Impossible beauty standards are literally everywhere we look. From the sides of buildings, in TV commercials, and now every time you open Instagram. Although we may not pick up on the unrealistic images of tiny legs, small arms and minuscule waists, they become ingrained in our minds as the shining example of beauty.
It seems that every generation has a new iteration of the perfect body to live up to. Whether it’s supermodels like Marilyn Monroe, Kate Moss, or Karlie Kloss, this assumption that beauty is one size only has been around for decades.
Sometimes, it can feel like rail-thin models must have it all—the perfect body and even the perfect life. But this can all be a facade. According to Medical News Today, up to 40% of models may have an eating disorder or unhealthy relationship to food.
It’s clear that everyone must have impossible beauty standards to live up to. According to a website dedicated to helping those with eating disorders, the causes of body image dissatisfaction is largely contributed to the media that we consume. Whether it’s actors dropping weight for a role or influencers editing their pictures to achieve their “ideal” aesthetic, the danger is in the truths untold.
Recently, it seems that society has been making strides to move away from toxic beauty standards and many companies have followed suit. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign and Aerie’s recent Role Models campaign are great examples of larger brands that use their voice for good in an industry with unattainable beauty standards.
Countless body diverse fashion and beauty companies are popping up that market specifically towards bodies of all shapes and sizes. Girlfriend Collective became a success story by promoting body diversity along with eco-friendly products, selling recycled activewear using models of all different shapes, sizes and races. Kitty and Vibe is a bathing suit company founded on the idea that everyone should feel beautiful and empowered in their beachwear. While typically, all bathing suit tops and bottoms run XS-XL, Kitty and Vibe size their suits based on your measurements—a game-changer for women that have varying body types.
As body inclusivity in classic advertising shifts, so have the images we see on our beloved social media platforms in the way of influencer marketing.
An influencer is someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, or relationship with an audience. Tapping influencers is a great way for companies to make their way to your feed in a way that feels organic and not sales-y.
Once a way to connect to each other, social media is now a curated marketing tool where influencers receive money to show off the best version of their life. However, what you see is often not what you get. The use of body-altering apps like Facetune lets people edit their pictures to make themselves look skinnier or to touch up their faces sometimes beyond recognition.
People like Sam Cartina (@nourish.lift.repeat) are rejecting the influencer standard and using their platform to empower those who have struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food.
‘I know that feeling when scrolling through social media, stopping to look at pictures of other bodies, and comparing yourself to them” Cartina says. “The negative thoughts and feelings affect your whole energy and mood. I had enough of feeling shitty, so I started to follow other accounts that were more body positive and weight inclusive. I began to feel that positive energy and it was contagious!”
It turns out that these days, being your authentic self is really what inspires others.
Nicole is graduating from GCSU in Milledgeville with a major in Mass Communication. Georgia born and raised, she always knew Atlanta was where she would start her adult chapter of life. She is incredibly passionate about any and all forms of writing. Growing up, she always had her head in a book and now she hopes to write the book.