By Katie Kopania, NOW Policy Intern
Every morning as I’m getting ready to start my day, I look in the mirror and automatically begin to pick out my imperfections; something I have subconsciously become trained to do. Whether it is that my stomach is not flat enough or there are dark circles under my eyes or that I have stretch marks on my legs or blemishes on my face. I engage in body bullying, like I know many women do daily.
It seems society has constructed an unrealistic female image that we are unable to replicate unless we harm ourselves. Advertising for fashion, cosmetics, and diets remind us that our bodies are unacceptable how they are currently. It’s no wonder we become dissatisfied and want to change to fit the ideal Hollywood appearance.
Body hatred is a serious issue that can hold women back from their dreams, aspirations, and potential. Body hatred can increase pressure on women to change, which has led to the rise of cosmetic surgery — the surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed to reshape the normal structures of the body. We are also told it supposedly enhances appearance and self-esteem. Notably, the number of procedures performed increased 77 percent between 2000 and 2010.
Everywhere we turn this billion-dollar industry is telling women they should change themselves to fit the image Hollywood glamorizes. There are many potential side effects of plastic surgery such as excessive bleeding, infections, loss of sensation, and even death. Sometimes, women need to get a second surgery when something goes wrong or even become addicted to surgeries. The bottom line is that women feel under pressure to look perfect, which certainly has contributed to the rise in plastic surgery.
Instead of dying to fit in, let’s teach ourselves to defy the self-doubt we have about our beauty. Pay attention to the signals our bodies provide, appreciate our magnificence within, and accept who we are without alterations! Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes and everyone deserves respect regardless of their appearance. Instead of teaching ourselves to say “I’d be pretty if,” we should teach ourselves to say “I am pretty because.”