Updated: Jan 6, 2020
I have spent a lot of time browsing social media, and I can truly say that some of it has made me question the way I look at myself.
The first time I noticed it was when I wanted to post a photo and thought about how I looked more than I probably should. My initial thought was that I simply wasn’t sure if I really liked the photo, but after contemplating on that a bit, I realised the problem was beauty standards all around social media. The truth was that I loved the photo, but I didn’t think that it was good enough to be published.
When all you see is a specific body type and an overall similar look, it can really mess with your mind and make you think that it equals beauty and what you should strive to be. The reality of all this is that everyone is unique and has their own beauty. It took a while but after realising that, I started to look at social media in a different way. I started to publish photos that I thought were beautiful, instead of what social media deemed beautiful.
I have noticed that many people are passionate about this topic so I wanted to delve a little deeper into it. I contacted a few women with a wish to hear more about their story and opinion about the mentioned topic so I want to introduce you to these inspirational and cool women who agreed to share their story and opinion.
There is a crystal clear snapshot in my mind of something I observed as a kid. It was a short Disney cartoon on TV, something that played during a break from the featured show. In it, an artist’s hand was seen sketching a woman. When the drawing was complete, she came to life. She looked down, sizing up her voluptuous figure in her pencil skirt before beckoning the artist for his attention. With disdain, she pointed out her curvy behind. The hand skillfully used the pencil eraser to trim down her shape. Satisfied with her new figure, she swerved her hips from side to side.
Decades later, this cartoon image still haunts me. I’ve spent my entire life — from childhood to adulthood — thinking about this character. The scariest part of my daydreamy reflections of this animated woman was the fact that I never wondered why she was unsatisfied. No, even as a child observer, the woman’s initial poor body image seemed like a given. And the worst part? I was jealous. I’m still jealous. Jealous of a cartoon figure that so effortlessly was able to make a complaint about what she deemed as imperfections and have them instantly erased. I think about this every time I look in the mirror and feel dissatisfaction with anything. Couldn’t someone simply erase those bat wings under my arms? That wrinkly belly skin left over from carrying babies could use some retouching. What if those lines in my neck didn’t give my age away?
You see, this cartoon shows up in today’s media in the form of real women. Now we see the image of a woman only after filters or editing programs have touched up anything determined to be a flaw. But the problem is that we never see the artist’s hand at work. So, our perception is that those women really look as unblemished as they appear on an Instagram grid or a Facebook ad or You Tube video. The result is an unrealistic comparison of our own authentic skin and bodies with the immaculate ones that show up on our screens.
Girls, we have got to start recognizing the process behind what we are seeing. Let’s stop idealizing other women and thinking poorly of ourselves. Instead, let’s cheer on the beauties we admire while simultaneously praising our own bodies for what they are capable of whether it’s walking up a set of stairs, winning a local Crossfit competition, birthing people, or running a 5k. Our bodies work hard for us. And regardless of what our behinds look like in our pencil skirts, we need to be proudly shaking our hips with delight.
I'm going to get straight to it; social media has really diminished a lot of women, torn them down until they label themselves worthless, especially young women.
As a young female, encouragement, support and positivity assist us with our self-esteem. Making someone believe that their beauty on the inside, counts more than the outside, is extremely discouraging. In some cases, judgment is executed based on the physical appearance, and the opportunity to show who we are as a person is not given.
Social media can be used as an” influencer”, comments and posts can affect how you feel about yourself, whether you think you are worthy or whether you think you can reach your goals. Images of others make you question if you are good enough, if you are pretty enough, if you are confident enough to accomplish your dreams of success.
I submit to you today, that you are beautiful both inside and out: you are worthy, you are more than a conqueror, hold your head up high and set goals to accomplish your dreams. Know who you are, and never let the opinions of others dictate your destiny. No matter your color, no matter your size, no matter you height, believe in yourself and reach for the stars because you belong.
I have a poem I wrote last year that is appropriate with this topic, so read below.
I wanna look like her because she's prettier than me
Oh my God, look at her stomach, she has better abs than me
I think I can't find a man because when I turn around and look at myself
I realized she has a bigger behind than me
She's always taking a flight, so she must make more money than me
I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong
This society got me hating me
I'm starting to feel like I'm failing ,because
When I look in the mirror I don’t see that IG model
Everyone's striving to be
Repeat after me
1. I'm beautiful
2. I'm worth it
3. I will unfollow any social media account, that makes me feel like my beauty standards aren't enough
4. I will love me more, starting today!