UNREALISTIC BODY EXPECTATIONS
HEALTH IS WHAT I'M ABOUT
November 9, 2020
When we look at people like Kylie Jenner and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the ‘ideal body type,’ it messes with our heads. The average person cannot exceed past this ‘dream body.’ And most consumers on social media platforms are tired of these two body image extremes!
Mia Sen, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, says where she sees this most often: “I think always having a lot of promotions and lots of advertisements of models… it’s just always throws it into peoples faces that this is the standard of beauty we need to follow this is what they need to be accepted into society to be concerned to be beautiful.”
Internalization is common with the struggle of body acceptance, especially when it’s visually in your face everyday. You may start to think, “Why don’t I look this way?” And I will tell you the problem: most of the time, the celebrities you see are plastic and fake.
On a website called Spoon University, a writer named Haneen Al-hassoun states, “Think [about] Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. These celebs use plastic surgery, extreme diets, and waist trainers to achieve their looks.”
These two media stars are who many think of when it comes to the problem with female body expectations. But this rhetoric is mentality forced upon us even at a young age.
Liam Allen, a sophomore musical theater major from Pittsburgh explains, “What really annoys me the most is all the kids movies and kids books. All those girls are like ‘Oh hundred and twelve pounds’…Like I have a little sister that’s in first grade and I go into her books it’s like ‘Awe little Sally was a super model and I’m like f*** you little Sally.’ I think we definitely need to bring in some more plus sized representation because, like, look at the world around us; no one is a super model unless they are trying really damn hard and I don’t have time for that s***. I really don’t. That’s also like a lot of effort.”
Allen’s point is the reality; these are unattainable goals, and the fact that we put people, novel characters, and models on a pedestal like this is really a contradiction. It’s easy to have an unrealistic body when you have diet plans, a dietitian, the ability to pick and choose when to work, expensive photo shop, etc. As for the average person, you have a job, maybe children, school, and a budget. And, yes, of course eating green and excising is something we can all do, but getting plastic surgery as we please anytime we see a body part to critique is not realistic for most people.
Another point being, there are just some features that are out of our control and we can never change.
For example, “It’s kinda hard for ‘ little Jimmy on the street’ who’s what, 5 foot 3 inches”, and you Mr. LeBron James over here, and he’s telling Jimmy ‘ he can get there one day when in reality you need to teach people to be more comfortable in their own body and work with what they have. And I’m 6 foot 3 inches in a world of 6 foot 10 inch people, and I make the best out of what I have,” said Blainey Jones, a junior from Pittsburgh states.
Athletes can be the standard that ‘all males must meet’ to get attention, which is detrimental to young developing minds that are heavily influenced by the media. Furthermore, creating an ideal dating standard for specifically male teens to meet in order to get a date is far too much pressure.
Emily Tiley, a sophomore from South Fayette, talks about the bar that is made for females as well: ” …Let’s say your boyfriend or a guy you are interested in is talking like ‘Oh, I really want [a girl that] looks like Gigi Hadid or I want a girl that looks like Charli D’Amelio, I wanna girl that looks like Addison Rae I wanna big bubble booty I want this, this and this like no, okay, unrealistic.”
Not every single female is going to have a quote on quote ‘slim thick’ body type. You just can’t naturally change the anatomy of your body. Even ironically, sometimes the issue is flip flopped.
”Zendaya, for instance, posed for a cover spread of Modeliste magazine and was disgusted when she found out that the magazine had used Photoshop to make her body appear slimmer,” said the newspaper company the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
An actor who has a thin figure is being manipulated to have an even thinner body. My point being that, you are not going to be able to please everybody. One person may think hey this girl is too thick, too thin, slim thick, flat, fat, the list goes on.
This matter of expectation is also present among the LGBTQIA+ community.
Allen states, “Where I really see it is where you look in the gay community, where it’s like, ‘I want to be a twink’ but that may not be healthy…because I talk to them and they say ‘I’m gonna loose twenty pounds next month…”
No matter who you are, it’s challenging to deal with the weight of the world’s stereotypes, expectations, and body image. So, at the end of the day, all you need to be concerned about is you, and maybe these quotes could help us all get through.
“…[Y]ears ago they would show slimmer fit people, skinny with a waste line as tight as a wrist but now it’s more just health in general,” said Jones.
Prioritizing the care of your inside and outside should be the goal, not to gain muscles. A cheat day once and a while is well deserved if you always nourish your body with nutritious food.
Take the time to reframe when you find yourself critiquing your own body, and keep this in mind: would you talk to anyone else the way you’re talking to yourself right now?