Believing in Your Own Beauty
If you could change one aspect of your appearance, what would it be? Chances are, especially if you are a female between the ages of 11 and 17, you could come up with one or more areas you’d like to alter. Body dissatisfaction is rampant, with both men and women expressing disapproval with their looks.
Weight ranks high on the list. With the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. stating that more than 50 percent of Americans are overweight or obese and a 2008 article in The Telegraph stating that up to 75 percent or more of British adults are clinically obese, weight loss is understandably a concern.
Weight is certainly a predictor of overall health, but some, if not many, people take the obsession over weight too far.
Although the hourglass figure—a healthy bosom, small waist and voluptuous hips—has been called ideal for women through the centuries, current fashion trends seem to favor a more boyish figure, with a flatter bosom, small waist and narrow hips.
An androgynous body shape, sometimes called the inverted triangle or rectangle, appears to be the currently sought-after form. While the inverted triangle epitomizes the broad-shouldered male with narrow hips, the rectangle obliterates any hint of a waist and minimizes sexy curves. Contrast reining supermodel Kate Moss’s sylph-like silhouette with the curvaceous form of a beauty queen of the bygone era, Sophia Loren.
However, body image and self-perception arise from more than just numbers on the scale or size label. Many people are dissatisfied with their height, hair or other physical features. In 2012, the number of plastic surgeries increased in the UK, despite the current economic recession. Breast augmentation for women and tummy tucks for men were the most popular procedures, indicating society’s body image self-consciousness.
Beauty and fashion websites propagate the notion that there is an ideal body shape. Some “experts” advise women how to “accentuate the positive and minimize the negative,” indicating that some aspects of your figure need correcting. While trying to add a few inches with platform heels or smoothing out bulges with shape-flattering undergarments may not indicate an obsession and can help to boost self-esteem in some cases, trying to change your natural shape can take its toll on your wallet and your mental and emotional health.
According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, poor body image can keep women from reaching their full potential. It claims, that by 2050 “the UK could be deprived of 200,000 female business professionals and 42,000 successful female entrepreneurs.” Shame, fear or just dissatisfaction may keep some people from showcasing their skills and talents and may hinder professional or personal success.
Whether you were blessed with a triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, apple or hourglass shape, your value and beauty lie in your unique and irreplaceable self. You are valuable because of who you are, not how you look. Even when dressed in the latest Dior, don’t forget that your beauty comes from the inside. Your true value lies in the unique expression of your point of view, your take on life. Like a literary masterpiece, the revelation comes with the reading, not just a glance at the cover.
By Viola Horne