By: Megan Graves, Columnist
There you are. You’re in front of your mirror, naked. Despite your best efforts to run from the shower to your closet without catching a glimpse of yourself, you saw your reflection out of the corner of your eye, you stopped, and now you’re staring.
“I’ve been running all week, why won’t this cellulite go away?”
“Does size really matter? Ugh, it does. Right?”
“I shouldn’t have eaten those fries earlier, now my stomach will never be flat.”
“My arms are so frail. I wish I had time to go to the gym.”
Chances are, a thought similar to at least one of these has gone through your head at some point in time. According to the website DoSomething.org, “approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies,” and “58 percent of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight.”
According to a study conducted by the Centre for Appearance Research as cited on succeedfoundation.org, 62.8 percent of men wish their arms were more muscular, and 62.9 percent don’t think their chests are muscular enough, either.
Now, it was pretty easy to find these statistics for women. There are many websites created to bring these issues to light and to offer help to women who don’t exactly love themselves. However, I had a very difficult time finding credible sources that offered statistics for men who face the same problems. Why is that? It’s not like there’s a societal stigma that prevents men from talking about their feelings and problems for fear that they’ll seem “less manly,” that’d be terrible!
Oh, wait, there is.
These statistics show that over half of both women and men experience dissatisfaction in regards to their bodies. This is awful. Keep in mind we’re just talking about body weight and muscle here. We haven’t even taken in to account stigmas on body hair, makeup, acne, height and the like. Without even bringing those factors into the equation, the majority of people already don’t like the way that they look.
While the idea that there is a specific type of ideal body harms everyone, women seem to be having a slightly harder time with this one. Makeup, hair and skincare companies are constantly trying to sell beauty to us, as if we don’t already possess it. Magazines like “Cosmopolitan” and “Vanity Fair” try to give us advice on how to be more beautiful, as if we asked for it. Fun fact: we didn’t. Through the media, we see that to be beautiful is the most important thing a woman can be in society.
What a load of sh*t.
The thing is, you are beautiful. You’ve got millions of physical details. Maybe some aren’t your favorite, but don’t focus on those. Focus on the ones that you love. Instead of wasting time hating yourself in front of a mirror, spend time pointing out things you love about yourself. More importantly though, understand that beauty isn’t as big of a deal as commercials and movies make it seem. What is a big deal is that you made your whole class laugh last week. That you were the only person who got question 17 right on that exam. That you help people in need.
It doesn’t matter how pretty your hair is, or how handsome your jawline is. It doesn’t matter how muscular your arms are, or how small your waist is. It just doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you love yourself, because you’re incredible.
Who cares what other people think of you? Why do we let others hold such a high opinion in how we see ourselves? You’re the one who spends the most time with yourself, so remind yourself of how incredible you are every day.
Remind your friends how incredible they are every day. If someone says something nasty to you, tell him or her they’re incredible too, because they’re obviously dealing with some pretty messy issues if they need to try to make someone else feel bad so they can feel good about themselves. Don’t let unrealistic appearance standards get to you.
Break the statistic, be your biggest fan, and above all, never believe anyone who tells you that you’re less than what you are: amazing.