I hope everybody’s enjoying this beautiful weather!
As the temperature has risen to 60 and 70 degrees I have started to pack away my winter clothes and bring out my spring/summer clothes. I was so excited to finally lay out all the new tank tops and shorts I had bought (I did A LOT of online shopping), as well as take out the essentials from last year.
In my head I knew I had gained weight from my first year at college, but I was hoping I was still the same size and that everything would still fit the way they had the summer before.
Yeah, they didn’t.
The feeling of looking in the mirror when you’re spilling out of clothes that used to fit doesn’t compare to anything else. I’d put it on my top 10 worst feelings in the world. It made me feel a mixture of disgust, guilt, and more than anything disappointment.
I immediately went to instagram, probably the worst thing I could’ve done in that moment. My feed was filled with posts of skinny blonde girls posing at the beach for spring break and instagram models. I’m sure everyone wants nothing more than to have their bodies look just like what they see on social media, but what I have recently discovered is that almost all of it is fake. These models are either posing their bodies in such a way to hide their imperfections, or photoshopping themselves to look like Barbie.
Denormalizing normal bodies is causing many young girls to hate their bodies. Mainstream media presents unrealistic beauty standards in the form of photoshopped celebrities or stick-thin fashion models.
Over the weekend I went for a run on the trail at the Saint Bonaventure campus. I was wearing athletic shorts with a big sweatshirt and a tank top under it. After the first mile I started heating up, because I’m a speed demon of course, and it took me the whole rest of the run to sum up the courage to take off my sweatshirt.
It was busy because the weather was so nice and all I could think about was how big I would look from behind as runners or bikers passed me.
It is so exhausting feeling embarrassed and ashamed of your body. With bikini season on the rise, but not yet completely in full swing, it is not the best time to feel this way.
Mik Zazon is the founder of the body positivity movement on instagram called #NormalizeNormalBodies. He has done a lot of work to try and get companies to stray away from these unrealistic beauty standards. On his page he posts real pictures of normal bodies that have been untouched by photoshop. This is extremely important, especially with summer coming up, for women and even men all over to see. Instead of seeing botched pictures of the most perfect people modeling agencies can
find, he’s displaying the average body in a beautiful way.
The brand Aerie has helped this cause as well by featuring more diverse models and vowing not to retouch them. As you explore the Aerie website you can see that the models the company uses vary in shape, size, and race. You can also see flaws in the women that are posing and modeling the clothes. You can see that they are human, which I think is something that more brands should incorporate.
Mik Zazon and Aerie are both doing a great job representing the real human body. As I look through the pictures on Mik Zazon’s instagram and on Aerie’s website I see features I can relate to. The women have stretch marks, rolls, imperfections on their skin, celulite, and frizzy hair. These people are much more relatable and help everyone struggling with their body image see that these features are normal.
Mik Zazon and Aerie are definetly on the right track, but unfortunetly these unrealistic beauty standards are here to stay. They have been around for so long that it would be very difficult to change. Although I am a firm believer that a woman’s worth is more than her outward appearance, society will always favor those who fit the beauty standard. These standards of what a woman should look like have existed for so long, with little to no change, that it is unrelaistic to assume they will end any time soon.
The only way to overcome these unrealistic beauty standards is to learn how to love your body and love yourself regardless of how you’re “supposed” to look. Obsessing over the way you are is draining, and frankly, a waste of time.
The moment you accept yourself for who you are, and feel comfortable in your own skin, you will see noticable differences. You will be happier, confident, more positive, and at peace with yourself. Confidence is one of the most attractive traits anyone can have.
So, I will be running in my tank top from now on. I mean how big can my arms really be? Who will really care, or even notice if I jiggle a little when I run?
The beauty standard can only affect you if you let it.