As someone who’s always struggled with how they look growing up, body image has always been very important to me, as I’m sure a lot of other people can agree. It’s hard to feel confident with yourself when you have 100 different people telling you to look a certain way. It’s even harder when all you see in the media is airbrushed skin and photoshopped bodies. So why in 2022, which is supposed to be the age of the “love yourself” movement, are we still seeing these ‘perfect’ bodies everywhere in the market? It just doesn’t make sense.
Growing up I never thought I looked the way I should. This was for a different number of reasons; I would get criticised by family for eating too much or eating too little (which is kind of insane for a young girl growing up). All the magazines I would read were dedicated to pages of diets and workout regimes to ‘lose 10 pounds or more in a week’, which looking back now is so unrealistic and unhealthy, but I found myself trying to follow them anyway so I would look the way people thought I should. Now you can imagine the kind of damage this did on my mental health, I went through my teen years always thinking no one would want to be friends with me, no one will want to date me, I mean why would they I look disgusting. Looking back now on pictures of myself from then there was nothing wrong with the way I looked, and looking in the mirror now, there still isn’t.
I know a lot of men and women out there will agree with me when I say the self-love movement isn’t as easy to get on board with as it looks. When your brain has been hard wired into hating yourself you can’t just start loving yourself because a few people on the internet told you to. This is something I’ve been struggling with for years now and I’m finally learning how to fully accept myself for how I am.
I think one of the biggest issues with body image isn’t just the media, it is the fashion industry as well. How many people out there can tell me that they also go into different shops and will be different size depending on: the material, the brand and the item in question. The lack of consistency is deafening. How can I go into a shop and in the same pair of jeans, just a different colour, I’m two different sizes, then go into another shop and buy the same style of jeans and be a completely a different size again? I know first-hand the damage this can do to a person’s confidence. So why are these brands so adamant on feeding our obsession with our bodies?
The age of promoting self-love is more toxic than it intends to be. I believe we’ve crossed the harmlessness of being supportive and entered a territory where many people feel forced into accepting themselves. This can have a negative impact on mental health for someone who has struggled with their image for years. It can come across as their feelings are not valid. Now don’t get me wrong, the self-love movement is amazing and allowed millions of people to become more confident within themselves. All I’m saying is sometimes the media and internet can take it a bit too far. As much as being supportive to those people struggling can help, constantly pushing self-love onto them can only make things worse.
So what can we do to change this?
Lauren is a content writer that is creating her own book and aspires to become a published author. While writing content, she also spends her time performing as an actress for different projects presented to her.