When summer arrives, temperatures rise, it’s beach season, and bodies come out of hiding. Everyone seems to be in a better mood and everything seems more colourful, but not everyone is actually in a better mood in summer!
All of us know someone who has had to leave the beach or the pool because they don’t feel confident in themselves. Or someone who won’t wear certain clothes because they’re embarrassed to expose a certain part of their body.
Despite the fact that in recent times social media has intensified the existence of beauty standards, they have always existed in society. Wherever we look we are bombarded with images and information about how to get the perfect body. We grow up being obliged to fit into societal beauty standards which are impossible to achieve, which means that a lot of us (in particular women) end up hating ourselves and feeling embarrassed about our bodies and our characteristics. I believe that we often reach a maximum level of demand with our body and physical aspects where our self-esteem has often been destroyed.
But not everything is negative. Those very social media platforms that are perpetuating beauty standards are also giving a voice to a movement which appeared many years ago but is now gaining traction: body positivity.
This movement begs us to have a more positive outlook about our own bodies, encouraging us to love it and respect it. By increasing self-esteem, the movement is shattering unattainable beauty standards and is reminding us that every body is beautiful. It's a movement away from conforming and being unhappy, rather it’s about learning to accept ourselves and to accept that everyone is different and that’s OK.
We can already see some changes in society and in media in relation to this change. Recently we saw the the Victoria’s Secret show move more towards inclusivity and realistic body and away from unattainable body standards.
The movement has improved moods and mental health, has lowered rates of anxiety and depression, and has encouraged people to care for themselves and look at themselves more positively.
Self-acceptance isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. If you work on it daily, you will soon accept your differences as beautiful. Get to know your strengths, look at yourself lovingly, don’t compare yourself to others, don’t follow profiles which perpetuate beauty standards, and remember we are all different!
Social media is full of “perfect” people, but following them doesn’t help your self-esteem or mental health. Plus, so many people use filters and retouching apps!
Remember all of this, and you will soon learn to love yourself.