I used to have an issue with my eyebrows because they are quite large. I also used to think my nose was obnoxiously large. I think a lot of that comes from Western beauty standards which played into my body image issues when I was younger.
I always wanted to match the Western beauty standard of pin-straight, blond hair. My hair was another thing because I thought it was so thick and frizzy.
I now embrace those as things that are unique to me. Apparently, now having large eyebrows are a huge trend so I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I think it’s cool to even think about the process of learning to love the things that you used to hate about yourself.
Media is definitely a huge influence on body image. It influences our thoughts every day and creates beauty standards that sometimes are ‘simply’ unattainable. Young people are constantly deconstructing what the media is telling them through advertising that when their bodies do not meet beauty standards, they feel that they are not good enough.
It is an ingrained belief system reinforced so deeply by mass media these days that it is so hard for young people to break from it.
When it’s surrounding you, it’s kind of like the whole fish in water thing—you don’t really notice it’s actually influencing you. Even now, I have to work to stop myself from thinking: ‘oh, this person is pretty just because she’s white.’ Strange thoughts like that are easy to run on my mind all day long.
As far as impacting me mentally, it’s really interesting to think that I used to look at other people who looked like me and think of them as ‘ugly.’ I guess it shows that I had really low-self-esteem when I was younger. Now I think everyone is beautiful!
I think it’s hard now to talk about body image impacting me negatively because I’ve grown to love my body a lot more.
I definitely thought it would take me way longer because social media really does not help. If anything, it makes things worse. In high school, I used to get obsessed with those Pinterest boards and Tumblrs where I would see image after image of stick-thin girls and workouts.
I did have this one friend in high school who struggled with anorexia, and that was something that I was wary about for myself because I was alongside her in witnessing her struggling with that. It was hard for me to see her go through that. But I feel proud that I was able to help her a lot as a friend just by being there for her when she needed me.
There is no shame in reaching out to someone. I have to remind myself of that a lot of the times too.
If you’re struggling with body image issues, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not going to be a sudden ‘ah, yes I’m all better!’ You don’t need to put that much pressure on yourself to have an ideal body image because there is none.
Make sure to remind yourself that it’s okay to sometimes have bad days. It’s a process. Remember to take it easy.