A Yahoo Health survey on body image and acceptance found that, “94% of teen females have experienced body shame…and 13% of women hit a peak of body positivity between the ages 35 and 54.”. Women are experiencing higher rates of body shame than ever before; media culture is creating a shameful epidemic. Our youth is being sucked into the world of body dysmorphia and is leading them to live lives of constant doubt. When women lack body positivity they also lack in confidence, leadership skills, and motivation. Our society is literally putting down women like a sick dog. Puncturing the mind with the needle of self-hate and lulling them to rest in a world of unachievable perfection. It’s almost as if this is a way for society to push down women from rising, to cast our gender into the shadows of the silenced. We yell from the rooftops of social media and yet our words fall short, clinging to the last wave of wind before they disappear. Invisibility is what the media is having women archive, to be extremely skinny means you take up less space. From films to ads we are bombards with the message that beauty is in the body, to be a real woman we must be nothing at all.
When young girls see these forms of media or when they hear their female role models shame themselves, it teaches them to claim their “baggage” of womanhood. Girls are more likely to say they want to be a model rather than the President of the United States, because mentally they feel they are not worthy, and emotionally they know that they will not be desired if they become leaders. It’s a social construction to have women feel incapable of achieving greatness, they become less of a threat. In this sickening cycle we are breaking the spirits of women. It seems that some of the social media outcry and viral photos of confident women are creating a ripple effect, but their currents are not strong enough to make it to shore. It may seem like there is nothing we can relay do to break the social glass ceiling but when we make small changes, the ripples get larger and leave imprints in the sand, soon to form a foundation of change.
You may feel defeated in creating those ripples but there are many things you can do in order to establish some movement. Women make up majority of purchasers, the market is female driven.
- Stop watching channels like Bravo, E, Lifetime, MTV (etc.)
- Don’t watch the Victoria Secret Show
- Stop reading magazines like Cosmo, Seventeen, Women’s Health, Fitness
- Start reading Inc., Ms. Magazine, Lenny Letter, Smart Girls, Hello Giggles
- Support female supported films like Sisters, Star Wars, Carol, Trainwreck, Hunger Games, Spy, Brave, Frozen, Inside Out, Hot Pursuit, Snow White and the Huntsman
- Support female supported tv shows like Girls, New Girl, Outlander, Mindy Project, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones
- Read books with create female leads: Throne of Glass series, Why Not Me, Malala, Defiance, Divergent, City of Bones, Red Queen
- Share your story of body image issues with other women and young girls, spread the message
- Support other women Don’t support brands that display women in sexual and sexist ways
- Stay Strong, Smart, and A Leader
WOMEN ARE POWERFUL, WOMEN ARE THE FUTURE.