By Briana Marcosson
Historically, society has put many expectations on women; whether that be that she look a certain, act a certain way, or think a certain way. Many of these expectations are still alive today, and can be detrimental to a woman’s health—mentally and physically. One of these expectations, the beauty standards that society puts in place for women, is very harmful.
Today more than ever, women have a pressure on them to look a certain way. In order to wear the clothes that are popular and “in,” they have to have the body type to fit into these clothes. Many clothes that are made for women of larger sizes are not “in style,” so women hurt or even kill themselves trying to look a certain way, or fit into certain clothing items.
This sort of thinking, the desire to look perfect, causes so many health problems in women, much more than in men. Self-harm, depression, eating disorders, and even suicide can come from this type of thinking. Nearly six percent of women will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime, while less than three percent of men will (UVM Medical Center). If this does not seem like gender inequality, I do not know what does. The media industry, which is predominantly dominated my men, plays an even bigger role in the reason women want to look a certain way. The “perfect” woman is displayed in magazines, in advertisements, and on tv, and this has a terrible effect on women who do not fit that standard. It is hard to see these images and still feel accepting of our own bodies, but it is important to know that most of these images are not real.
Most of the models and celebrities that we see in magazine or online are photoshopped, and many of them suffer from eating disorders or other mental health issues themselves (UVM). People see hundreds of advertisements in one day, and most of these advertisements consist of women who were photoshopped into the ideal image. Young girls are seeing these advertisements, causing this feeling of inadequacy to start at younger ages than ever before. If we want our society to advance into the future, we need to remove the unrealistic expectations on women’s bodies that our society has put in place, and need to learn how to value women for more than just their looks. If we want to reduce the number of women with eating disorders, depression, and suicide, we need to stop spreading these ideas of extreme thinness as the ideal standard of beauty.
Most people today are rallying for women to be safe and treated equally in society. In order for that to happen, we would need to put an end to the institution that manipulates, exploits, and lures women into hating themselves. We would need to show that everyone’s differences are unique and beautiful. If someday women were thought of as something other than just a body, like men are, then we would be so much closer to gender equality and a safer world for women.