[Editor’s note: having concluded our segment on violence and it’s role in society, I thought we would start with a reflective piece on self love and the importance of accepting our insecurities as an intrinisc part of who we are, not as flaws. Love yourselves, always.]
Words by Shannon Saddler
Insecurity is a major problem young women tend to face, and appearance happens to be a prevalent factor. Nowadays, people are becoming more obsessed with the idea of looking perfect with zero flaws – they want to have people think they have the most desirable looks. In this society, girls are led to think that perfection is something that can be achieved, although the truth is that perfection is a myth. Nothing and no one can be perfect. This can apply to both men and women, even though women happen to be affected more by this issue. The feminine beauty ideal is a socially constructed notion that physical attractiveness is one of the most important qualities in a woman and that they must strive to maintain that. As a result of the physical expectations placed on women, it is evident to presume that women can be more self-conscious about their appearance, more so than men. If we were to look at some of the standards placed on each gender, it would be easy to spot the imbalance. For example, the beauty standards placed on women may include having a small waist, big breasts, high bridged nose, long straight hair, perfect smile, light skin. The standards placed on men may include having a six-pack, muscular, tall, thick beard.
The media tends to be the common cause of building false perceptions of beauty in people’s minds. The problem is that people will look to the media as a source for information – whatever beliefs and ideologies the media will promote, will be consumed by the people viewing it. Beauty ideals are encoded on pretty much every media platform you can imagine. On social media, for example, girls will photoshop their Instagram photos and even add an extra filter in it for the best public appeal. When others view their altered photos, they may become envious and strive to achieve to look as appealing as them. Magazines are another example: glamorous pictures of celebrities will be displayed on the front cover with their skin looking flawless along with their hourglass looking figure. Although in reality, these images are reshaped and airbrushed to death. The more media information women consume, the more easily influenced they may become of it. This is where the problem lies, in order for a woman to love herself, she needs to not allow false ideas of beauty impact her mindset.
Hip-hop artist J Cole wrote a song called, “Crooked Smile” where his lyrics encourage women to embrace their inner beauty and to be proud of what they naturally have as his lyrics state, “no need to fix what God already put his paintbrush on”. Every female, insecure or not should take the time to listen to this song as it promotes a very important message about loving yourself. Self-love is the most important thing a woman should have for herself, if she does not love herself she will spend the rest of her life wishing to look like someone else. Instead of focusing on herself she will focus on others. As she focuses more on the looks of other people, she is comparing herself. A woman can never fully love herself if she continues to hide her flaws and strives to look better than her peers. Loving yourself is appreciating what you already have, acknowledging that you are special and unique in your own way.