Body Image and We

Rukshana Kapali/Pahichan – Body image issues are a common problem in the society. There is a promotion of unrealistic body ideals based on some very confined and narrow ideology in order to define what kind of body looks beautiful and what kind of body does not look beautiful, where patriarchy plays a vital role and extreme cisnormality and transphobia intensifies it for transgender women.

Indeed, it is challenging for one not to get caught up in comparing, unrealistic standards which is completely based on color, racism, sexism and not to forget the billion dollars cosmetic industry. Body image issues brings up body shaming, where individual who do not meet the constructed standards of being beautiful are commented and mocked in various degrees for not being able to meet the ‘standards.’

Body image issues and body shaming is everywhere, from the media to our peers, we have internalized the body image standards. Do you know what standards these are? A body of a woman is idealized with the weight, height, shape of their hips, shape of their lips, and shape of each and every body organ that is nearly impossible for any woman in real to have.

As a result, many women experience depression, anxiety, anger and even self-loathing, to affecting an individual’s view of self, poor body image may also result in avoidance of social situations and may interfere with developing healthy social and romantic relationships.

This situation intensifies to transwomen, where first of all their natural images are taken as ‘alien looks’ which in no ways fall to those standards and their transitional image into a feminine body is again judged with the same standards a biological female has to face.

You cannot be beautiful if you are less than 5.4 feet or neither if you are taller than 6 feet. This rules out almost all the short girls and very tall girls. You cannot be beautiful if you cannot walk wearing high heels, short dresses while doing an artificial cat walk where human walk to judge human beauty is not used and you need to walk like a cat!

How diverse are these standards compared to true human diversity? A white-skinned person! Other skin complexions are not beautiful. Not intelligence, not ethics, not social morality, not even fitness and obviously, not through a measurement of character, but these standards choose who are purely based on the appearance of their face, size of their hip and the artificiality of their walk, which they falsely describe as grace. These standards are celebrated purely because they fit into a narrow concept of beauty – a concept that is being imposed on us.

Young people are increasingly feeling uncomfortable with their bodies because their bodies cannot completely meet those standards. Low self-esteem occurs when expectations of how you want your body to look don’t match up to reality.

These feelings are not based on something else but actually how the whole media and society has fed into your brains and how we have socialized with the narrow connotations of being beautiful. Moreover, cosmetic industry intensely promotes these beauty standards and makes billion dollars out of this.

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, gender, color, caste, ethnicity, race or class. I strongly urge that it is time to think for self-approval and dismantle these constructed beauty standards specific industries are promoting just to make their money and we actually are internalizing these harmful standards into our lives.

It is a revolutionary day for women when we decide that we will not put on lipstick just because we think that our lips are instrinctly so wrong that we need a correction, but I want to put this because I want to express my sexuality, and the day when we feel proud in our own bodies.