Media Reflections on Body Image

            I am five foot one. My weight is in a healthy range. I’m average. And sometimes I feel like average isn’t enough.

            Out of all ten year old girls, approximately eighty percent have gone on a diet. I was one of those statistics and I don’t want those numbers to continue. I want them to disappear. I want them to disappear along with the ideas that go with it. 

            Why does society idolize the inhuman and negate the average, the human behind those edited pictures in magazines? Why does it seem like perfection is attainable when the image of perfection is nothing but an idea? 

            I am so over this idea. 

            I am an average sized woman—but the media makes women like me, feel less than.    

            I started my first “diet” when I was eight. I don’t recall anyone telling me I needed too, it was just an idea that I had in my mind—that I needed to be something other than I was. To look the way the celebrities I idolized looked. To appear the way I perceived other girls my age to be. I thought my body needed to be changed. I thought that being an average weight wasn’t good enough—that I needed to weigh less in order to be worth more. 

            I remember flipping through a magazine as a teenager, reading about celebrity diets and workouts. The magazine was targeted toward my age group, but there was something twisted about what it represented. I remember one time in particular; remember seeing a photo of Demi Lovato, showcasing what she was eating for lunch. It was a meager salad; a few greens topped with a few pieces of chicken. This was supposed to be a note on eating well and living a healthful lifestyle. Demi Lovato was supposed to represent to young girls what it is to live healthy and be successful. 

            Ironically, this “poster child” for health and success ended up in rehab by age eighteen, part of the reason of which, was for an eating disorder.   

            And it’s heartbreaking. 

            It’s so sad to think that she struggled so much and no one realized until it was too late. It’s darkly ironic that the girl so many young girls looked up to, was struggling with her own issues, self-doubt, and insecurities. 

            As women, we should help each other be the best version of ourselves. Not to be perfect, but to simply be human, and live in a way that brings joy and fulfillment not only to our lives, but to the lives of those around us.   

            I’ve had enough of the damage society has caused women, and I’ve had enough of people using words like skinny, or fat, tall, short, pretty or ugly—any word with a connotation that makes someone seem inferior to another.

            I’ve had enough of feeling inferior to myself and those around me. 

            It took me a long time to realize that we are all different, yet we are all the same. And that we all want to be seen for who we are, while hiding behind the mask of who we want to be. 

            I have finally accepted that this is who I am, and this is what I look like—and I am beautifully me, and that is enough, and will always be enough. 

            Society has come a long way in the ways that the media now represents women. There are public figures who express realistic body standards, and criticize the media for portraying unrealistic versions of them.

            Actress Lili Reinhart, made a speech at the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit, sharing her own experiences with body image and the media. In her speech she says, “I didn’t think anything was wrong with my body until I was in an industry that rewards and praises people for having a smaller waist than I will ever have.” 

You can check out the video posted on Glamour’s official YouTube Channel below.

Video from 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit

            Reinhart is an average sized woman who embellishes what it means to be healthy and happy, and is an excellent role model for young girls. Despite what some magazines try to portray, Reinhart openly admits that she doesn’t have a perfect body, and never will—and that is okay. She says, “We aren’t born with theses insecurities. We are told to be insecure about certain things.”

            We’ve come a long way as a society—the media now expresses the many different body types, and no longer sends strong messages that women must conform to the “norm.” But the fight isn’t entirely over. There are still unrealistic and degrading messages in the media pertaining to body image and there is still the aftermath, of the years many young women have spent comparing themselves to a mold that simply does not exist. And I want young girls to know that it’s okay to be seen who for you are—because who you are is so much more than enough. 

            I’m no longer that eight year old on a diet. Instead I choose to eat healthfully and take care of my body. I’m no longer that teenager starving herself to attain a body figure that isn’t attainable. Instead I exercise to be strong, and choose foods that bring me strength, and fuel me for my busy days. And I’m no longer that young women who is angered by the number on a scale. Because I understand now, that the scale is just a number. And I’m so much more than just a number.  

            Every day I strive to be the best me I can be. And sure, there are moments when I look in the mirror and wish I was a little taller, or a little thinner, or that I had more muscle, but the thing is—I am still me. What I look like doesn’t change the fact that I am a healthy young women, whose genetics incline that she be on the shorter side, weigh an average weight because that is my body type, and sure, maybe I could lift some heavier weights when I work out because there’s always room for growth, but I don’t have to be better. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’m beautiful. I don’t have to be thinner. And Lord knows I’m not getting any taller. 

            And that’s okay. 

            Because I only have to be me.  And I am enough. 

            And I want you to know, whoever you are—that you are enough, too. 

body image self-reflection

Rachel Writes View All →

Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.

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