Body positivity. Beauty is a social construct; one which is used to make people feel as if they are not good enough.
Cover picture courtesy of: David Federico [photographer], Almond [performer], 2019, Berlin
“ It is unfair of us to assume that people know how to love themselves… [corporations have] spent decades telling people they weren’t good enough and selling them an ideal of Beauty”- Lizzo- Guardian.
On a daily basis we are inundated with hundreds of messages about beauty. Media is constantly telling us how we could be more beautiful. We see models and performers praised for beauty in ways which say to us ‘this is what you should look like if you want to be beautiful too’. We are made to believe that being beautiful is the fastest way to happiness, but who is it that defines what is beautiful? Being beautiful by society’s standards means that you are a thin, cisgendered, white, able bodied person. We can try our hardest to achieve these standards and still feel unpretty because society’s Eurocentric ideals of what beauty is are unattainable.
Beauty is a social construct; one which is used to make people feel as if they are not good enough in order convince them to buy products that promise to bring is beauty and therefore happiness. We are never taught how to love ourselves just as we are. This is part of why the process of discovering self- love, self acceptance and happiness can be so difficult. The first step towards learning to love yourself is unlearning what society has told you about beauty.
In recent years there have been movements toward body acceptance which has sparked the inclusion of bodies typically ignored by mainstream media. People who are Fat, Black, Disabled, Queer and/or Trans are finally able to see themselves portrayed in a positive light. For some this has been seen as a radical movement because it’s so far from what society has deemed as acceptable. Bodies exist in so many shapes and forms, it should not be considered radical to love yourself and your body as it is. We can not continue to let the antiquated ideas about beauty dictate how we feel about ourselves. We must begin to change the dialogue around beauty in order to begin to truly love ourselves as we are. One way that we can begin this journey of discovering what beauty feels like to us is thinking about what we do for ourselves and what we do for others. This will help to bring awareness to patterns we may have adopted because society has made us feel as if that is what we need to do in order to be accepted and seen as beautiful. Another step that we can take towards self acceptance is to be mindful of the media that we consume because what we consume can unconsciously impact how we feel about ourselves. Media is something that is almost unavoidable, but we do have some say in what we see and in how we allow it to influence us. Remember that no matter what we look like we are worthy of love and respect. Bodies of every size, shape, color and ability are to be loved and celebrated.There is beauty In self love and self acceptance in a world which is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough. Achieving these things is a lifelong journey of unlearning and gaining self awareness and the reward for the difficult work of doing so is invaluable.