Recently, my Facebook newsfeed has been exploding with “this person and this person read this article…” I believe the cause for this is some new application facebook added. I have [unintentionally] noticed a trend in the articles my female facebook friends have been reading. Ninty percent of the articles being read [at least according to facebook] are articles that state how real, live breathing women are not as ‘gorgeous’ or ‘beautiful’ as the media portrays them to be. Some of the articles to which I am referring to are,“15 Photoshopped Transformations of Celebs and Models”, “Hunger Game’s Jennifer Lawrence Without Makeup: What Does She Look Like?”, “Crazy Transformation: Kate Winslet From Titanic to Now”, “Supermodels Without Photoshop”, and the list continues. This recent trend has made me ask myself the question why: Why do women find the need and/or confidence to deteriorate other women’s physical images to feel confident with their own physical appearance?
Now, before you discontinue reading this blog post out of anger and/or frustration let me explain some things to you. One, I am not writing this post to lecture or preach to any woman [or man] about the subject matter, I simply want to open a dialogue of discussion and self- reflection. Secondly, before you claim “I just don’t get it” and discontinue reading, let me inform you, that is false: I do get it. The author of this blog post, me, is a woman who from grade school through middle school ran all the time in order to “stop looking fat”. I am a woman who permanently hurt her knee [due to undeveloped tendons] due to running too much at such a young age.I am a woman who had an undiagnosed eating disorder in middle school. I am a woman who went her entire high school career being concerned with her physical appearance. I am woman who has cried over what she saw in the mirror when she woke up in the morning. I do understand and I do still struggle with body image, just like millions of other people across the globe.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to change. I want to wake up in the morning, put on clothes, and walk out the door WITHOUT having to look in the mirror. I want to have the same confidence about my physical being whether I am in shorts and a t-shirt and drenched in sweat or in a silky black dress with my hair up. Before that can happen though, I have to first understand why I am so obsessed with my physical image, along with every other woman’s physical image. Why do I feel the need to compare myself to other women? Why is it that many women would rather hear “you’re beautiful” rather than “you’re smart, kind, funny”?… Why?
What about our society, about our structures and institutions, about our media, about our lives make beauty such a topic of immense pain and desire? Is this is justice issue? Where is the injustice? How do we act justly with relation ourselves and how does that action free up others to move with dignity throughout the world? How does our conception and definition of beauty affect the way that we name success and honor in the world?
-Anonymous Cortina Student