In a culture where we want more for our money, bigger phone screens to be engrossed in and an excess of land to build a life on, to name a few, why is it that our bodies are deemed to be worth more in a smaller form?
At the age of 26, I’ve spent more than half of my life either dieting, or planning for a level of perfection that would require a body transplant to achieve. The worst part: we accept this as a fact of life.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved magazines, graduating from Girl Talk, to the likes of Mizz (90s throwback) and finally the ‘adult’ world of Vogue. I would pour over the glossy pages like it was my bible, filled with stunning clothes and an endless supply of protruding bones. I vividly remember thinking: this is the goal. This is what a successful woman looks like.
If I seek to be the delicate flower I’m not, then I’ll get further in life, right? I’ll be happy and successful and that’s the dream… obviously. I’m 14 years into this way of thinking and I can confirm that it has left me with a perfection complex, hungry, hangry and with a perpetually off-kilter menstrual cycle. Not so dreamy after all.
I can’t help but sigh while writing, because despite the work of a multitude of influential industries to make a change on this way of thinking, it’s already a part of such a vast number of people’s sense of self and self-worth.
I don’t want to think this way, but in order for body positivity to make moves towards becoming accepted, it seems as though it has had to morph into something trendy and ‘Instagrammable’. You can begin to accept yourself as the gift you are, because now there’s another societal box that’s acceptable to aspire to. Let that sink in.
Let’s be honest here, we live in an imperfect world; and as far as I’m concerned, individuality makes it a better place. So, where did this double standard come from?
There is only so much we can do about the content around us, however, we can control what we allow ourselves to mentally digest and how it makes us feel about our bodies. Instead of seeing ourselves as a collection of parts that should look a certain way, we could focus on enriching our bodies to properly support not only our physical health, but also mental. Instead of scrolling through social media and comparing, we could use that time to educate ourselves on what makes our soul feel good.
Learning to appreciate yourself as more than just your external shell is a battle and for some it’s life-long; if we can seek to stop placing our worth on our external self and see a soul as opposed to a body then our lives and the world will be far richer for it. That really does sound pretty heavenly.