Face it, we’ve all done it: alter a selfie before posting it, changing the angles and posing three or four different times—and in the end sometimes we end up deleting the image altogether because we don’t like the way we look. So many young, beautiful, vibrant women fail to see the true beauty that each of them individually possess. I know that people remind us time and again of how important it is to like ours bodies the way they are. But that is much more easily said than done when women who like Megan Fox and Taylor Swift are staring at us from every magazine and TV show we see.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “25% of college-aged women engage in binging and purging as a weight-management technique.” And “Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.”
Because of these facts, companies have made efforts to accommodate women of all sizes for the past few years by having “plus-sized models” pose in their ads. But according to Cosmopolitan Magazine, the so-called “plus-sized models” are actually only a size 8. This doesn’t exactly send a much more positive message to the “everyday” women out there.
Dove is taking a stand against these unrealistic standards by engaging in a campaign to help women be happy with their bodies again. “Redefining Beauty” is about focusing on the natural beauty intrinsic within every woman, And they aren’t the only company trying to change the standards: American Eagle recently committed to using images of their models for their next “Aerie” lingerie campaign that are free from airbrushing touch-ups.
In a video released by Dove as part of their campaign, a selection of high school girls and their mothers are interviewed and challenged to take selfies of themselves featuring the features that they are most self-conscious about, whether it be their nose, hair or face shape. At the end everyone sees these images in an art exhibit and writes positive notes beside each photo. Many of the comments are actually regarding the features these women hate the most.
The point isn’t necessarily to try to tell the fashion industry what to do—they will likely continue to do what they have done for decades regardless of the actions of a few brands. However, the point made in the video is that while women have been insecure about their bodies for generations, only recently have we been able to show the world our view of what beauty is, which we now are able to because of social media—especially the selfie. So it’s up to us to change these statistics about self esteem and body image. We have the power to decide what is beautiful now. There is no longer a need to let the fashion industry or Hollywood tell us what is or isn’t.