Body image is an issue that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Although it is not limited to females alone, it seems young girls are becoming more obsessed with both their dress and demeanor. In addition, the behavior exemplified and portrayed by pop culture and Hollywood starlets does little to remedy the situation. Why do women feel as if they need to live up to a certain standard, and why is it so difficult to be thankful for the bodies we were given?
According to a 2009 study conducted by the widely renowned Dove advertising campaign, as many as 77 percent of girls see themselves as unattractive. The same report also claimed most of the women surveyed blamed advertising for their personal distaste in themselves. Usually this is where I would make a soapbox stand on the negative impact of media messages, but we have all heard that speech time and time again.
Here’s what I really want to say: Get over it. The media is stupid. Trust me, I’m in the media business. In fact, I’m an advertising major and can tell you right now that advertising is a ridiculous and distorted social game. Of course the media is trying to persuade you to look like somebody and act a certain way, but that does not mean that you have to let a perfume ad or a Vogue catalogue full of ugly clothes on scary people change how you view yourself.
I know a girl who has never been and probably will never be happy with her body. She’s a petite blonde and has absolutely nothing wrong with her figure. Back in high school when she would complain about being fat or looking gross, I would feel sorry for her and tell her she looked fine and needed to stop worrying. Now that we are both 20 and have grown up quite a bit since freshman year, the same self-loathing has gotten boring to listen to and now it’s just easier to kindly tell her to shut up.
Honestly, there is nothing more annoying than listening to a perfectly normal person complain about his or herself. It’s almost like a pessimistic form of narcissism. If you require the constant justification of another person’s reassurance about your physical attraction, then I think you need to learn a thing or two about being independent from the opinions of others.
This is not to say we all aren’t going to have bad days where our hair is acting terrible, our clothes don’t look right and we don’t feel good. Everyone has days like that. I stand guilty as charged for announcing that I look like death once in a while, but to me, it’s only an issue when people do this type of complaining all the time, and it seems that far too many people do.
Everyone’s body is different. There are no two people who are exactly alike, so there is no point in trying to be like someone else.
When I was growing up, I went through a phase, as many young girls do, where I just wished everything about me were different. I wished my hair was stick straight instead of wavy and curly. I wished I could wear a pair of jeans that just said “regular” on the inseam. I wished I had more shape. I grew out of my wishing phase, though, and now I’ve come to realize that having curly hair is unique, being tall has its advantages, and yes, it is possible to find pants in a 26/36.
As long as you are healthy, happy and enjoying your life, there is nothing wrong with who you are right now. The negative impacts and connotations we associate with the media and their standards of beauty are only as negative as we make them, so please, pull your perfectly normal hair back into a pony tail, roll up your sleeves, and give you and your body a fighting chance against the rest of the wanton world.