Photo By Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign
For centuries, the society has dictated the “ideal” body of a woman through the media. This begins at a tender young age when a girl is given a size zero Barbie to play with, and this unrealistic perception of “perfect” lasts for a lifetime through every magazine she opens, every song she falls asleep to, every movie which is her guilty pleasure and every advertisement she catches sight during the Family Viewing Hour.
Manifestly, there is an ulterior motive for the media to be obsessed with women’s bodies, but if you have ever found yourself wistfully wishing for the “ideal” body depicted by the media, remember that the media’s concept of the “ideal” woman’s body IS NOT STATIC. Hence, the body type Vogue deems “perfect” this year is just a representation of what has bubbled up in the current cauldron of ‘celebrity culture’, so the physical qualities we embrace today are often at odds with those from previous generations.
To begin with, I have battled with a dash of negativity concerning my body. It began at a young age when I was cheekily mocked for my height and compared with my taller or “normal sized” friends. Thus, I began hanging from one bar to the other and attempted sports such as basketball without putting my heart into it, just to shoot up by giving into the myths. Moreover, I guzzled Complan, Horlicks and Bournvita which swore to increase ones’ height.
Nevertheless, I was mainly content as I did not let the remarks about my height have a vast impact on me. So, when my attempts to grow a few inches inevitably failed, I was content.
I was not a heavy eater back in the days so I managed to stay rather slender until the very end of my teenage years. I was still content.
After I met my man who is a hearty eater who devours desserts with a passion, I found myself exploring the world of food with him over breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and ESPECIALLY dessert dates.
Now, I weigh 100-110 pounds. The numbers never got to me, but the fact that I am unable to wear SEVERAL clothes which I put my heart into, bothers me. Therefore, I am not completely content.
I used to work out every once in a while for a month or so, but followed by a hiatus of a year and a half, I decided to hit the gym once again as I could not fit into a ‘Misty Lace Up Top’ I bought from Valleygirl, which was love with at first sight.
I have flabby arms and belly fat.
Hence, I started working out for the sole purpose to fit into this top, but I have started to realise what I have been missing out on. Besides, I plan on uploading ‘first hand’ fitness related content, so stay tuned!
Even though I have built a (narcissist) level of confidence for myself, there are times when I defy every rule in my book and become vulnerable at the face of insecurity.
According to sources cited on Feministing.com, it is estimated that over a lifetime, the average woman will spend USD 500,000 on ‘beautification’.
If you are spending on beautifying yourself for yourself, I am your benevolent cheerleader, but if you feel “coerced” to “invest” in “beautifying” your body, run!
Throughout the 20th century, the “ideal” body of a woman has persisted in being steadily slimmer than that of the average woman, representing a nigh impossible ideal. Dissatisfaction with weight became nearly universal among women, while dieting is pervasive. Consequently, a great deal of women almost starve themselves to attain the (usually photo shopped) “ideal” body, and this results in lifelong unhappiness toward one’s own body.
In 2014, Vogue established that big bums were back in fashion, while in 2015, the Guardian asked if big lips were the new bushy brow. What often isn’t noticed is how these “trends” are treating a specific trait of beauty as a mere fashion statement. Woefully, we hear men making remarks such as, “Real men want meat. Bones are for the dogs,” to which I may add, “Shut the fuck up. We don’t care about what ‘men’ want.” Technically, a curvy body is the beau idéal now (the media is yet to catch up), as the ‘slim’ women who were glorified earlier are being ‘skinny shamed’ and the ‘curvy’ women who were ‘fat shamed’ earlier are being glorified now. Notice a pattern?
Thus, it is evident that we can NOT please the society, but ourselves. Today, a woman might dislocate her hips while doing a million squats in one sitting and a mere teen may be undergoing a buttock augmentation surgery for the sole purpose to fitting in to the contemporaneous “ideal” body standard of the society, but for how will this THIS trend last? I cannot help wondering how the ‘skinny’ women who were the rage during the “heroin chic” era of the 90s, are feeling now. Are they more dissatisfied with their bodies since they have moved away from being “ideal”? All it takes is one snooty casting director to decide your body type is “over”. When the “curves” go out of fashion, on which road will these women walk next?
Ladies, your body is a Temple and YOU are the Mistress, so do not let the society mould it into a “trend” which they deem fit to “worship.” Start by setting an ideal body type for YOURSELF rather than what is preferred by someone else, and work for it. If you desire a muscular body, increase your caloric consumption and maximise muscle building. If you desire a toned one, start with basic exercises to build your endurance and focus on nutrient rich foods. If you desire a slim body, consume more fibre and run for miles. If you desire an hourglass figure, gain weight as you work out by consuming more overall calories. Even if I have missed your ideal body type, keep going by the sweat of your brow because it is YOUR body and if you do not take care of it or love it, where are you going to live? (Cheesy, I know.)
Whilst you are transforming your SMOKIN’ HOT BODY into a SMOKIN’ HOTTER BODY, you should become a critical viewer of the negative media in this day and time. This is precisely why I am not a fan of fashion, rather, I chose to adapt my own style. I did not have the appeal to invest in a crop top even though everyone else was wearing it ONLY because it is not a piece I wanted to make room for, in my wardrobe. However, there were (are they still at it?) ladies out there who were flourishing the aforesaid trend, but you see, it was not for me. I would adorn myself in an outfit within my comfort zone rather than torture my body in an outfit which has ‘Society Pleaser’ written across it in COPPERPLATE GOTHIC BOLD.
So, whenever you see a model sporting an outfit on an online store, know that the outfit you just saw is, in all likelihood, designed for the (or similar) body type of the model wearing it. Ergo, do not feel the need to bash eBay or Amazon whenever an attire you bought online does not fit you like it fits the model wearing it, unless the sizing chart is EVIDENTLY misrepresented.
Ladies, cherish all that your body can do, and remind yourself that true beauty is not skin deep, but a state of mind. Over and above that, promise me that you will confront your body demons, for real this time.