Whether queuing to get into the local bar, browsing Instagram or watching trashy TV – no woman can escape the hot topic that is the female body. So is it any wonder we’re absolutely obsessed with the ongoing debate of what constitutes the perfect body?
A fashion industry junky, I freely admit that I don’t particularly oppose the use of size zero models on the runway. As vacuous as it sounds, I almost feel like it’s the industry’s right of passage. With the nature of my career I’ve surrounded myself by these body types and yet as flawless as these girls are, seeing them has never sparked an envy in me. So naively I thought I was immune to the ‘perfect’ size and shape debate.
And yet when I look in the mirror, I can’t refrain from comparing myself to other people. I am not ugly. I’m not undesired. I’m a size 8 with curves in all the right places. So why is it I can’t make myself truly believe that I’m as good as the next girl?
Recently I met someone and whilst scrolling through his Facebook photos, he acknowledged a girl he had a holiday fling with. It was what I imagine a punch in the face feels like. She was painfully beautiful. She looked like an angel sent from heaven and I’m the rounded cherub holding the gates open. Awkwardly discussing it whilst I made some toneless “cooooool” inserts, all I could ask myself was how do I compete with that?
I wish more than anything I could have the ‘laid-back girl’ reaction, acknowledging my own worth without torturing myself with irrelevant comparisons. But unfortunately our lack of self-belief is too deep rooted.
One day we’re told that having legs that don’t touch anywhere in between is beautiful, the next we’re told that being plus-size is beautiful and then we’re told that sculpted athletic figures are beautiful. Are you able to put yourself in any of those categories? I know I can’t. So does that mean I’m not beautiful?
Indisputably the media is a huge culprit in the objectification of the female body but I don’t think it’s fair to blame our self-consciousness exclusively on them. The issue comes down to confidence.
What’s obvious is that our perceptions of ourselves are worryingly warped. I have statuesque friends that I perceive to be far more slender than me, yet we wear the same size clothes. And those same statuesque friends deem their legs to be ‘stumpy’ (even when standing next to me, who is by definition stumpy). Not even Beyoncé is immune to it – despite being heroed as the Holy Grail of female perfection she edits her photos to make her thighs look slimmer.
We all have so little self-belief that it’s ingrained it in our minds we’re not good enough.
As sickeningly cliché as it sounds, we are more than flesh and good make-up. What’s the sense in wishing ourselves away and wanting to be something we will never be? There is no sense in it because it achieves nothing.
Perhaps all it takes is to substitute the way we think; Instead of criticising our flaws, we should be praising our uniqueness. Mark Twain said it best when he said that “all you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
Images via Giphy.