Take Ownership of Self Esteem

Once in a while, I get a Victoria’s Secret catalog in the mail. Usually, this leads to me engaging in a power session of core exercises and kickboxing.

Instead of shaping and sculpting my body, though, they most often force me to amend my typical weekend activities: sitting on the couch, polishing off boxes of macaroons and chocolate mousse as I stream How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

On this particular occasion, after concluding that there was no way I was going to work myself into an Angel’s body, I gave up and, out of pure laze and unwillingness to exercise, went the Mary Lambert route and just accepted myself as I was.

Unfortunately, countless other women turn to unhealthy means to lose weight, such as binge eating or simply not eating all together. Then they criticize the media for setting unrealistic standards of beauty.

But do they? Or does the fault lie in us as a society?

Just recently, to promote the launch of their new “Body” bra, lingerie mogul Victoria’s Secret sparked nationwide ire with their campaign, which featured a row of tall, leggy, airbrushed models as the backdrop to the slogan, “The Perfect Body.” 

A petition started, demanding that the manufacturer stop labeling the bra with the slogan”the perfect body,” and, with over 100,000 signatures and the trending hashtag #iamperfect, the company caved to the public and replaced the tagline with “A ‘Body’ for Every Body.”

Though the message changed, the models remained the same, sparking additional Facebook outrage about “skinny shaming.”

Defendants of the change stated that they were not demeaning skinny people, only spreading the message that all bodies were beautiful. Other women claimed that these models set a “bad standard.” Facebook user Melissa Aponte voiced her outrage, stating that “If the picture that accompanied the slogan, would have been of curvaceous women, no one would have had a problem with it. And THAT right there is the bigger problem. No one can’t say anything wrong about them, but they can say whatever they want about thin women.”

Some argue that promoting a variety of body types is essential because people who don’t fit into size 0 skinny jeans need someone to look up to. But the fact of the matter is that they already do. There are hundreds of beautiful, inspirational people out there who don’t fit the skinny, tall, no-cellulite mold.

First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t live up to this standard, but not only is she a beautiful woman, she is one of the most powerful in the nation. Precious actress Gabourey Sidibe’s sassy shut-down of her haters in 2013 was as impeccable as her acting in the Academy-nominated drama flick.

But people turn to supermodels, whose job description is to be skinny, tall, and able to walk, as a standard, and then complain that the society’s only role models are “too skinny” and “bad for body image” when there are plenty of other great women they could be admiring. 

Too often society tells us that there are more important things than looks, only to turn around and start a decade-long online debate about appearances. If self-acceptance is so important, why do we have to depend on the media to change for us? If I wanted to feel beautiful, should I exercise, eat healthier foods? Or should I sit in front of the computer, waiting for society to accept me and reassure me that “I’m special”?

I’m slightly insulted that events like the Victoria’s Secret petition are happening, because it only serves to remind us that without the influence of the media, we’re nothing.

If a woman has to rely on the changing of a few white block letters on an advertisement to be able to accept her own body, she’s still caught up in what society considers “pretty.”

Are women as a population really not strong enough to love themselves without the push of social media? By spreading these so called “self-accepting” messages on society, we are being told not to accept ourselves, but to wait for everyone else to accept you as well.

So instead of telling you how great you look today, I’ll leave you with this: you might confront judgement in your life, but keep your head held high and embrace your flaws, because it’s true what Hannah Montana says: nobody’s  perfect.

Except maybe Beyoncé. That goddess will forever be “***Flawless.”