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How Society Changes What Is in the Mirror
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Modern day society has opened the door for people around the world to be connected through various forms of communication, like social media platforms. Instagram, for example, allows people to see pictures posted from all over the world. Viewers can then not only see lives that are new and exciting, but also see picture perfect models who have mastered the art of effortless cool girl chic. These models remind the viewer that they are not good enough, that self improvement is what you should always be striving towards, the way that you are right now is never good enough.

Social media platforms almost encourage girls especially to start hating themselves from the youngest age possible. When was the first time you realized the girls sitting next to you in class’ thighs were not as big as yours? When was the first time someone pointed out the hair on your legs as a little girl, as if body hair is not a completely normal (and healthy) thing to have? To make these feelings worse, when scrolling through social media girls are attacked from every angle with perfect photos of perfect women with perfectly unattainable lives.

Society attacks women and young girls for every aspect of themselves. You have to be thin, but not so thin you do not have an ass or feminine curves. God forbid though you have a tummy, and the grossest thing a woman can have is cellulite or stretch marks. And do not even get me started on body hair, if you are not hairless then do not even bother trying to be attractive. No matter what you do, you cannot win. Sadly this reality is something nearly every woman faces in her daily life. This issue has been going on for centuries, women throughout all of history have felt the pressures society places on them to be thinner, prettier, smile more, take up less space. This unbelievable burden women are expected to carry with them everyday of their lives causes what their bodies look like to take up more mental space than anything should. Girls are younger and younger the first time this toxic societal standard creeps into their minds, allowing the negativity regarding their bodies to grow along with them.

The amount of TikToks revolving around how to start a new diet and stick with it, or try a new workout fad in order to lose weight all over your body I have seen in the past week is nauseating. It is nearly impossible to be on any social media platform and not be hit in the face with an absurd amount of body shaming in some way shape or form. Not even that, but you cannot turn on the TV without seeing models and actresses with bodies that are nearly impossible for an everyday girl without a private chef and workout coach to achieve.

Even the most supportive and empowering of women have made comments that make young girls second guess their own worth. Take Taylor Swift for example. She is known for being a strong role model for young girls. She preaches body positivity, yet the scale in her music video for the track “Anti-Hero” says fat and Swift shakes her head. Regardless of her attempt to show her humanity in this clip, Swift is not fat nor anywhere near fat and this 10 seconds of video could destroy the work on loving yourself a teenager could have been working on for years.

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While Swift may have been attempting to be relatable and create content that all women can relate to with good intentions, there are still plenty of celebrities who create content that revolve around what their bodies look like to promote whatever diet trend they are partnering with. These celebrities, for example the Kardashians, know the impact that their bodies look like has on societal beauty standards. Rather than using the platform these sisters have to raise awareness of the pain girls feel when they look in the mirror, they add fuel to the body-hating fire by acting as if their bodies are all natural and all attainable. If they were even to admit to the work they have had done throughout the years to look the way they do, regardless of if they say your natural body is beautiful, it would give the every day woman a bit more confidence in her own skin by realizing that level of body “perfection” is not something that the gym and a healthy diet can achieve on their own.

Despite all the pressure and pain girls face about their bodies, there is still hope. Body positivity movements are taking off on social media platforms, such as TikTok. Women are encouraging each other to wear the crop top and have the second scoop of ice cream after dinner because our bodies deserve food to fuel us through the day. These influences are talking over the mean voice in little girls’ heads telling them they are not good enough by showing “real” bodies, showing the magic of posing and lighting when taking a body checking photo. More and more clothing stores are promoting the all bodies are beautiful mindset by hiring models with all sorts of different body types. Young girls are being encouraged to love themselves regardless of what society tells them their weight should be, reminding each other that if a pair of jeans does not fit that does not mean you do not get to eat. All it means is that you get to go on a shopping spree to buy a new pair of jeans.

  Young girls should be uplifted and empowered, not torn down and told they are not enough. Young girls deserve to be shown that they are worth so much more than just a pretty face and slim waistline. They should be encouraged to speak up against the body shaming and fatphobia that society seems to love. Give your body the love it deserves, it does so much for you. Could you imagine meeting your 10-year-old self and telling them that you grow up and hate your body, something created to allow your mind and soul to flourish. Why do we, as a society, allow young girls to waste their formative years thinking about how to shrink themselves down to nothing? We should instead teach little girls from the very beginning that they are worth more than the number on the scale. Or better yet, to throw out all scales and mirrors and teach them that they do not need society’s idea of beauty in order to be deserving of love.

Social media was created with the best of intentions, but lately it has strayed father and farther from the original goal: to connect people across the world. Now, society needs to change the way they view women’s bodies and encourage each other to act out of love. Our 10-year-old selves deserve to trust they will continue to love themselves and be proud of the girl they see in the mirror.

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About the Contributor
Sophie Gloriod, Opinion Editor
Sophie Gloriod (she/her) is a Junior from St. Louis. She is an English major with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and a Pre-Law Scholar. This is her third year with the UNews and her first year as editor! She loves music (Taylor Swift and Noah Kahan especially), reading, running, watching Parks and Rec, and hanging out with her friends.
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