Redefining Beauty

I think a lot of girls can relate when I say we all had one moment where we wished we were models. Sure, I rocked gym shorts and oversized t-shirts pretty heavy back in the day, but even then, there were moments where I’d see a model grace the runway and I couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Naomi Campbell, for instance, was just STUNNING to me. I couldn’t help but imagine what life would be like if I could just walk around in gorgeous couture all day long.

And then I grew up. And I realized that besides a select few models, there really wasn’t any other girl that was out there owning the runway…that looked like me. All these models were tall, white and super skinny, and I was short, with big frizzy hair, acne, and braces. God, did I feel ugly. And I had it lucky! At least I had a thin body shape, and my skin color wasn’t too dark to be completely excluded from what was then the standard of beauty.

When IG baddies started getting into the mix, I was grateful to see the skinny, white It Girl trend die down a bit. It was so refreshing to see Latina and black girls take over; their bodies looked amazing, their outfits were sexy and fun. It made me proud to see girls that looked not only like me but also like my friends, the women I had grown up around. To see these women be praised and upheld, to see them worshipped, that was great to me. It felt good to know, ok, if they’re loved, if they’re desired, I can be too.

But like all good things, they never last. The IG baddie community soon turned into a plastic mess; it became a sea of look-alikes, the same harsh face with perfect eyebrows and perfect skin. The same hourglass body that left you thinking, where the f*** are her organs? No waist, huge butt, thick thighs, but never too thick to have any fat, never any stretch marks, everything smooth and soft looking but they’re always in the gym, always working on their

fitness but never looking too muscular because ew, muscles make you look too manly and their hair is always done and did I mention perfect eyebrows?

God, it’s exhausting to see that no matter what, beauty remains impossible to achieve. We put these types of women on pedestals thinking, yes, this is what beauty should look like, never stopping to think the journey that woman took to look the way she did, and how this will affect all other women. And we haven’t even discussed how racism plays a part in this!

The standard of beauty is a myth; there can never be one way of being beautiful because it just really is impossible to encompass in one person the diversity and beauty that belongs to all 7.53 billion people living on Earth right now. That’s ridiculous, and that’s harmful, because that’s how low self-esteem starts. And that’s how it snowballs into eating disorders, colorism, the hatred of oneself. The uncomfortableness of being in one’s own body.

It can be disheartening to see the world so eager to praise Kylie, Kim and Khloe for features many of us were taught to hate or to see that the standard of beauty shifts from one extreme to another, excluding many of us. But the important thing to remember is that we have a voice. How we decide to use our own individual voices is up to each and every person, but a great way to start is to look past what society wants you to look like, and to appreciate who you are beyond your physical appearance. I like Fashion Week just as much as anybody else, and I still follow some IG baddies on Instagram, but I don’t care anymore to model myself after some unobtainable standard of what society thinks is beautiful. Corporations, social media and their ‘influencers’ don’t profit off of us accepting ourselves completely, nor do they don’t profit off of self-love. And that’s exactly what we need to start doing.