Beautiful You: Reminders for Maintaining a Healthy Body Image

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We girls live in a world where pressures to fit a certain mold of beauty weigh us down on a daily basis. Though makeup and fashion are fun to play around with, we don’t blame you if bombardments of image-centered ads and celeb-drenched shows leave you asking, “Why can’t I look like that?” once in a while.

Trust us – we’ve all been there in one way or another. But at the end of the day, it's important not to lose sight of loving and appreciating your individual beauty. Here's some food for thought when it comes to maintaining a healthy, positive body image - because every girl deserves to feel beautiful about herself, and you are no exception!

On TV/Movies/The Runway

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Sometimes it’s a little too easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of sizing and spray tans (re: models and Hollywood). And it’s perfectly normal to admire (and sometimes envy) stars for their features, fashion sense, and figures … but there’s a line between getting a temporary nip from the green-eyed monster and full-throttle obsessing. One is human nature, and the other can be severely unhealthy.

Keep in mind – these gals in the movies and on the red carpet may look whipped to perfection, yes. But it’s thanks to professional help from armies of makeup artists, hair dressers, personal trainers, and stylists. Nobody wakes up at 7 AM with spotless skin and a beautiful blowout; even the most poised celebs are not immune to bloated, puffy-eyed, skin-dryer-than-the-Sahara days. We just never see such common imperfections for obvious reasons.

Stars have access to the creme de la creme when it comes to looking their best - after all, keeping up with the way they look is undeniably part of their job. On top of that, they've got money to burn on nutritionists, the hippest clothes, and the latest products. Think about it - with the right tools and in the right hands, you could just as well play princess for a day!

In Print


"This commercial isn't real, neither are society's standards of beauty."

Flip open any fashion magazine and it doesn’t take long to be flooded with all sorts of flawless visuals. Girl’s smooth all over? It’s because she has no hair follicles. That model has virtually no stomach? It's because her waist has been virtually whittled away. In the world of perfect lighting and Photoshop, physical appearance gets catapulted onto a whole new (unattainable) level.

Seriously, if you’re so much as even thinking of comparing yourself to a glossy magazine print or photo shoot … girl, no. I do not kid. On top of the armies of professionals mentioned above, computers turn normal women into digital drones. If you’re still having doubts, educate yourself on what a dramatic difference can be made through retouching here.

Jean Kilbourne, a world-famous activist, filmmaker, and speaker, touches on how the advertising world portrays women in her Killing Us Softly film series. Some of her findings on media-crafted beauty perceptions are downright shocking, even in this day and age. Check out her latest installment, Killing Us Softly 4, to gain some deeper thought on what you may be subconsciously absorbing on a daily basis.

But alas, it's most certainly not reasonable to take a baseball bat to your TV or trash all of your style publications. The key is being able to distinguish the real from the fantasy, and to not let unrealistic images of beauty get under your skin.

Remember to Embrace You

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OK, I know it sounds a little after-school special ... but think about it for a minute: for almost all of our lives, we've most likely been fed only a select few images what "ideal beauty" should look like. When in reality, the rest of the world comes in an infinite amount of shapes, sizes, and colors. Don't let anyone or anything dictate how you feel about the way you look. Because for anybody who's judging ... who are they?! Who made them the authority?

Of course there will always be parts of our bodies we're not jumping up and down over - but realize that after the dust clears, there's only one girl in the world who looks like you.Learning to love your quirks is definitely not an overnight process, but once you begin to embrace them, you'll gradually feel much better about yourself. So be proud of who you are, you gorgeous thing!

As John Mason once said,

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy."

Thoughts?

Do you think the media affects girls' images of themselves today? What do you love about your body? What are some things you do to feel better about your self-image? Let us know in a comment.