Social Media, film, TV, magazines, clothing campaigns and adverts. What do each of these have in common?
‘Well… I dunno Hannah, you have to look at them all on a screen?’
True, actually… that’s a good point… But NO. Someone else?
‘Ummmm… they all make me want to buy stuff?’
Another good point. Materialism is pretty bad… this isn’t going the way I’d initially hoped. Very good guesses, but WRONG AGAIN! Try one more time; what do each of those six things have in common?
‘They make men and women feel terrible about their bodies!’
Ding-ding-ding! That was the million pound answer! All joking aside, it’s mind-bogglingly accurate. In the last fifty years, eating disorders and the use of plastic surgery have been on a continuous rise due to the societal pressure caused by the media. Put simply; unrealistic body standards breed our own unrealistic body standards.
The worst part is, each of these industries tell us something different. That we, especially women, have to fit into completely separate moulds in order to be deemed ‘attractive’. Social media promotes this highly Westernised (or, Kim Kardashianised) version of what was once considered to be a ‘fertile’ body type; i.e. it’s totally hot to be voluptuous, but God forbid you have a belly to match. The fashion and beauty industry are forever trying to get hashtag-heroin chic hashtag-trending, to the point where trying on a pair of jeans in H&M is enough to make you never want to leave the house again. Adverts like this Avon campaign tell us it’s unhealthy to have any kind of blemish, stretchmark, wrinkle or cellulite on your body because imagine the chaos if someone finds out you’ve lived past the age of fourteen? Gross.
It’s 2019 and the pressure on how to look good naked (in fact worse – Gok Wan can’t provide any comic relief) is more strenuous than ever. Trying to maintain a slim-but-curvy-but-smooth frame in the culture of fast food, Mukbangs (‘eating shows’ in which one person eats a whole load of food in front of a camera), Uber Eats and Deliveroo is becoming nigh-on-impossible. Ladies, how on Earth are we meant to cope?
We need to start being kinder to ourselves. Every single woman’s body is a miracle of nature. For those women who can have children, consider this; we can have effing children! We are physically able to bring life to another human being and carry them around inside us for nine months. We endure so much for that to happen, but that’s what makes us strong. We are able to feed a newborn baby from our own bodies. Just think about that for a second. Using only breast milk, we can provide our babies with the nutrients they need to get a great start in life!
For my ladies who aren’t able to have children, think about what else our bodies are capable of. Our bodies can bring us pleasure like we’ve never experienced artificially. Our brains release endorphins after exercising to make us completely forget how much those plank-jacks burned. For my transgender ladies, your bodies have endured so much strain, so much invasion, completely beyond the imagination of any cis woman. Celebrate how far you’ve come!
Each body is different, each stretchmark tells a story. Bodies in the media aren’t real bodies. They’re modified, Facetuned and Photoshopped beyond recognition. Stop comparing, start questioning.
If you want to hear more of my opinions, click here