At some point in our lives, we have all been susceptible to the lies that we are told about body image. Whether that directly relates to that shape or size of our body, how we are supposed to feel towards our bodies, even down to the way that we view others. But now is the time to shun these preconceptions. The body image that the world has offered up so far is a complete and utter sham – don’t buy in to the lies any longer.
EVERYONE LOOKS LIKE THIS, RIGHT?
In this digital-minded age, it is incredibly difficult to not come face to face with a picture of a model or celebrity as you are going about your daily business. Although we are not foolish and know that bodily bumps have been shaved here or there, eye-bags have been removed and wrinkles have been ironed out with the aid of Photoshop, we can sometimes find ourselves lusting after an unachievable body image. Such is the way that the media presents these images, we are led to believe that these are accurate representations of ‘real’ bodies. Sadly, those who are more impressionable and vulnerable may begin to believe that this kind of body is what is expected of them and their own bodies. If their bodily measurements, the contour of their faces or sheen on their hair doesn’t match that of the preened-to-perfection model on the 50ft billboard, then they are led to believe that there is something wrong with them. The body image that we are presented with is a bold-faced lie, most photos are altered to such an extent that they bear no resemblance to the person in real life. But please know this – this is no reflection on your body, your beauty or your worth.
YOU HAVE TO BE A ‘STRAIGHT SIZE’ TO LOVE YOURSELF
So often are we told that unless we are a ‘straight size’ we are not entitled to love ourselves that sadly it has become a daily mantra for most. Pre-body positivity, I would look upon those slimmer than me and wish for nothing more than a figure the same as theirs, to be able to find clothes in my size at the drop of a hat and to be oblivious to what a ‘thigh chaff’ was. But the truth is (the real truth, not the BS we are fed by the media) that you can love yourself whatever the size of your body is. You don’t need to keep track of the number on the scales or the label in the back of your shirt, no matter how pressured you feel to do so – bodily love is not defined by numbers. Whatever size you are, whether that be a size 6 or 36 (or anything outside of that spectrum) you are entitled to love yourself and your self-worth should not be defined by the numbers on a scale.
YOU HAVE TO WEAR MAKE-UP TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL
When we are constantly pestered by adverts, social media accounts and celebrities who advocate make-up, it’s no surprise that so many of us choose to wear make-up. Make-up is often treated as a prerequisite to beauty – but it’s not. Some choose to wear make-up, and some choose not to wear make-up, but those who decide upon the latter are often persecuted for their decision to go bare faced, they are seen as ‘lesser’ and not worthy of any self-positive talk. True, I wear make-up but not because I feel any less beautiful without it, and wider society could do more to recognise female beauty without the aid of highlighters, contouring or the need for your ’brows to be on fleek. If you want to wear make-up, you know what, that’s fine, but so is leaving the house without a full face on.
STICK TO THE FASHION RULES
Fat women should not wear leggings or figure hugging clothes. Slim women should dress to show off their bodies. Fat men should cover up in oversized t-shirts. Slim men should dress to show off their crafted physique. Thin women should cover up. Thin men should hide in baggy jeans and layers. The list of ‘fashion rules’ that we have come to live by is endless, and this is only touching the surface. But you know what? Rules are made to be broken. No single person gets to decide how you dress, only you. If you feel good in an outfit, then go for it and go out with your head held high. Life, as much as some like to think so, is not a catwalk and you should never feel bad for strutting your stuff in an outfit that you feel proud to wear.
YOU MUST LISTEN TO THE MEDIA
Ah the media – the cause of so many collapses of self-esteem and bouts of self-doubt, and like a bully, so unwilling to take responsibility for its actions. It has been drummed in to us on many an occasion that we should treat mainstream media as a bible of social acceptance if we want to blend seamlessly into society – but why? Why should one ‘incorporation’ govern the way that the rest of us live our lives? The media has such power that with a click of its fingers it could overthrow preconceived beauty ideals, but it doesn’t. It continues to funnel us into categories of acceptance and I, for once, am going to stick my fingers in my ears and refuse to listen to it any more. What about you? Movement by movement, campaign by campaign, we are changing what it means to live in the 21st century.