Today, I’m using this little virtual space of mine to tackle body issues.
The New York Post recently posted an article regarding the fashion industry and women’s bodies. The article basically emphasises that skinny and slender bodies are back in, and curvy and fuller figures are out. Shocking, am I right?
The article paints a picture – a very dangerous one, at that. Women’s bodies, for the longest time, fuelled by toxic social media, the fashion industry, and the patriarchy, have been viewed as playgrounds for unsolicited comments, harsh judgements, and unfairly imposed expectations. This article alludes to women’s bodies being nothing more than a trend. Infuriating, yes?
Countless women have fallen prey to fad diets that are only designed to feast on their insecurities and leave them miserable. Countless women have fallen victim to eating disorders that have caused numerous health issues and even death. I could go on and on. The bottom line is, women and girls have suffered long enough, and unfortunately, it seems like that suffering isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
In a world where we’ve been conditioned to allow social media and society at large to dictate to us how our bodies should look, it can be hard to finally put your foot down and realise that only you decide how you should look. When we’ve become accustomed to our worth being attached to our physical features, self-esteem circles the drain and we lose sight of the importance of self-love.
Edward Bernays’ book, Propaganda, focuses on the PR and advertising industry, as well as politics, and in particular, American democracy. However, a lesson from the book can be applied to this topic: human beings tend to adopt a herd mentality, losing sight of their own authentic ideas, perspectives and beliefs, in favour of adopting those that the herd leaders subscribe to. When you decide to go under the needle because bigger breasts are ‘nicer’ to you, or embark on a gruelling exercise regime because you want a flat stomach, are those desires that are true to who you are, or desires that have been influenced by the world’s beauty standards?
A long eye-opening piece that ends with some profound words of encouragement isn’t what I have in mind for this blog post. Just like so many other women out there, I’m still navigating the complex world of body issues and trying to undo years of socialisation as well. So, I’ll leave you with some gifts instead. Firstly, links to a few social media accounts offering a safe space for people to embrace their bodies just as they are:
Secondly, an excerpt from Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers:
i made change after change
on the road to perfection
but when i finally felt beautiful enough
their definition of beauty
what if there was no finish line
and in my attempt to keep up
i lost the gifts i was born with
for a beauty so insecure
it couldn’t commit to itself.