Since the beginning of time society has set a standard of acceptance for the bodies of men and women. Whether it be muscular and tall, skinny with a thigh gap or curvy in all the right places, everyone has been pressured to look a certain way. Even men are pressured to stop being “boney” and to have perfect shoulder and back muscles. Small women are too skinny because they don’t have enough curves and their butt is too small and they need to wear a push up bra. Curvier women are TOO curvy and don’t have the perfect waist to butt ratio. Small girls with D cups are bullied for being “unproportional”. No one can win! Young women especially are put under extreme pressure to be “thick” but not “fat” or to show some skin but not be “slutty”. Rarely do we find people who meet the expectations of society and then they are worshiped for being “perfect” without giving any attention to their character. Being born attractive is not an accomplishment. In fact, some people may argue that it’s a curse. Constantly being patronized for having a pretty face takes attention from what’s truly important and people are respected not because of their hard work or personality but because they’re pretty. We have begun to value the superficial rather than real talent and character.
If we have all experienced body shaming in one way or another, why do we continue to body shame others? I admit, even I feel pressured to meet the social standards and watch my weight because I may not fit in to my favorite pair of jeans anymore. Fatgirlphd.com is a website that advocates a healthy lifestyle and the sheds light to some of the damage we have caused in our youth. According to this website, one in four girls under seven years old have tried to diet or lose weight. One third of boys 8-12 are dieting to lose weight. And this is really where it hits me. Children are no longer allowed to enjoy childhood without feeling pressured to look a certain way. Childhood is all about taking advantage of the beauty of being innocent and living without responsibilities. I truly believe that childhood is very important in the development of people and insecurities developed during childhood will continue to follow people into adulthood if not addressed. It’s scary to think that future generations are going to grow up afraid of eating desert. Look at our generation. No one ever told us it was okay to be whoever we want to be and to love ourselves until recently and we are so screwed up!
I can sit behind this computer screen and complain about society all day long (after all society has it’s fair share of issues), but at the end of the day I am society. You are society. We are society. We are what forms a community and the responsibility to change the perspective of future generations and each other falls on us. We are all inevitably different, in our characters, body shape, skin color, etcetera. There’s no avoiding it. So rather than changing each other lets celebrate our differences, let’s admire each other without being envious. After all, different is the real beautiful.