Updated: Nov 21, 2020
By Mehr Lokhandwala
Image via Instagram.com
I have curves, cellulite, stretch marks, and acne that won’t subside. My hair isn’t long and my nose isn’t perfect. I don’t have abs nor do I have a thigh gap. But what I do have is a normal body.
I remember how ashamed I used to be about my acne; I guess it’s reasonable to say ashamed of the way I looked in general. Maybe ‘used to’ isn’t the right way to word it, because on some level I still am ashamed. I am still guilty of hiding my acne through layers of makeup, fitting myself into tight clothing, or standing in front of the mirror and over analyzing everything about myself.
The hundreds of dollars spent on acne products that never seemed to work, the nights spent wondering when I would finally fit the mold so I could be ‘pretty’, and the days I spent looking at myself in the mirror felt like torture. I guess you could say that in some way I made myself feel worse by endlessly scrolling through Instagram. Scrolling through Instagram watching videos of other people who fit the mold and on the other side of that screen was me who in every way didn’t. In hindsight, I knew that social media was only the highlight reel of most people's lives; that the version of themselves on social media probably wasn’t 100% real.
I’m confident we have all seen a makeup video where the makeup artist draws an “X” on their pimple and puts a bunch of products over it to cover the pimple up. Or maybe a TikTok, that starts out with the phrase “How I Got Rid of My Acne.” Over and above, I have never seen a model with acne, an Instagram post where acne was normalized and not used as a marketing gimmick, or a TikTok that started with “How I Embraced my Acne”
The pressure to expel the ‘flaws’ is a hidden battle. We work so hard to hide ourselves in fear that we will not fit the ever changing standard of beauty. Unfortunately, the beauty industry thrives off of our insecurities and us hating ourselves. Imagine if one day we decided that we didn’t need makeup to feel pretty and that we didn’t need to buy the weight-loss drink that made you vomit your insides out. The entire industry would collapse.
I hope that on some level you understand that even if you drank that weight-loss drink, even if you fit the mold, it wouldn’t matter; because at the end of the day the only approval you need is your own.
We know that we compare our entire existence to other people. What kind of society are we living in where magazine covers allow titles like “Beach Body Fails” or “They Really Let Themselves Go.” And to make it even worse, we purchase them? When little kids go home and stare at the mirror wanting to change themselves so they look like Kim Kardashian or a Victoria’s Secret model, it should concern us.
In an article written by Camillie Botello she states that, “Research done by Heather R. Gallivan, a psychologist specializing in eating disorder therapy, says that we start to compare ourselves to others as early as 4 years old, and that the age of 6 is ‘...when sociocultural factors seem to start influencing body dissatisfaction.’”
It’s ironic how we measure our worth and beauty on these red bumps on our faces or the skin that surrounds our stomach; yet our smiles don't count, the way our eyes light up when we are filled with joy don’t count, and the beauty of our personalities don’t count either.
Right now some of you may be thinking “Geez you’re so intense”, but here is the thing. When you grow up watching DIY’s on Facebook where they show you someone with acne who goes on a date and gets rejected because of that one pimple, it sticks with you. When you hear “OMG, I wish I was that skinny,” it sticks. Subconsciously, we internalize the things we see and hear around us.
This generation for better or for worse has grown up with technology and social media. While this can definitely be a tool, it can be just as dangerous and damaging. We need to start normalizing normal bodies. Your body is doing it’s thing, don’t punish it for that!
There is nothing wrong with wanting your acne to subside, there is nothing wrong with wanting that zit in between your eyebrows to go away, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be fit. The problem is that we consider ourselves not enough because we do not fit the mold of what we think it is supposed to look like.
Therefore don’t let the negativity imprison you, take that picture, eat that donut, go to that party, and embrace yourself.
Written by writer Mehr Lokhandwala