Just another daydream: Columnist challenges view on modern day body image

Addie Conway
Opinion Columnist

Different people want different things, yet what it all ends up coming down to is changing the way their bodies are because they aren’t perfect.

Being raised in America we come to a conclusion that there is, in fact, a perfect body type and if you were to achieve the said perfection, everything in your life would be perfect. After all, if you reach perfection on the outside, then surely you can reach perfection on the inside as well.

People want to be able to change the way their body looks, and now they can through exercising, drugs, cosmetic surgery (even ones that are considered more “minor” such as receiving Botox), hair dying, makeup, tanning, bleaching of the skin, eating disorders and a variety of other products.

Everyone sees the ads, TV shows, inspirational posters, magazine profiles and other media coverage that tell you to love yourself because everybody and every person is beautiful in their own way. The ironic part of this is the constant pressure to look a specific way and most of the pressure comes from the media.

Most girls love reading gossip magazines, which make their living by either ripping apart a certain celebrity or building up a certain celebrity. Of course, it’s not just gossip magazines that do this. Even CNN has a section devoted to “entertainment,” which has a lot to do with tearing down celebrities by talking about how much weight they have either gained or lost, who’s had plastic surgery, and so on.

In a society in which this is considered what’s “normal,” is it any wonder that most people feel that they aren’t perfect enough? When most people think of “body image,” they think it’s an issue that only girls and women have to deal with; however, guys have their own body issues as well.

In American society, the perfect man is a “stud” who can get with a lot of women; he is strong, has perfect teeth, has a full head of hair and is tall. On the other hand the perfect woman is blond, blue-eyed, tan, and skinny and is never taller than the man.

My question is where did these stereotypes come from? What makes this person more “perfect’” than the other? Everyone says that being healthy is the only thing that matters but if that’s true, then why are so many people focused on their appearance?

To me it seems as though people focus on their appearance as a way to not focus on the inside. After all you can fix your appearance; you can’t fix how you feel on the inside as easily. Some of it, of course, is natural. All teenagers have to go through puberty and bodies change during that that time period. Therefore a lot of body image issues start around teenager years, yet they end up going on until adulthood.

I personally feel that differences, whether they be mental, physical and emotional or otherwise should be celebrated. Everyone has something to bring to the table; otherwise everything and everyone would be boring and all the same. Who wants that? I certainly don’t.

My challenge is that next time you look in the mirror and see something about you that society defines as “not being perfect” or “not being good enough,” you say that it is good enough. That saying of “together we can change the world” isn’t just a saying. It can happen and I challenge you to be the proof of that.

Leave a Reply