- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 03 December 2014
How many times have you looked in the mirror and not appreciated the person looking back at you? The same is true for countless individuals across the globe who continue to judge themselves for what they are on the outside rather than what they are on the inside. Take note from an incredibly powerful speaker, Shane Koyczan, in his speech “To This Day” where he states, “If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer, stare a little longer, cause there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit.”
So who is to tell you what the definition of beauty is? We are all built to be of different sizes, of different shapes, having different skin colors. There is nothing about different that is wrong or ugly. The thing about being different is that you are unique.
The media has such an incredible impact on the way we view ourselves. A Kaiser Foundation Study found that one in every three articles in a teen magazine have a focus on appearance rather than self worth.
According to Teen Health and the Media, out of a survey of nine and ten year-old girls, 40 percent were dissatisfied with their bodies and in turn, attempted to lose weight. These children were polled after being shown a variety of music videos. By the time children reach the age of 17, 78 percent of all teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies. This leads to excessive sessions at the gym, depression, and eating disorders.
But why has so much changed over the past years? What happened to when the epitome of beautiful was Marilyn Monroe, who is known to have worn a size 12? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average weight of women over the age of 20 in America is 166 lbs, which is nowhere near the representation seen in the media.
We’re all so afraid to look a certain way because we have been told countless times the way we are isn’t good enough, that we can always improve our body image. When in reality, there’s nothing wrong with looking any certain way, as long as you’re healthy and happy and in good company.
We have so many abilities to change the views of society at our fingertips. Social media, song lyrics, television shows, movie stars: all little pieces to a puzzle that can influence a world that there is no such thing as ugly, that we all have something beautiful inside of us. If we used the media to portray individuals in a positive light despite their appearance, we could change the ideas of a mass group of people in an instant.
Luckily, strives have been made in an attempt to assure mainly women that beauty comes in all its unique forms. Dove has executed a number of campaigns, showing women that what the world perceives as beauty is nothing but a photoshopped image. They show the world that real beauty comes from real women, not a photograph.
There is something to be said for having confidence in yourself. While it is admirable to strive for perfection, no such thing exists. We should be concerned about our health and the products we put into our body, rather than consuming or not consuming what will alter our image more or less.
We all deserve to be proud of ourselves and the person we are. To be known for the qualities of our personality and the way in which we treat the people and the world around us. It all begins with one person, taking a step forward to say we are all beautiful and deserve to be loved in all our forms, despite our appearance.
There is a lesson to be learned about self-perception and beauty. It starts with how you view yourself. Then, it continues with how you allow others to view you.
Take it again from Shane Koyczan, who said, “I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite,” because you should too.