The media treats women’s body types like trends and us women are stuck in the exhausting cycle of trying to keep up with the newest trends. We are constantly trying to figure out what is in and what is out in terms of our bodies. Are hips in? What about thigh gaps? The list of questions we ask ourselves about the ideal body type can go on forever.
Before social media, body types were trending on tabloids and TMZ, now they are trending on the social media sites that we spend a massive amount of time on every day, leading to an increase in the amount of exposure we have to this ideal body type, as told by the media. Today we have celebrities such as the Kardashians who are trying to portray their bodies as the desired body type. They strive to tell their followers that through hard work, they too can reach their goal and look exactly like them, which is normally not the case.
The sad truth is, there are very few people who are born or have the ability to work towards this goal. Many different factors play into the bodies we see on social media.
The Illusion of Photoshop
It is not a secret that celebrities use photoshop to show their followers bodies that are certainly not theirs. Google “Celebrity Photoshop Fails” and you can see how frighteningly common photoshop is today on social media and the drastic ways it can change your body. A lot of people are using it so that they can hide their flaws from social media or even create features they do not have.
If you ask any young girl if they have any photoshop apps, their answer is more likely going to be “yes.” They will follow this up by saying that they do not use it or only use it for small things, such as teeth whitening, but they have most likely played around on making their body the perfect shape.
The scariest part of photoshop is how disguisable it can be. There are times when photoshop does not look like photoshop leading to people feeling hopeless because their body does not compare to the highly edited photo they are seeing. We do not see the edited photo of ourselves in the mirror when we get up in the morning, and the effects editing can have on our reality are truly troubling.
It is not only photoshop that can alter our bodies to make them different. Filters, angles and lighting can also have this effect and we must be wary of this as well.
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Not Owning up to Plastic Surgery
I want to start this section by stating that plastic surgery is the choice of the person who gets it and should not be looked down upon. I strongly believe that if you are getting plastic surgery for the right reasons and are open about the work you have done, there should be no shame in it. When you receive plastic surgery and try to portray it off as though you were born like this, that is when it can become a major issue and affect those around you.
Many celebrities have gone under fire for attempting to parade around lip fillers and Botox as “completely natural.” Like photoshop, plastic surgery that is portrayed to be natural can alter our sense of reality when it comes to attainable body types and severely damage other’s self esteem and lead them to question why they do not look the same way.
First, we must recognize what is real and what is not. This is the first step of accepting that the ideal body we see every day on social media may not be attainable because it is highly edited and false. By realizing this, we can begin to accept ourselves more for who we are and not what we want to become. Social media is not reality, and to fully accept ourselves we must accept that fact. Too much goes on behind the posts we are seeing to accept them as realistic.
Next, we must dispel the idea that body types are trends. At the end of the day, you are born with the body you have and feeling the need to constantly change it whenever there is a new perfect body is exhausting and no way to live your life. Let’s stop the comparisons and learn to love our bodies the way they are and not for how they compare to the newest trends.
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Payton Toomey (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and information sciences and esociety. She loves to cook and golf in her free time.