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Wellness > Mental Health

Beyond The Mirror: Embracing Beauty In Every Shape And Color

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Content warning: this story mentions body image and eating disorders.

In a world where glossy magazines and social media dictate what’s beautiful and set the standards for perfection, women often find themselves tangled in a web of unrealistic expectations. The relentless pursuit of the “ideal” body shape and size has not only affected women’s mental health but has also taken a toll on their physical well-being.

From a young age, girls are bombarded with images of airbrushed models with flawless skin and impossibly slender figures. These images seep into their subconscious, shaping their perception of beauty and self-worth.

As they grow older, the pressure to conform to these standards intensifies, leading many women to resort to extreme measures to achieve the unattainable. It’s not uncommon these days to see girls hitting the gym seven days a week to fit the “hot girl summer” aesthetic or restrict themselves from enjoying food to fit into their prom dress.

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are among the most prevalent mental health issues faced by women today, according to the National Institutes of Health. These disorders affect physical health and wreak havoc on emotional and psychological well-being. The constant obsession with calories, weight, and body image consumes the thoughts of those affected with these disorders, leaving little room for anything else.

The relentless portrayal of thinness as the epitome of beauty sends a damaging message to women of all ages, reinforcing the belief that they must adhere to a certain standard to be considered attractive or desirable.

However, amid the sea of unrealistic beauty standards, there’s a glimmer of hope emerging. The rising voice of inclusivity and body positivity is challenging the status quo, urging women to embrace their bodies as they are. This movement advocates for the acceptance of all body types and encourages women to celebrate their unique features rather than strive for unattainable perfection.

In the realm of beauty and fashion specifically, there has been a notable shift toward inclusivity. Makeup brands are expanding their shade ranges to cater to a more diverse clientele, recognizing that beauty comes in all colors.

For example, Pat McGrath’s brand Pat McGrath Labs recently released 36 foundation shades to accommodate all skin colors and types, according to fashion magazine L’Officiel. Other brands, such as M.A.C Cosmetics, Too Faced, and CoverGirl, have also made strides by broadening their shade offerings.

Similarly, clothing brands such as Skims are offering a wider range of sizes, acknowledging that women come in different shapes and proportions. Skims’s Instagram approach focuses on inclusivity. It showcases models of various body types and ethnicities wearing their products, promoting bodily acceptance in a way that resonates with many consumers.

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This move towards inclusivity is not only empowering for women but also has tangible benefits for their health and well-being. By promoting a more realistic and inclusive standard of beauty, women are encouraged to develop a healthier relationship with their bodies. Instead of striving for an unattainable ideal, they can focus on nurturing themselves and embracing their individuality.

However, despite these positive strides, there’s still work to be done. Society as a whole must continue challenging narrow definitions of beauty to keep up with this momentum.

As we navigate the complexities of modern beauty standards, women need to remember that they’re worthy and beautiful just as they are. Embracing who they are physically, flaws and all, is the first step towards reclaiming their power and embracing their true selves.

By celebrating diversity and challenging outdated notions of beauty, we can create a world where every woman feels valued and accepted.

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Hey i’m Emily. I’m a freshman at BU studying psych and business. I love going to nice cafes and restaurants