By Myrto Katsouli,
June is due to come in less than a week and people have already started preparing for the summer. Mercury weighs red and everybody rushes to the beach almost every weekend, to steam off from the hectic daily routine. And to be honest, there is nothing more uplifting than getting ready to go on an excursion, taking a big bag of snacks, putting on a swimsuit, and spreading a freshly scented sunscreen all over the body. Summer is approaching, the sunny weather is all over the place, and now it is time we went to enjoy ourselves like we know and deserve.
However, going to the beach may seem scary to many, since people are still craving for the “perfect body” that is set and praised by beauty standards. Many phobias are circulating around the ideal body image; thus, people are afraid and ashamed to expose their bodies to their judgmental surroundings. The weight falls on all sexes since standards concern every person and they are equally affecting each mindset. The problem, though, begins when people are trying to cover their imperfections proceeding to the extremes, by engaging in intense workouts and nutritional regimes and speeding to go under the knife, therefore leading to devastating and irreversible physical and psychological damages.
It is all coming back to the fast rhythm the modern living circumstances have imposed, leaving us with very few options as far as taking some time to ourselves. We choose fast over homemade food, we buy fast-fashion clothing, we are occupied with the Internet not to miss out on anything online instead of going out, and we prefer combining many things all at once, without taking the time to enjoy and cherish the moments we already own. How, though, is this related to the issue we talked about before and how fast life is linked to the unrealistic beauty standards society has set throughout the years?
Firstly, a fast-paced life literally means that everything is quick, fluid, and constantly changing. We are incapable of reaching up to every single one of the aspects that life is all about; however, life pushes us to be perfect to every possible extent. Especially when beauty is concerned, people tend to chase idealistic figures that are ephemeral and superficial, though. We have determined a certain way of being appearance-wise and we faithfully stick to it like an addiction. We are craving a hard-to-get sixpack, a clean and perfectly symmetrical face and, of course, women want a curvy, yet thin and hair-free body, and men, a muscular and tall figure.
To fight off the stereotypical beauty standards, the body positivity movement has become very popular nowadays by setting another perspective according to what it means to be humane. The fashion industry has been well affected by it since different sized models are used to advertise high-end clothing and to promote the message that fashion is for everyone. However, this at first actually positive and encouraging technic has taken another turn and oversized people have started showcasing their weight as being normal, healthy, and “whoever says the opposite is canceled”. The trend has spread via social media, especially TikTok, and people who soft-sell their supposedly accepting body image have become strong advocates against any other practice, and whoever acts differently or skips eating unhealthily instantly becomes the enemy and the opponent of their hard work to feel beautiful and accepted.
The point is, it is a shame in both cases to reach up to the extremes, even if that means getting deprived of food in order to fit into a size zero or causing yourself health problems due to overeating tactics that are otherwise acceptable. Health is and should be above all, nutrition is a key to living a fulfilling life, and balance in every aspect of life can lead to true happiness. Surely, beauty comes from within, our personality is our most attractive feature, and our exterior appearance is nothing more than how we perceive ourselves.
So, do not be afraid to show yourself, neither at the beach nor anywhere you may feel stared at. Judgmental people and society will always be there to set an average we are supposed to attain, but the ones who determine our true nature is no one else but us.
- What Is Body Positivity?, verywellmind.com, Available here
- TheBodyPositive’s official website, Available here