There is a major social problem that’s been brewing in our culture for many years now and we are hitting a point where it has grown into an epidemic. Body dissatisfaction runs rampant among women of all ages and none of us are exempt from its effects. It’s a problem that won’t end until society’s perception of beauty changes. The pressure our media places on us to be thin leads to many issues average gurls have to face. Now, we need to teach ourselves and others how to manage living in these conditions. But how do we start?
Together. We may find ourselves to be polar opposites, different in body shape and size but we have one thing in common: We all face the same social pressure to be thin and fit a narrow definition of beauty. This is a challenge that all of us already have to face without our own contribution to this culture; we need to stop putting down other gurls for the way they look. Big or small, thin or plump, we need to realize that the media pits us against each other in order to sell more products. Have you ever heard the saying, “there is power in numbers?” In order to create change we need to join together and support one another, rather than point out each other’s so called “flaws.” On a regular basis we are bombarded with messages that tell us we do not measure up to social standards that are set for us. We need to start creating our own messages that do the opposite – messages that empower. Empowerment and unity is what will help us work towards changing social perceptions of ideals. What keeps me focused – or rather, not focused on my “flaws,” – is writing about all of the amazing things our society is doing to devise this type of change.
I write about celebrities on a regular basis for my Love Average blog and I try to share stories related to their body image issues or their views about the pressure we’re put under to be perfect. For example, Lady Gaga once posted non-Photoshopped pictures of herself and opened up about her struggle with anorexia. I think that she uses her many looks, even the ones that are considered border line “ugly” to push the boundaries of what is considered normally beautiful. On a regular basis I make memes that capture the messages often forgotten once Photoshopped images of celebrities grace the covers of magazines.
My thinking is that if we are so influenced by celebrities then we might as well hear about their own struggles with body image and listen to what they have to say about Photoshop and the pressure to be thin. Believe it or not, most female celebrities would like to see changes in our attitude towards our bodies too! I cannot stress enough how important it is for young gurls and women to realize that much of what we see in the media is manipulated and altered to reflect an unrealistic ideal. We need to demand to see more women standing up against body dissatisfaction. We need to see more Lady Gagas who will speak up and stand out and more stars willing to show us the “Before Pictures” rather than being compliant with media’s altered “After” versions.
Emily is the founder of Love Average, a project dedicated to self love. Learn more here.