Who are you?
Hi, I’m a size 12. Well, sometimes an 11, 13, 14, large or extra large. When I find a shirt at the store I automatically scan to the back of the selections looking for a baggy shirt. One to fit my larger chested frame that necessarily doesn’t enjoy the skin tight clothes fashion industry’s push upon young shoppers so feel beautiful on the outside. I am someone that you wouldn’t find in a beauty add, or a web advertisement online, or a small business’s Facebook post about incoming arrivals. I am someone who checks in the mirror twice, hates my unlike Barbie frame sometimes, and takes her earring off when she weighs… every ounce counts right?
But I’m not ashamed of who I am.
I am not fat, I just don’t meet the requirements of “beauty” in advertisements today, and that’s okay because I was always told that God made me perfect.
With that being said, I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to scroll through Facebook and see all the beautiful selfies and flawless half nude shots that make someone feel a little less perfectly made because they don’t have the slender frame or long dark hair.
Undoubtedly, social media has had a big impact on how society views beauty and body image, But how? And what are the changes we try to make to ourselves to look better and fit in?
The Perfect Angle
Social media has made people forget that no one is perfect and that mistakes and flaws are part of everyday life. We all know that one person. That one person who always looks flawless no matter what kind of picture is taken As we scroll through social media we see many types of pictures, family photos, flirty shots, couples photos, and just pictures taken while sitting at home in their ratty old school hoodie. Either way, it seems that even if they were trying to look bad, they would still look absolutely stunning.
We soon realize we will never look like that person, but we may look a little better if we change the angle of our pictures. You become so involved in wanting to look like everyone else, being pretty like everyone else, or you may just be worried people will notice you put on a few extra pounds over Christmas while scrolling through Facebook so you want to make sure all of your pics are up to date and maybe unnoticed.
First, you have to pick out the perfect outfit. You don’t want to look too chubby or too thin so you try on twenty different outfits until you find the perfect one, which you then pick out the perfect boots, scarf, necklace and earrings. (Remember to take off when you weight later.)
You can’t forget the makeup, because without it your face is to pale, your lips are thin, and without the cat-like eyeliner, your eyes blend into your forehead.
And lastly, you have to fix the setting, lighting, and angle of your shot. You can’t be outside because the wind makes you choke on your bangs, you can’t be at the grocery store because they’re are random people who may steal your thunder, and you can’t be at the library because the sound and flashing may disturb others. You settle for your living room corner that you’ve slightly cleaned up and dimmed the lighting to look like a JC Penny’s family portrait studio.
Even after you take that perfect picture, edit out all flaws and put 3 different filters on to cover up the imperfections, you can’t help but notice you will always be imperfect.
Social media seems to have this toll on us, that we have to be flawless and put together. But sometimes we forget that we were not designed for perfection but for function.
Keeping up with the Kardashians
As girls, the fight for acceptance starts at a very young age. You want to do what everyone else does, buy what everyone else buys, and wear what everyone else wears in hope that someone will notice you and make you part of their group, accept you for being you. But as we grow we are influenced by what we watch, what we see, and how others act. Young people get caught up in acting like someone else because they are famous, or are rich, or seem happy with their lives. The behavior of famous and rich people in our world can be easily followed by others through social media. Although this practice has the positive benefit of keeping us informed and aware of the surroundings of our lives, it can be harmful because of the negative influence media can have on young minds who are paying attention and copying behaviors of people they see on the web and television.
Beauty of Body Above Beauty of Mind
Social media has made body image not only a challenge, but a requirement to feel beautiful. This is arguably the most negative effect of social media. Social media has a way of twisting someone’s mind into thinking that self-worth isn’t about who you are but what you look like. The average size of an American woman is a size 14, although in most cases not entirely healthy, it is nothing compared to the sought for size social media tries to pass off as “normal”. No longer is a person able to feel comfortable in their own skin, but conscious of how others perceive them. When people area
So worried about their own body image they are sometimes not able to live up to who they really are. Beauty is not only what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside, and although the idea is completely cliche, social media sometimes takes away the chance of this quote to really be true.
How to Deal With it….
Ultimately it’s someone’s choice how to respond to the positive and negative consequences of social media. Ideally, a girls body image shouldn’t be determined by social media.
Everyone is made different and should be confident in who they are and what they do. We all are awesome, whether we are a size small medium or 3x. So ya, I’m a size 12 and I’m okay with that.
Essay by: Emily Richardson
Field of study: Music Education Fall 2017
Institution: Buffalo High School
Emily Richardson is a senior at Buffalo High School in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri. She has lived in the small town all of her life and finds joys in the little things in life. She is very involved in her 14 different clubs, her church band and serving as 2016 Miss Dallas County. She has never been afraid to speak her mind about her faith, body image and treating others with respect. She looks forward to enrolling in college in the fall of 2017 to pursue the career of a high school choir director.
ⒸGirlterest Scholarship Program 2016