I remember thinking I was so lucky to have been born with blonde hair and blue eyes, not because I loved my natural features, but because I was surrounded by people telling me that’s what I should want. I remember wanting a thigh gap more than anything in the world, even though I was only in sixth grade. This dream of attaining the perfect body and the prettiest face persisted. Every girl I knew, myself included, wanted to be the models we saw on the magazines, airbrushed and toned to perfection.
It wasn’t until very recently did I realize how deeply ingrained the media’s voice was inside of my head. It isn’t just my head, though; it is every girl I know who is affected by the unrealistic expectations thrown onto us by the media. It’s the plethora of photoshopped, white-washed, and airbrushed photos which have somehow convinced us that we will never be like them. It’s the magazines titled: “How to Lose 20 lbs for Summer” and “How Jane Doe Went From Hot to NOT In One Haircut”. You’re not alone if you have seen similar things and thought; well damn, I’m never going to attain that.
88% of young girls have said they believe the media puts extreme pressure on being thin, and 65% believe that the body image represented in the media is too skinny and that 60% of them compare their own bodies to those they see in the magazines. The underrepresentation within the media of girls of color, varying sizes, and differing physical ability is horrifying. We live in a world where being thin, white and beautiful are held in the highest regard. These biased and unfair standards placed on women within the media are responsible for much of the insecurity that we see within women worldwide.
If you ever see a magazine of a woman lacking a single wrinkle, crease or freckle, know that what you see is NOT reality. In truth, every woman of color, shape and size is beautiful, no matter what the media tries to tell you.