“What size are you?”
An innocent, yet fear-inducing question often heard in clothing stores. For some women, this question alone is enough to send them into an anxiety-stricken tornado of feelings and emotions. Women have bodies of all different shapes and sizes, fluctuating throughout life and semi-adaptive to cultural norms. Yet, for some reason, the media and social media sites tends to only portray one type of woman: skinny. The media’s idea that skinny is perfect comes with a lot of mental baggage for those who aren’t built the same as the models on magazine covers. This added mental strain not only causes body image issues, but can also cause anxiety, depression and eating disorders amongst many other hardships.
Beauty standards exist like a strict dictatorship controlling the minds of it’s peoples. Somehow, over time, we’ve allowed for a 60 billion dollar industry of diet-idea-selling to rule the world. Yet, as psychotherapist and eating disorder specialist Jennifer Rollin stated, “our worth in this world is about so much more than our bodies. Our bodies are not ‘slabs of marble’ and they are meant to change as we age. Thus, putting our self-worth into our body and appearance is a recipe for life-long discontent” (Rollin, 2017).
Former fashion model Victoria Dauxerre once wisely stated, “Fashion makes people dream, and sometimes have nightmares” (Atkinson, 2017). Moreover, while the rise of social media has connected people in many beautiful ways, it has also falsified visions of reality and unattainable body goals. It is impossible to progress while basing individual emotions of body image off of incredibly thin and often photoshopped or edited pictures of people who don’t experience the same daily routines, genetics or health obstacles.
The fashion industry is visually focused–skinny often equates to power and attractiveness. Imagine a world where a person’s individual health was deemed sexy. A world that didn’t focus on attempting to fit into a smaller sized pair of jeans, but instead focused on body-mind health. A world that not only accepted, but smiled at a myriad of sizes and shapes. While this type of world may not have a presence as of now, what if we started it’s existence on an individual level? What if we told ourselves we were beautiful when we are healthy? What if we focused on happiness, inner-beauty, and building up each other’s self-esteem?
As Rollins noted, “people will remember you for the sparkle in your eyes when you laugh, the strength of your relationships, and way that you pursued your passions, and how you gave back to others. All of these things are 10,000 times more important than the your weight or the size of your clothing. [Don’t] lose sight of what’s truly meaningful and our real values” (Rollin, 2017).
For more information on body image, please read here.
Atkinson, N. (2017, July 04). To truly change body-image norms, we have to go beyond awareness. Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/fashion-and-beauty/to-truly-change-body-image-norms-we-have-to-go-beyond-awareness/article35540720/
Reach Out (2017). What is body image? Retrieved July 08, 2017, from https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-body-image
Rollin, J. (2017, July 05). What Going Up in Clothing Size Really Means. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-going-up-in-clothing-size-really-means_us_595cdbf9e4b0326c0a8d13dc