Our Bodies, Our Neuroses
Pop Culture would lead us to believe that most people hate their bodies, with a small percentage of people who fancy themselves Venus or Adonis incarnates. Magazines will remind us to Love your body! Even the flaws! Which can seem to translate loosely into Love your body! Even though it’s kinda messed up. Loving your body isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not a done-deal because a celebrity is telling you to from a magazine you are perusing at the Houston Airport. Body acceptance can take a lot of work.
Let’s begin by addressing these “flaws” we all hear about. What is a flaw? Certainly something unhealthy should be treated differently than something that we just wish was airbrushed away. A stretch mark and an asymmetrical mole are two very different “flaws.” The former should be accepted and perhaps rubbed with some cocoa butter daily, but the latter must be seen by a doctor. If our so-called flaws are all non-health related (freckles, your natural body shape, hair texture, etc.) then we should do more than accept them as flaws, we should not consider them flaws at all.
The concept of a flaw is still based on the notion that there is a singular ideal. But not only is that ideal going to be nearly impossible to replicate, it’s also going to change, so why waste time trying to fit the mold? For most of us, it will always be difficult to look in the mirror and accept what we see, even embrace it. So start small, one piece at a time. And do get those moles checked. The peace of mind is worth the time in the waiting room.
For more on how young people are changing the way we think about beauty, watch the video made by students here.