Body image is a complex issue influenced by various factors. Societal standards play a significant role in shaping perceptions of ourselves and beauty. While it is easy to blame our negative self-perceptions on society, it is important to recognize that we are a society and have the power to shape our beauty standards and self-image.
Failing to meet beauty standards can result in low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. Even those confident in their bodies may struggle to accurately perceive their appearance. Battling with the contradiction of reality and perception can lead to unhealthy and dangerous habits, such as developing eating disorders and negative well-being.
Celebrities such as Billie Eilish, Lili Reinhart, and Robert Pattinson experience some form of body dysmorphia and deal with it in different ways. For example, Ellish does not feel comfortable wearing tight clothes.
The journey toward positive body image is not without its highs and lows. One thing that remains constant is the importance of loving and accepting one’s body. Body dysmorphia can make distinguishing between reality and perception difficult, but it is crucial to appreciate it regardless.
Self-esteem and body confidence is something that requires self-regulation and internal validation. While seeking others’ opinions may boost confidence, it is a short-term solution. Like looking at artwork, standing at different angles, one can interpret differently from the person next to them. Everyone will view the artwork based on what they see. The artist is the only person who truly knows the artwork’s meaning.
Andy Warhol said in his autobiography, “At one time, the way my nose looked really bothered me. It’s always red, and I decided I wanted to have it sanded. I went to see the doctor, and I think he thought he’d humor me, so he sanded it. When I walked out of St. Luke’s Hospital, I was the same underneath, but had a bandage on.”
To love yourself internally means to love yourself from the inside out.
Changing your body and taking action to look a certain way is not a bad thing. Work on yourself and do what makes you confident, but simultaneously love your body for what it is at that moment.
Your body is like your house. It may need some maintenance now and then, but you still return to it when you need it and live in it. It is the same place you call home, the place that supports and protects you. Your body is the home to your heart and soul, and that is what truly matters.
In the same way, you find beauty in art, find beauty in your body. Art can teach us to appreciate the body for what it is. Warhol’s “Before and After” art piece reflects his experience with his nose. From this artwork, we can learn to embrace who we are and who we are.
Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter known for her self-portraits, teaches us to embrace the body in all its flaws and beauty. In her self-portraits, she honestly portrays herself with her physical and emotional turmoil.
The next time you choose an outfit, try to base your decision on what you genuinely want to wear. Don’t let society decide for you. This might mean stepping outside your comfort zone and wearing something that doesn’t conform to traditional beauty standards. You can wear anything, as long as you wear it with confidence. Try new styles or show off a feature you may have been taught to hide.
To those who may feel too thin or desire to be thinner, do not rely on the mirror or the scale to determine your worth. Remember that self-love and body confidence should not be intertwined. In the same way, we do not rely on others for our confidence, we do not rely on our physical appearance for validation because our bodies are subject to change.
From here on out, we will not ask the mirror who is the prettiest of them all. Instead, we will look in the mirror with confidence.