You scroll through your Instagram feed and it looks something like this: pictures of your friends (intended to make you cringe at your own life, obviously), extremely cute animal videos and oh, here it comes, beautiful shots of acai bowls from your favourite “plant-based blogger” who is also somewhat a smoothie freak. “Get your gluten-free fix of the day! Calorie count: 385,” the caption reads. Next post? #Fitspo from your favourite fitness blogger. “Sweat is just fat crying,” is how the next caption goes. The whole time you are staring at your phone screen and going #sigh.
Now, don’t get the purpose of this article wrong. I am sure the majority of Instagram users, including myself, are all for healthy, sustainable diets and a good gym routine. But more often than not, we tend to miss the big picture. The message is interpreted as “skinny is sexy.” The whole process ends up with the user being spoon-fed the perception that thin equals beautiful. This notion has been around far too long and it is high time that teenagers and millennials have an open discussion about the elephant in the room (no pun intended).
It is absolutely okay for you, as a netizen, to indulge in aesthetic pictures of purple coloured smoothies, bright salad bowls and pictures of toned bodies to add to your saved posts collection, but while all this is happening, it is imperative to remind yourself to reject the entire “I need to be skinny to be beautiful” idea. Stop advocating that.
Why, you ask? For the simple reason that you were not put on this planet to achieve the goal of being slim. You were put here to learn to love yourself as you are and others as they are. And you certainly were not made to look like a Barbie doll! Who you are as a person is far more important than whether you have a svelte figure.
As a university student, if you have one thing to focus on, it should be your ambitions. If there is one thing you should be dreaming about, it should be the day you finally achieve your dream job. That is when you will become truly happy. You should not be comparing your body type with others. However, if you have truly made the decision to lose weight, cutting down on food is never the right option. Neither willobsessing over photos of models on Instagram do you any good. There are so many other alternatives: controlling your diet, taking up a sport or even making cycling a hobby.
The truth of the matter is, we set unbelievably high standards for ourselves. We’re always looking for the next big fitness or health trend. We’re afraid of falling behind, of not conforming to society’s prescription of an ideal man or woman. To be attractive, a girl should be thin, fair and have long, luscious hair. She should be petite and soft-spoken, a paragon of patience and virtue.
Whatever may be said, it is time for us to realize that beauty alone cannot help to bring about a change. Ultimately, the life we lead depends upon the people we choose to be, the values we choose to uphold. For that matter, we do not deserve anyone who does not accept us for who we are.
So, dear “skinny-figure” obsessed millennial, put that phone down, stop fretting over how you look and how many calories you need to lose to fit into that dress. I promise you, you do not deserve anyone who doesn’t love you for all your ideals, for your despair and for your hate. You are beautiful for your messy hair, your crinkled shirt, your tired smile, your words and actions.