The internet tells me that the pro-ana movement is slowly creeping back onto the scene. Celebrities are removing their Brazilian butt lifts, and relics from my anorexic past are closing in all around me. How could we let this happen again?
Did we learn nothing from the years spent watching people waste away? Is it really worth traumatizing another generation just because we need a new trend to latch onto? We have to do better than this.
The last decade has seen a significant shift in body trends. Curves were finally being glorified after many years of worshiping dangerously thin frames. Body positivity began to rise in pop culture. For me, someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for 18 years, I was finally starting to feel like I had a chance to get to the other side of this mountain.
And yet, I see our culture slowly shifting back to its old ways.
We move from extreme to extreme in the style world; there is no room for average here.
As soon as you think you have achieved the ideal look set by the day’s beauty standards, the end goal is moved just outside your reach, forever reminding you that you will never be enough.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Trends do not create themselves; they do not appear in front of us on a silver platter. They are planned and plotted, meticulously chosen by a handful of people who have somehow managed to hold the world’s fate in their hands.
It’s sick, the way we portray beauty in this world. There is no reason to glorify one body type or face shape over another. Some days, it feels like this is a game; someone is pulling all of our strings, just waiting to see how much they can manipulate us before we finally succumb to the pressure.
It scares me how easily we can all fall victim to the relentless hunger of the beauty industry.
I can spend hours mindlessly scrolling through social media and come away from that experience with nothing more than an even deeper hatred for myself.
We were never meant to have this much access to anyone’s lives. I shouldn’t know what someone is doing every second of their day, and I shouldn’t be made to feel like I am a failure if my day does not mirror theirs.
I often wonder if I would be as insecure as I am if social media did not exist. Before social media, I used to cut out photos of thin celebrities I admired from magazines. Today, all I have to do is open an app, and I am bombarded by more images of people I will never be able to look like than any magazine could ever show.
Our phones seem to know our weaknesses, zeroing in on the darkest depths of our brains and showing us exactly what we don’t want (but often subconsciously do want) to see. We check our phones and social media accounts more often than we check in with ourselves.
When I am not having a good mental health day, rather than taking time to rest and do activities that make me happy, I frequently find myself doom-scrolling and wishing my life could be anything like what I see online. Countless hours of my life are spent staring at my phone, and the cost of this lost time is starting to catch up with me.
The more time I spend immersed in the “picture-perfect” lives of others, the more I begin to resent my own.
I am so afraid of what happens next. What will I become when the next trend is popularized and I do not fit into it again? How much further can we push people away from self-confidence before they finally just give up on ever achieving it? Some days it feels like there is a point of no return regarding my body image and perception of my own life.
If you repeatedly smash something into pieces, how many times can you put it back together before the parts become unrecognizable?
When will the beauty industry finally let us all live?