If you have scrolled down your Instagram feed or checked your Twitter recently, you’re more than likely to have seen some type of post about body image, whether it be positive or negative. This, in most instances, is a great thing. We’ve started to talk about body image and discuss the problems in society that are shaming bodies that don't fit the ‘ideal body type’. Every other post on Instagram is someone you don't know telling you to love yourself no matter what you look like. This is a great leap forward from where we were just a few years ago when ‘heroin chic’ was what all the girls wanted to be, so skinny you looked like you were a heroin addict. Although we have made great progress in this aspect of society, it still isn’t perfect, and I’m not just talking internet trolls. Take this, for example: I like the way I look. Sorry if that offends or appals you, but it's true. I don’t need boys to like me or say I’m pretty to feel that way. It took me a long time to break the limits society put on me and finally like the way I look, even if I don’t look like the people on the cover of magazines. But here’s the main problem I’ve encountered after making the revelation that I don’t have to look like Gigi Hadid to be pretty. The problem is: People don’t actually want you to be confident in yourself. Whenever a girl says she likes the way she looks, someone is there, lurking, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on that confidence and squander it. When a boy tells a girl she's pretty, they expect her to deny it and blush, and then proceeds the game of him trying to convince her she's beautiful. This is all fun and games until the girl chooses a different response, this being the one that she knows she's pretty, and knew that before the boy confirmed it for her. This display of confidence in oneself should be a celebrated thing, but even in this day and age it's looked down upon and immediately shut down. The girl is told she is cocky and “needs to chill,””, that she’s “not even that pretty anyways” and the boy just told her she was pretty to be nice. I’ve seen this situation one too many times in recent months. And it's not just girls that are affected. Boys are told to be tall and muscular and strong, and when they don’t meet these standards, they are seen as weak and girlish. These standards society holds so dear have extremely damaging effects on developing minds. To give you an example of these effects, a quote from Science News: “Adolescents with negative body image concerns are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal than those without intense dissatisfaction over their appearance, even when compared to adolescents with other psychiatric illnesses.” These staggering statistics only touch on a small handful of problems caused by body image issues, and I will not stand for it. I challenge you, the youth, to change the way you see yourself, and the way you see others. Because a world without these crushing beauty standards is a more kind hearted world.
Body Image: The Deep Rooted Issues
November 24, 2017