In a world where 91 percent of women don’t like how they look and where 89 percent of girls have tried a diet by age 17, the last thing we need is another reason to feel bad about our bodies. And yet, there have recently been a slew of body-shaming trends bombarding us on social media. Trends that tell us our waists should be thinner than a sheet of paper and our knees smaller than an iPhone.
To some people, it’s all just a joke. It’s something to laugh about with your friends, something so absurd, you brush it off as just another Instagram fad.
But to the girl who looks in the mirror everyday and hates what she sees or to the girl throwing up after every meal in hopes of fitting into a size 0, these trends are dangerous. They are another trigger, another pressure, another impossible standard, young girls are trying to adhere to.
Body-shaming is not something to be taken lightly. It’s not something we can just ignore as it’s destroying our self esteem, encouraging eating disorders, and diminishing our value as women.
We are telling young girls that they are unworthy if they can’t wrap their arms around their backs and reach their belly button. We are telling them the size of their waists are more important than the size of their brains or their hearts. We are telling them anything less-than-perfect means that they have failed.
And since we all know perfection is impossible, especially when it comes to our external appearance, the pressure to fit a “perfect” ideal is very dangerous. We are guaranteed to fail, at least according to the standards set by society.
The result is low confidence and barely existent self-esteem, both issues that affect more than just what we see in the mirror. Body insecurity can morph into poor performance at school or work, social isolation, failed relationships and anxiety or depression. Skinny shouldn’t be our ultimate goal. Health (physical and mental) should be. Thinner isn’t always better, as proven by the scary effects of eating disorders.
Body-shaming trends are often meant as jokes, but unfortunately snowball into something real, something that women begin to compare themselves to. We are told that if we have the perfect body, we will be happy. However, real happiness doesn’t come from the number we see on the scale. It comes from accepting ourselves for who we are, no matter our size. It comes from loving what’s on the inside, no matter what’s on the outside.