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Why Are so Many Women Dissatisfied with their Body?

Think of something that you really don’t like about your body. I’m sure that was relatively easy. You could probably think of several things that bother you. Now, think of something you love about your body. Think hard. Was it harder? Could you even think of something? There’s a very specific reason for that: money.

Let me tell you something radical. There’s absolutely nothing, not a thing, wrong with your body. You were purposely made the way you are. In fact, you’re incredibly beautiful. You’re a miracle of evolution. Did you believe me? 

If you did, congratulations, continue to embrace the truth! If you didn’t, I promise that I’m not lying to you. I have no reason.

Let’s think for a minute. What things make you question your body? Cosmetics? Magazines? Social media? Diet culture? Celebrities? Retail stores? Porn? 

 

Cosmetics

Make-up brands literally sell products that are supposed to make you appear more beautiful. They do this by convincing you that only perfectly clear skin is acceptable. They try to convince you that wrinkles and pimples and freckles aren’t natural. They frame it as “covering your flaws” rather than enhancing natural beauty. Now, so many women feel compelled to contour their face so that they’re nose looks thinner or so their face is a different shape. 

 

Social Media

Social media only drives comparisons. You see the influencers, who’s pictures are definitely photoshopped, and you think that if you did the same things that she’s doing then you can look like her. Just remember that she’s paid to do nothing but post on Instagram. Then you see your friends and peers, who’s pictures are probably enhanced with filters and facetune. And you might think “why don’t I look like them?” . Well, for one, you’re not supposed to look like anyone other than you, and two, they don’t even look like that. Also, people on Instagram are only posting the highlights (sometimes even fabricated highlights) of their life. No one posts a picture of them the minute they get up.

 

Diet Culture 

Diet culture is incrediblyincredibly toxic. Not only to your body but your mind as well. They tell you that if you restrict what you eat, then you’ll lose weight and be happy. But where is the stopping point? And are these diets even giving you all the nutrients you need to be healthy? Also, it’s an endless cycle. Once you go on a diet, you have to stay on it to maintain the weight you lost or else you’ll gain it all back. They try to convince you that certain foods are inherently bad, which is not only wrong but also make you crave those foods more.

 

Celebrities 

F*ck the Kardashians. They endorse dangerous body shaping practices (waist trainers) and going to extreme lengths to achieve the look they want (plastic surgery). They also try to play it off as natural, which it’s not. Celebrities are constantly endorsing products that they themselves don’t use. They tell you that they use a certain cream for their face or subscribe to a particular diet, but they aren’t. They just say that they are because they are making money to say it. Sometimes, they’ll even make their own sh*tty products, so they can make money off your low self-esteem. 

 

Fashion industry 

At one store, you’re one size at the next store you’re another size. What an emotional rollercoaster! Also, the sizes don’t really mean anything. Like a size zero? How can a person be zero? Zero is nothing! Then, they only seem to make clothes for one type of body. If you don’t have that body, then you are considered other, and you have to shop in another section or a completely different store! Too short? Petite. Too big? Plus size. They’ve got a label for everything that doesn’t fit into their incredibly narrow window of “normal”. 

 

Porn 

The women in this industry are treated so poorly. But they also set up unrealistic expectations for how other women should look. Porn is one of the main reasons we feel the need to remove body hair. Women in porn also usually have big breasts that are not natural and therefore don’t essentially disappear when they lay down. On top of this, camera techniques are used to hide unflattering angles and can edit the film to make it more “appealing” to their viewers. Obviously, porn also objectifies women and their bodies. Women in porn are only valued for their bodies. You might say “there’s a porn for every body type!”. Even if they are “celebrating” bigger women or older women or women amputees, they are still objectifying women and making the “diverse” women fit into their ideal of beauty for their category, which is othering them. 

 

Magazines 

Magazines literally exacerbate all of these issues. They promote expensive diets, sell juicy stories on celebrities, share profit off the fashion they promote, purposely photoshop their photos without the permission of the people in the picture, and they encourage competition between women. They also are constantly flip-flopping their position. One page it’s “learn to love yourself”, the next is “the top 5 ways to lose 12 pounds in 3 weeks”, and the next page is “the best chocolate cake recipe”. 

 

These industries make you feel bad about your body and the way you look. They then offer you products to help fix the self-esteem issue that they created and profit off your self-hatred. The easiest solution would be to stop supporting these industries all together. But unless there’s a sudden, mass cultural change, that’s not going to happen soon. Also, I’m not trying to say that wearing makeup or having a vegetarian diet is bad; it’s just important that we critically think about how we and the industries we support are impacting others. 

Another solution would be to stop talking about appearances and putting ourselves down. Instead you can talk about your interests and goals, the news, why the universe exists, and what breed of dog is the best for your living situation. This is not easy; it takes a lot of conscious effort, but once you stop commenting on what other people are eating or asking if your jeans “make you look fat”, you’ll start to feel a lot better.

If you’re interested in ways to fight back against body dissatisfaction, email [email protected]om