Disclaimer: I would like to put out a quick disclaimer that I am in no way trying to speak for anyone but myself, and these are merely my thoughts on the issues.
So, its almost three in the morning and I’m lying awake in bed thinking, as I often do, about body image.
I frustrates me to no end how obsessed we are with our appearance. And I say we because I am so sick of people talking about this scapegoat “society” that everyone loves to blame everything on. By blaming “society” you take yourself out of the equation, regretting to acknowledge that you yourself are part of what makes up society. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a prime example of this paradox. I am ranting about looks on a fashion blog. There’s not much more of a paradox than that.
However, I think this is important and I think the more people talk about it, the more it will eventually become a non-issue.
What really frustrates me is how much people’s self worth is tied to their appearance. In reality this is the farthest thing from what makes a person who they are. I supposed there is some kind of genetic rooting in this, like the female birds who mate with the most colorful male birds, but we have gone far past the pitfalls of procreation.
I would also like to point out that this is a topic that is generally talked about pertaining to women, but I think that it is an issue for men as well as women. I don’t know if it is fair to say it is more of an issue for one sex or the other (although women have been historically and currently the more often physically objectified sex), but I think that discussing it as solely a women’s issue can make it seem less important. Which gets into a whole issue of gender inequality, which is not something I’m looking to delve into right now.
Anyway, another facet to this is that: the fact that we are even able to worry about this on a regular basis is an extreme privilege. There are people everywhere fighting for their lives, and that our appearance is one of our main worries is mind boggling. I would truly like to know how much people in difficult circumstances, or different societies think about their appearance and what it means to them. I obviously have an extremely limited perspective on this issue, but as I feel like I am in one of they key demographics that it affects, I think that my thoughts on the issue may be helpful in some way, even if it’s only indulging my own thoughts.
But moving on with the subject, another thing that ties into this is the fact that fashion has now become not really about expressing yourself, or wearing clothes as an art, so to speak, as it has become about looking as thin as possible.
For an example from my own life, the other day I tried on a body con dress. I really liked it, but it was tight and showed my stomach, so because of that I did not get it. There are numerous times that I have not gotten things because I felt that they showed my stomach too much.
One time last spring I was shopping with my roommate and I was trying to decide whether or not I was going to get a dress (if you’re wondering it was the striped one from my early fall lookbook). I really liked it, but you could see my stomach fat in it. I pointed this out to her and she said to me “So what. That is your stomach and it holds your organs. So what if it shows? Who cares?” I’m paraphrasing here, but her point has always stuck with me. If people stopped worrying so much about how their bodies look and started appreciating the fact that they LITERALLY KEEP YOU ALIVE I think we would all be so much happier. There is a YouYube video by Mike Falzone (one of my favorite YouTube comedians) that touches on the same topic, in a funnier way. You can watch it here.
This brings me to my next topic in the issue (I realize this is a really long post. Feel free to stop reading anytime you want. Maybe you already stopped reading. Maybe you think I’m annoying and crazy. That’s okay.) My next topic is what I believe to be a key part of American (USA) culture: self loathing.
If you think about how many comedians have made careers off of picking on themselves, it’s amazing. On one hand, this can help point out the absurdness of things, but on the other, if someone is picking on themselves for being fat (for example), it makes anyone else who identifies as being fat the punchline of a joke. And it further perpetuates the idea that to hate yourself is okay, it’s good in fact.
There is a horrible paradox where you should love yourself, but if you love yourself too much you’re vain. So then you should hate your body, but if you hate your body too much then you’re also vain. I’m just throwing it out there, that I think a pretty large percentage of the population is vain in some way, shape, or form, so how is that even an insult anymore?
And you should also be “the best you can be” which sets a standard which is never achievable. I feel as though it is rare to find someone who is content with their body. Like the scene in Mean Girls, there is always something that people can find to pick apart about themselves.
There is also the fact that we are obsessed with youth, yet much of the youth is obseesed with hating themsleves. I am exaggerating and genrealizing here, but I still think it is a valid point. Paradox on paradox on paradox…
Anyway, my final point is this (and this is by no means a conclusion because this is an ongoing thing) is that I wish that looks did not matter so much. My aunt posted a really great quote the other day which sort of spawned this rant: