It seems that while surfing the internet lately every news outlet, Facebook post, and blog has become absolutely riddled with images and articles telling us that either our bodies are wrong, ugly, and that we must work on changing them to fit a standard, or that we must learn to love our bodies for all of our imperfections and we must only use the best Dove body wash on them. Both of these scenarios are absolute bull shit. So, in this article, we will explore the reasons of why these ideas make me shudder and why you should stop listening to everything you hear in the media about yourself.
1. Nobody has the right to tell you your body is ugly:
I have a test for you, what do these three images have in common?
Ding ding ding, you got it!… THEY ARE ALL BODY SHAMING. There is not a person in the world who has an authority to say negative things about another body, as it is none of their business how someone looks and feels about themselves. These posts usually (always) mean that the postee is unleashing to the world an insecurity within themselves. Interestingly enough however, in regards to the first photo, I find that the majority of people posting are MEN. They seem to assume that all men think exactly alike and are therefore attracted to the same body type, not to mention that this is a completely superficial way to look at another human being. “Oh, you’re smart, funny, witty, and I’m completely head over heels for you but you’re a little underweight so how about let’s not cuddle, okay?” Way to make yourself look like a dumb nut.
2. Nobody has the right to say what type of body is ideal:
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are two different messages that can be derived from this campaign. The first is that we should all love and cherish our bodies for they are sacred vessels that we must show respect to in all of their shapes and forms (An idea to which I hold no contest). The second is that there is still the knowledge of an “ideal body” and even though bodies such as the above are imperfect when placed against the ideal, we should love them anyway. If you haven’t noticed, there are no extremes in this photo – the women are all roughly between a size 6 and 14. There are no “thigh gaps”, toned abdomen, and I don’t see many rolls. I understand that they are targeting women who make up the majority body type, but it is still perpetuating a fantasized ideal and I’m SO TIRED of hearing about the “ideal” body. By leaving out other completely normal, healthy, and beautiful body types, Dove is still perpetuating how society judges our bodies.
Note: Although I feel this way, I am also SO HAPPY that women of all sizes are finally starting to be shown in the media. Regardless of what I said in the above, this is a huge step for womankind.
3. Who needs external pressure anyway?:
How many times have I ever looked at a photo of an extremely skinny model and said to myself, “Man, why can’t I look like that?” Many years ago, while I was going through those awkward puberty years and my body was doing all kinds of crazy shit, quite a bit. But since I grew up and discovered who I am while gaining all kinds of wacky self esteem, very few. Today, when I look at a photo of a model I think that she is beautiful FOR WHO SHE IS, and NOT FOR WHO I AM. I have learned not to put myself against other people in the quest for beauty because it’s none of their damn business how I look and it’s none of my damn business how they look. However, I know that it is not quite so simple for everybody. Self-esteem is something that grows with time, work, love, and understanding. Self-esteem does not grow by looking at an idealized body on a magazine, and as a society, I do believe we have recognized this. So why then do we continue to look at the bodies on the magazines? Cultural reform, people.
So, I challenge you all. STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELVES. Stop looking at women in the media in order to find your own self- love. Love your body because it is the only body you will ever have. Be active, be healthy, and put food into your body that will make you feel fueled and happy. Don’t worry about eating a cupcake when you want a damn cupcake even if it’s not “Cheat Day”. Don’t justify your food choices to other people. Be Balanced. Is it weird to say Namaste here? Namaste.