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Positive body image attacked by rigid beauty standards

Paige Riggins, Staff writer

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Five percent of women have a body type desired by modeling agencies while 91 percent  fight to get that desired body type, according to Do Something, a global organization for social change.

Earlier this month, issues arose with Lane Bryant, a plus-sized clothing retailer, who is trying to run an advertisement for lingerie. However, it is being rejected by NBC and ABC, according to TMZ, a website geared to delivering entertainment news.

After watching the advertisement, I couldn’t understand why NBC and ABC would reject the showing of this ad because it highlights the beauty of being yourself. The women shown in the advertisement had average body types. The ad highlighted a woman breastfeeding, a woman doing boxing moves and women showing their flexibility.

Even though this is one of many instances where women, who are an average size, are ignored or frowned upon, this leads to a discussion that the rejection of this advertisement brings to mind: body image in America.

There are many businesses that make money off of supplying women’s dreams of being skinny with a small waist, large breasts and a big butt. An example of these businesses are those that sell wraps. Wraps are what you can put on your waist, arms or legs to burn fat and lose more than five pounds in a matter of days. These businesses thrive off of before-and-after photos of women who seem happier after losing weight..

Many businesses thrive off of making people feel as though they need to physically change themselves to accept themselves. Unless your weight affects your health, why would you need to change yourself?

When thinking about body image in America, it’s important to highlight the uphill battle women fight when they are trying to validate the beauty of being average-sized. The average waist circumference in America is 37.5 inches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I don’t understand the reasoning for forcing women to feel ugly and unimportant if they aren’t below a size 8. Being a woman who is 5 ft. with a size 17 waist, I have often been looked at differently and treated like a walking health risk by both loved ones and strangers.

Even though I learned through a routine physical that I have perfect health, I have family members who still try to pressure me to lose weight. I understand that excess weight can increase my chance of health problems, but if I already eat healthily and lead an active lifestyle, what more is required of me?

I say all of this so readers can learn one thing: love yourself, even if no one else will. You can’t change yourself and then love yourself. You have to love yourself, and if you need to change, then you will.

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A student news site of Columbia College
Positive body image attacked by rigid beauty standards