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You Were Born To Look Like You

born to look like you

As the days grow brighter and summer adventures loom, society says we must decide whether our body is “bikini ready” and our skin flawless enough for those candid “no-make-up” selfies. Just as we’re getting over the new year new me BS, we’re reminded that we only have a few months to work on our summer glow-up.

I am tired of being pressured to measure our worth on how we match up to current yet ever-changing beauty standards. We see this endlessly.

Losing weight = “INSPO.”

Learning makeup hacks to change the shape of your face = “GLOW UP.”

Changing your entire image after a break-up = “REVENGE BODY.”

We might get an initial dopamine hit from a stream of likes and compliments from others. But what happens when we take a step back and remind ourselves that these comments are purely about our image and don’t account for other aspects of our personality?

We are so much more than how we look.

My weight has fluctuated throughout the past 6 years, but so have many other parts of me. My confidence levels, friendships, how I view myself, the world, my political stance, my job, where I live, my hobbies, and my music taste. I can’t think of anything in this world that does not change, so why is so much emphasis placed on changes to our appearance?

All over the world, people are spending increasing amounts of money to reshape their faces and bodies, with breast augmentation and liposuction being the top two cosmetic procedures in both the US and the UK. Unsurprisingly, it is predominantly women seeking to go ahead with such invasive procedures. How are women made to feel so insecure about their natural body that they need to risk their own health and finances to change it?

This is a feminist problem, but it also reinforces racial inequality.

The current body ideal is a thin waist with wide hips and a voluptuous bum. Coupled with big lips, tanned skin, defined cheekbones, and cat eyes. It’s laughable that women are expected to look the same to fit this narrow view. But it’s even more ridiculous that these features are what many black women have naturally, yet were (and still are) abused and discriminated against for this very thing.

These features are beautiful. The problem is society’s perception that they’re desirable on white women but a point of ridicule on black women. Talk about white privilege.

So, where does this ideal come from?

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Ultimately, it’s the consumer. In the past, it was actresses, top models, or TV stars. Today it’s social media and influencers that seem to lead the way.

Ultimately, the more we click and consume, the more this content will be produced. On a personal level, we can curate our social feed to only see content uplifting and helpful for us. But for this to change on a wider scale, it needs to be public demand. We aren’t taking this collective stance; instead, statistics show we are transforming ourselves to fit the mold.

This is difficult to comprehend but completely understandable. Things are easier when you’re conventionally pretty and, couple that with white skin, the world changes its perspective. Making friends becomes easier. You’re more likely to be accepted for a job. Confidence soars. Relationships are formed more easily. You’re less likely to be bullied. We can’t change any of this on an individual basis. Still, by being mindful and recognizing our own privilege (or lack of), we can ensure this doesn’t go unnoticed.

I hope we continue to progress with inclusivity and help people truly believe that their worth is more than a clothes size or looking like an Instagram filter. Let’s spend our energy making sure we’re kind, honest, courageous, unique people and spend less energy cutting and cloning ourselves to mimic the latest it-girl.

Don’t be pretty like her, be pretty like you.

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