Unrealistic expectations of women lead to body image issues

Unrealistic expectations of women lead to body image issues

Last year, I watched my best friend become dismayed after her boyfriend left her.

She fell apart when he told her that she was not “toned enough” to be with him and he liked his girls “fit.”

My heart fell to my stomach when I heard this story, as her tear-stained face fell into my lap. My friend was never fat and at the time she was 5 feet 4 inches tall and, at most, 125 pounds. Society has set impossible standards for women and men to live up to.

In my experience, you can tell a girl a thousand times that she is beautiful, but she will always remember that one time someone called her ugly. Even after dating several guys since, my friend still remembers the words, “you’re not toned enough.” Since then, she has been eating healthier and she goes to the gym six days a week.

Although I’m happy that she is motivated enough to be healthier, I still can’t help but be angry at our society. Society is the reason people think it’s okay to judge others on the basis of appearance. People are constantly stereotyping and being stereotyped according to their physical appearance.

I’ll admit, I am a culprit of stereotyping. But I am also a victim of it.

A few years ago, a guy that I was going out with told me that I was the ugliest girl he had ever dated. He rated me a five out of 10 on the “attractive scale.” When I got these text messages at work, I was so hurt that I asked to leave early. I claimed that I was sick, but I just wanted to leave before I started to cry.

Since then, I have gone to great lengths to feel better about my appearance. I wear makeup on a daily basis, I purchased a weave to enhance the volume of my hair and I bought acrylic nails. I even went months surviving on celery and almonds so that I would be “bikini ready.”

I could go on for days about the amount of work I put into looking good enough to live up to society’s standards. However, my only rewards were a few relationships that were just as shallow as I had become and a million compliments that meant nothing compared to what I gave up. My personality was lost in the abyss of makeup application and calorie counting.

Men have dated me with no intention of getting to know me. If I didn’t hook up with them after the third date, I didn’t hear from them again.

I have been used for my body and slandered because of it. I have grown to hate everything about my body and what it was supposed to look like.

So many people are unhappy with what they look like. They want to look like somebody else. There are people that get plastic surgery to look like their idols. Some don’t even want to leave their home because they don’t want to be seen.

We are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic images of perception. We are constantly analyzing and judging ourselves and those around us. We are ridiculed for our flaws so often that we begin to hate ourselves. We ridicule others because we hate ourselves.

The problem with society is that we are society. It won’t change until we change as individuals. We each have to learn to love our own image and love each other’s flaws in return. Everyone is perfect in his or her own right and no one should be allowed to say otherwise.

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