Body Image.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Even though I’m aware every time an unretouched photo of a celebrity is released (or every time I see a fashion photoshoot with models of all shapes and sizes and nationalities) it's probably just a publicity stunt, I feel joyous. And I hope that one day images like these will be the norm. I like to think that images like these improve people’s body-image.

Now, I’m a reasonably intelligent girl. I’m very good at thinking critically and logically. In most aspects, I’m very mature. But I hate my body. With a passion. I’m aware of the media and societal aspects that I have been raised with and I know where these beliefs have come from. I can identify the sources of this body-hatred. I know it’s pointless. I’m aware on some level that I’m fine the way I am. But I still hate my body. It’s got nothing to do with my short-comings as a person, or a lack of mental capacity or awareness – but it’s so deeply ingrained in me that it’s not something I can get out of my head. I’m sixteen and I’m already stuck in my ways.

There’s an attitude – and don’t say that it doesn’t exist, because it does – that girls and women must hate themselves (and there’s a growing trend, too, of boys and men feeling the same). That you must always be seeking to improve your physical appearances. That you must moan about not being thin enough, about how you need to diet, about the cellulite on your thighs, about your tummy. About stubble on your legs and your skin being too pale. You must envy the people who appeal to the traditional idea of beauty, and hold people who don’t constantly strive to be perfect in low regard. It doesn't matter what you think personally. If you accept a compliment instead of saying, 'No, you're wrong, I am fat and ugly', everyone tells you how arrogant you are. You must always strive to be eternally young and wrinkle-free and thin but curvaceous, and actually liking how you look is a sign that you're either deluded or full of yourself.

And there are two things that I think are major forces in this 1) TV, media, marketing (the ads telling you that wrinkles are bad bad bad and stubbly legs are bad bad bad and the shows like Australia’s Next Top Model saying being thin and tall and young is good good good and that if you buy this product now! And starve yourself for the next week, you will have lots of friends and the opposite gender will want to have sex with you! Yay yay yay!), 2) people’s attitudes.

And these are attitudes they got from their parents and relatives and their friends and from the media and all these other lovely things which say that you as you are are not good enough.

And this is why I wish that the media would change so that people could change. This is why I wish everyone was unretouched. Because people look amazing as they are. They don’t need to look computer generated. This is why I wish people on TV looked like people in the real world (they actually are the same people, I think). This is why I want to see people who don’t fit conventional ideals of beauty to be in magazines and on TV.

And I know a lot of you reading probably like the fantastic aspect of magazines and TV and the like – the perfection, and the idea that if we all buy enough hair product we too could be perfect. But I don't. I think I’d prefer models who look different – who have had children, who are older than eighteen, who weigh more than a 110 pounds, who aren’t all tall and pale and ethereal (of course there can be models like this! Just because you're naturally thin doesn't mean you aren't lovely and a 'real' woman - which is the stupidest phrase ever - I'd just like a little variety). I think I’d prefer beauty not to be digitally created. I think I’d prefer cellulite to looking like a Barbie doll. I think I’d prefer to live in a society of people who see beauty in everyone, and who don’t have to shave or wear make-up if they don’t want to. I’d like to live in a world where women and men are treated as being perfect as they are, and where no-one hates their body because of unrealistic expectations created by the media and social opinions.

Obviously, I need to stop living in a fantasy land and do some schoolwork for a change. And I think I lost the point I was trying to make midway through this post. Anyway...

How do you feel about your own body?
How do you feel about body-image in general?

(Images above are from a recent campaign by Candie's. Britney Spears agreed to release unretouched images of herself next to the airbrushed ones. If you haven't yet heard about this, you can read an article here. In my opinion, Britney looked better before all the digital alteration...)
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground