By Elaine Wilson
Media has taught women to have insecurities.
Not a very bold argument, right? It’s been noted that many young women have been impacted by magazine and TV advertisements, usually developing into insecurities and a need to meet media standards of beauty. There are some companies, like Dove and American Eagle, who have released “real beauty” campaigns to dissipate these results. But it doesn’t stop. Young women are always looking for something they don’t have.
Let me try and explain what I mean by a real situation that recently happened with me, my roommate, and another girl that lived in our hall. I had just finished arguing with my boyfriend over the phone about the insecurities I had about my body, despite my boyfriend reassuring me over and over and pleading that I believed his assertions about my beauty. Obviously, these insecurities can’t go away in the duration of a phone call. For me, I am extremely insecure about my small breasts and my acne-prone skin. Even at a young age, I have considered plastic surgery in order to meet this standard of beauty that has been set.
Messages like these are constantly appearing on social media and bashing the opposite body type.
On the other hand, my roommate has large breasts, and spent a good portion of her high school like being referred to as “the girl with big boobs.” She was also an athlete with broad shoulders, and often felt like her strong upper body made her more masculine. This girl down the hall generally sees herself as over-weight, despite the fact that she is a college rower in terrific shape.
I was telling these women about the argument I just had with my boyfriend, voicing my insecurities about my body. The girl down the hall scoffed at me and told me I was lucky to have the body I did, and that she constantly wishes she could be thin like I was. I tried to explain to her why I felt insecure, and she was so angry that she stormed away and went back to her room.
The reality is that media has told her she is fat, just like media has told my roommate she should be objectified, just like media has told me I am not feminine enough. I spent middle school and high school trying to gain weight because I was tired of everyone calling me “tiny” or that “I was all bones.” I didn’t hit one-hundred pounds until I was a sophomore in high school. I have yet to have noticeable breasts (or maybe that is just how I see them). I have been told by media that I am not to be considered a “real woman” due to my lack of curves.
Sitting second from the right, I was in public without a bra and still felt feminine
Yet there’s always another story. My best friend attends University of Miami, and she is thin, like I am, but with larger curves. Within weeks of her attending the school, she had been accused of having “ass-implants” and has been nicknamed “Nicki” after the rapper Nicki Minaj, who happens to have a bodacious body. She is seen as a sexual figure by people she has encountered, and has confided that she’s worried people won’t like her for her mind or personality, despite the fact that she is one of the most intelligent and wonderful people I have encountered.
Essentially, women are waging a war against each other based on our bodies. That girl down the hall was upset because I had what she wanted, in her mind, and she always gets angry if I say something about my body. My roommate and I joke that I will take some of her breasts for her. And my best friend also wants to get her “implants” removed.
I challenge women to own their dimensions, regardless. I’m slowly learning to accept mine, that’s for sure. Sir-Mix-A Lot stated, “36-24-36? Only if she’s 5’3?” Well, I’m 5’3”, 30-26-33. And I own it. You should too.