Fat. Disgusting. Ugly. Not good enough.
It’s 2AM and I’m standing in the bathroom. I’m looking down at my stomach, pinching, prodding. I’m 5’1” and 120 lbs. I have brown hair and pinkish skin and green eyes. I think I’m disgusting.
It’s 10AM and I’m in the bathroom between my English and French classes. Two girls are talking next to me. “I’m so fat,” one says. The other touches her friend’s shoulder and laughs. “You’re joking! I’m the fat one.” They walk off laughing, but I can see their sadness. It wasn’t really a joke to them.
It’s 2016 and I am living in a world where women and men alike pick themselves apart every day, desperately trying to meet a nebulous standard of beauty. They want a thigh gap or lighter skin or bigger breasts or 6-pack abs. I really just don’t understand.
Why can’t we see that we are beautiful the way we are? We can’t understand that this modern idea of beauty changes every day. Today, it’s Kylie Jenner, but tomorrow it will be Cara Delevingne. Yesterday it was big lips, today it’s big butts.
We stand around in bathrooms, critiquing our appearances. It’s like it’s a competition of who hates themselves the most. I am guilty of staring at myself in shame, wondering why I can’t match up.
But how am I supposed to have a delicate waist and matchstick-thin legs while boasting a Kardashian-sized bottom? How do I swap my parts around like a paper doll – with Selena’s eyes, Mila’s hair, JLaw’s breasts, and Kim’s legs?
The sad reality is that we can never match up to society’s standards. Less than 5% of women look like the models we idolize and no matter how much we exercise or starve ourselves, we can never meet a standard which is constantly changing.
I’m frustrated and I don’t know what to say. I’m living in a world of injustice, where we hurt ourselves more by the minute, but I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to change anything. I want to reach out, to touch someone’s heart and tell them they are enough. I want to scream to the world that they are beautiful, but I don’t know how to convince them.
This standard of beauty is crushing us and I don’t know what to do. I can’t tell the media to stop promoting diet drugs or to stop plastering ads about “bikini bodies” everywhere, but I can tell my friends they are beautiful and I can love myself.
What if we started a war on negative body image? What if we built each other up, stopped comparing ourselves to others, and loved the skin we are in? I want to tear down these constructs of beauty and raise up a new standard of self-love.
Next time I look in the mirror, I will say a positive word. When I hear friends tearing themselves down, I will build them up with love. I will sport my bikini with pride, stretch marks and cellulite and all. Today, I hope that you can do the same. We can’t change the world all at once, but maybe if we all take the time to love ourselves, love others, and stop perpetuating these toxic ideas of perfection, maybe we can show the world that beauty comes in a billion forms, not just one warped, ever-changing version.