Body Image: An All-too Common Problem

Do yourself a favor. I am going to give you instructions, and I want you to follow them no matter how unnerving or awkward you find them to be. Go into your room, bathroom, wherever you can find privacy and a mirror. Now strip. Seriously. Strip down to nothing but you. Examine your body – figure out what you love, what you don’t love, the weaknesses and strengths of your body. Now, despite what you see and what you feel, love it. Love your body. This is the first step to overcoming outside pressures. This is the first step to knowing yourself. By taking the first step to love your body, you win. The demands of society cannot overcome you.

Throughout the years, there has been on-going controversy over whether or not sexual harassment is a result of what women wear in public. As Americans, we live in a country where we have been lucky enough to express ourselves freely and limitlessly, to an extent, in terms of clothing. Though we still face many struggles, social acceptance of men wearing women’s clothing and women wearing men’s clothing is increasing year by year. The acceptance appears to be there, but is it really? Specifically focusing on women, society’s views on the “ideal woman,” and the criticism they undergo can create struggles behind closed doors.

Magazine stands are filled to the brim with covers exploiting women with beautiful faces and chiseled bodies. Attractive to the eye, men are drawn to these images while women pick up a copy and flip to the articles explaining how they can look just like the model, actress, or singer. Continuously, women make themselves sick over the idea of transforming what they have to what they want – or what some even consider that they need. Oftentimes though, we forget the logistics of the image on which we feast our eyes. I am positive that if we each had a makeup and hair artist, a personal trainer, and the blessing of airbrushing, any one of us walking down the street could look like a celebrity. It is an illusion that celebrities are born with beauty and poise embedded in their DNA. When we look at these images, it is common for us to then turn to our own mirrors and not only judge, but criticize, hate and come down on ourselves for what we have been born into, rather than love and appreciate our own attributes. It is undeniable that these women are gorgeous, but that does NOT give us free range to deny our own beauty.

It is normal to strive to better ourselves, but sometimes the desire to become something greater can lead us down the wrong paths to reach that ideal. The pressure to be perfect becomes a disease that spurs dangerous – sometimes even fatal – results. Oftentimes women develop eating disorders and harm their bodies. They therefore, in the process of reaching perfection, ultimately destroy themselves rather than improve themselves.

Each of us has a body, our most intimate possession. A body acts as a home for the mind, in which the mindset of the body controls how it is built. If the construction is sloppy, careless, or rough, it will show through the finished product, but the decision to mold, create and enjoy the process of structuring your home is rewarding. Ultimately, your body is just that – yours. You have control over what goes in it, what work it does, and what pressures it will face. So stand in front of that mirror. Mold the silence into an encouraging voice. Transform the pressure into personal achievement. And finally, don’t let society create you. Create yourself.