In retrospect, I regret to have allowed societal expectations to stain my lifetime. I can vividly recall criticizing my body from a very young age. Growing up in the age of the Internet where those with social platforms seem to set the beauty standards for women is hard. Societal beauty trends are unrealistic, change quickly and are therefore unattainable. Despite this, they seem to be the cause of damage to so many young womens’ esteem. However on the bright side, mainstream media is presently making a conscious effort to shift the ludicrous and inappropriate beauty standards for women in society.
It is important to recognize that “achieving the look” of another's body is nearly impossible as genetics control size and weight regardless of caloric intake or exercise. The ludicrous history of physical expectations of women in society is unsettling to say the very least. Last year (2020) the diet and weight loss industry made a total profit of 71 billion dollars. So not only are these standards close to impossible, but there are those out there that understand this, and capitalize off of people with body image insecurities.
The changes in body image in the media are not unexpected, as there is a pitiful history of the pains of the industry's expectations, most well known in the fashion industry. High fashion designers are known for having a past of dangerously small models. The average 20 year old woman in the US weighs up to 170 pounds. Many models have a BMI that is classified as underweight, the average weight for models comes in at 113 pounds. In September of 2019, French fashion companies announced that models had to be a minimum of a size 2 to walk the runway. High fashion models are spotlighted in mainstream media, meaning they set the beauty standard for young women in society. This blatantly unrealistic beauty standard promotes eating disorders and other mental health disorders. Furthermore, the disturbing pale, small, flat chested, thin, hairless, “look” that is idolized in this industry resembles that of a young child. This is gross and overt pedophelia. More attention must be called to this disgrace.
Though steps are being taken to break the notion of attaining a look and accepting one's own body, it is difficult to be the one to break the status quo. The general movement for women to be more accepting of themselves in the media is important. Preventing obstacles like these allows young women to be more likely to be more confident and successful in their lives. Children are our future, it is important to encourage and support them for a brighter tomorrow.