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Wellness > Mental Health

Learning to Love Myself in a World Full of “Plastics”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

Society today has painted an image of the ideal female body: building her from the ground up to exhibit every hand-selected trait that is unrealistic of the natural female form. In the wise words of Janis Ian, females are expected to be “cold, shiny, hard plastic.” The female body today has to be molded to a specific shape or else it faces rejection from society. The images circulating throughout social media and television depicting this “Barbie-esque” silohouette diminishes the self-confidence and self-love every girl so desperately needs.


get in loser mean girls
Paramount Pictures

An image of a tiny waist, clear skin, and hourglass figure is the standard that girls today feel they need to live up to when, in reality, a lot of those things are almost impossible to achieve. Our bodies are constantly changing in a never-ending cycle of hormone fluctuations, wavering stress levels, and environmental stressors that make it almost impossible to maintain a healthy and idealistic body type. Most bodies will never fit our society’s defintion of “perfect”, so it is up to us to change the way we see beauty in the female form.

The standards of beauty throughout history have changed so much and so frequently that it can be hard to keep up. Ways that garments are now sized throughout the world have changed so dramatically that Marilyn Monroe, one of the biggest sex symbols of all time actually wore a size 12. Meanwhile today, the accepted size is now considered somewhere between a six or an eight. So, it shouldn’t matter the number you read on a tag or see on a scale, because the most important thing you should care about is the way you feel about yourself.

Self-love comes with time. In order for you to truly embody it, you have to practice believing in yourself everyday, even on the days when you feel bloated and gross. Eventually, you’ll see how truly amazing you really are. Last year before I left for school, my mom bought me a plaque with the quote, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” from the movie The Help and told me that whenever I was feeling alone or worthless, to look at that plaque, read those words, and remember how valuable and loved I am. Plastic is a highly moldable material, and when put under enough stress and heat it breaks down, allowing for the sculptor to mold and shape it into whatever their heart desires. If everyone started believing a little more in themselves everyday, maybe we can change the way that society sees beauty more into the idea that every body is beautiful.

Alexandra Brooks

Virginia Tech '22

Alexandra is a senior at Virginia Tech studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Political Science. A 5'2-ish Canadian-American who will stop whatever she is doing to go pet a dog, Alexandra chooses to live everyday by the motto, "Just be yourself." When not stressing out over her major or writing for Her Campus, Alexandra can be found working out, reading, listening to music, and hanging out with her friends and family.
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