I sit in my bed at night, aimlessly scrolling through social media on my phone. I settle for Instagram and begin working my way through the feed. Dozens of pictures of girls with slim figures and delicate features flood my phone, promoting flat tummy teas and diet plans, “how-to’s” to lose weight as fast as possible and get a smaller waist. Slim down after the Holidays! At home remedies to lose those extra 10 pounds! It all begins to look the same, but not just on Instagram nowadays. Body positive influencers are few and far between. The societal standard has been set for years, girls of all ages struggling with body dysmorphia and eating disorders starting at such young ages. TikTok has become overtaken by diet culture and bodychecking. This push for everyone to change and alter their bodies and to never be content with the body you have. This idea that you can only be happy if you are thin and the only way to be healthy is to be in perfect shape. This issue has become such a rampant issue with such an astounding effect on teen girls. They look to social media and all they see is negativity surrounding their body types.
I’ve felt this way my entire life, as someone who has never been super skinny or fit the societal standard of perfection for women. Sometimes you’re made to feel like you’re acting in your day to day life with a mask over who you really are. Like you’re trying to fit yourself into this mold that society has built for you that you can’t fit. I remember growing up and constantly being in this cycle of comparison with other girls my age, whether it was who was skinnier or had the prettiest hair or who had the straightest teeth. Life for young girls is a constant internal struggle of wanting to look different depending on what is trending at the time. You go through your life attempting different work outs plans and diet fads and waist trainers and DIY remedies but you never get happiness out of it. Simply a new level of body dysmorphia and desire to be anything but yourself.
Young girls sit in their beds at night and scroll through their social media platforms and sit and wonder, “Where is my body? Why don’t I see myself represented in the media? Why isn’t my body type deemed as beautiful?” According to D’Amore Mental Health, “Social media isn’t the only cultural influence on body dysmorphia. For decades, there has been a lack of representation of normal-looking people in modeling, advertisement, and entertainment. Rather than including normal variations in the way people look, visual media mainly shows people who represent unrealistic beauty standards,” (D’Amore 2022). These same girls look for themselves in the media and see nothing. With a quick fix of Photoshop and airbrushing a normal looking, average model can be transformed into this beautiful sex symbol with just a few clicks to have the whole world and every little girl wanting to be her. But it’s all a facade.
Luckily for this current generation of young girls, society is having a newfound turnaround: The Body Positivity movement. Like never before, girls are using their social media platforms to show what normal bodies look like and normalizing things like stretch marks and stomachs that aren’t toned to perfection. Women have began to embrace their flaws and companies have turned to taking vows of not editing their pictures. They are proving that we as a society can change after years of unhealthy comparison between young girls. We are trying to save the mental health of girls growing up today because of the lies the fashion industry has told us for so long. That we aren’t good enough. But remember next time you ask yourself “Where is my body?”, that all the bodies you see aren’t theirs either.