If we don’t stop this cycle soon, all the women of the world are going to shrivel away to nothing and the men are going to get so jacked that they’ll explode.
Body image is what you think or how you see yourself. Truly, it doesn’t even have to be you that you’re really seeing. In cases of anorexia and bulimia many people see a distorted image of themselves when they look in the mirror. If you believe that you are too short, too fat, too ugly… that is your body image. But that doesn’t mean that you really look like that, or that other people think that you actually look like that. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your body; it’s all about feeling beautiful or handsome, regardless of what the girl on the cover of Vogue looks like. Hey, at least you had a full meal for dinner! She probably didn’t.
Women tend to believe that beauty is a concrete thing. They believe that beauty is being thin, being that certain height, clear and smooth skin. But, like our parents always told us growing up, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The most important thing is that you believe that you are beautiful. In the United States about 10% of women suffer from an eating disorder, that’s about ten million women. Out of those ten million over fifty thousand of them will end up dying due to malnutrition and other complications caused by their eating disorder. On top of those numbers, about 80% of women have said to be unhappy with their body and appearance. The human body is a beautiful thing and there is no need for such hate. You have to live with your body forever, so why do so many women hate their body? Media has made the definition of beauty so narrow. When we think of a beautiful woman we think of the celebrities, the 90 pound models in our fashion magazines. But these celebrities get paid to look that way. They have intense work outs with personal trainers daily, they have nutritionists, and they’re airbrushed. Because the media continues to portray this image of beauty, women who don’t fit the standards lose their confidence. Even women who do fit the standards start to feel that maybe if they dropped that last five pounds, had a firmer jawline, or bigger boobs then they’d finally be beautiful, too. But, what the media isn’t telling us is that we are all beautiful in our own way. And, God forbid a celebrity gains a few pounds, it’s all over E! News and in every magazine. You’ve got to wonder what a toll that can put on celebrities. Even the celebrities who are shown as the image of beauty can have negative body images. Many of them turn to substances to make them feel happier because they aren’t comfortable in their own skin. To be honest, if I knew I would be photographed every time I gained a few pounds I wouldn’t feel very comfortable either.
So many women feel so insecure about themselves that they try unhealthy diets or have surgery done. Even then many of them still don’t feel any better. But, let’s think about it; if the media didn’t make us feel like shit about our bodies then all of the fad diets, diet pills and plastic surgeons wouldn’t make any money. It’s quite a vicious cycle. If we felt totally comfortable in our skin, as we are, then Maybelline, Neutrogena and every other make up brand out there would go out of business. It’s estimated that 90 to 100 billion dollars are raked in annually in the diet industry, strictly for things that only achieve a temporary weight loss.
It’s important that we keep tabs on our bodies. They are our bodies; they do not belong to the media, so why do we do what the media tells us to. Your body need not be your enemy; it should be your friend. Think about all of the magnificent things that your body does on a daily basis. Why should you exercise to fit the medias standards? You shouldn’t. You should exercise to keep your body healthy, because your body is important to you.
Here’s the even bigger problem. It’s not just affecting women (and men), it’s affecting young children. Little girls that are as young as 6 years old want to look like Hannah Montana and Demi Lavato; they want to look like the thin Disney stars and princesses that they see. They want to wear makeup and show their tummies. If it’s already starting to affect them at age six then what kind of turmoil are they going to be in by the time their sixteen? And because of the unattainable “beauty” that the media sets for us, many children and teens are bullied by how they look. If the media didn’t set such narrow and impossible standards for beauty, then there wouldn’t be a basis for bullies. There wouldn’t be one type of beautiful, so there wouldn’t be ugly. There may be, that’s not attractive to me or what I’m looking for, but there wouldn’t be ugly. There shouldn’t be ugly. Women shouldn’t have to struggle trying to be a perfect weight.
What the media has done is ruining society. Innocent people are dying and suffering every day because the media has brainwashed us into thinking that we aren’t pretty enough, that we aren’t thin enough, and that we aren’t good enough. Something needs to change and it needs to change yesterday. Beautiful is abstract. It is in your mind, is it up to you to believe that you are beautiful; because you are. Regardless of what the girl on Seventeen magazine looks like; regardless of the number on the scale or your dress size. Your body is sacred, love it and cherish it; get along with it because it is yours. Make your body your friend. Stop looking at the fashion magazines. It’s going to take more than one person to stop the media. But, only you can feel beautiful.