It's no secret that we live in a world where beauty standards are often discouraging to young women, no matter the size jeans they wear. First, you need to have a thigh gap. Then you need to embrace your curves. Be tan. Get a wax. Work out. Lose weight. Build muscle. But not too much!
No matter what you do, make sure you're ready to flaunt your body once summer comes around and the sweaters come off.
Odyssey's Instagram posted a poll asking how the concept of a "beach body" impacts people's body image. The results confirm that this "perfect bikini body" isn't just a phrase, it's actually making an impact.
This constant push and pull of a "beach body" isn't just backed up by Instagram. Over 50% of girls ages 9-10 feel better about themselves if they are "on a diet," and that doesn't stop when they hit middle school. Each stage of a woman's life is portrayed to her in a certain way — how she's supposed to look. This only hampers a woman's body positivity, making it hard for her to see herself in a confident light.
With all of the body negativity present in the world, many individuals have made it their mission to change the status quo. While certain influencers are crushing the body positivity game, there is still a lot of work to do on an individual level.
We asked eight twenty-something females what they do to stay body positive, year-round. Their answers are honest, encouraging, and prove that social media's "beach body" standard is no match for women who want to put the body positive vibes out there.
Glamour conducted a study that asked women to note every negative thing they said about their body for one day. 97% of those women came back and admitted that they had at least one negative (on the verge of cruel) thought toward their body.
This habit of negative self-talk is not unusual when it comes to women and their bodies. While a complete 180-turn to love and adoration may seem out of reach, simple appreciation for what your body is able to give you begins to heal this way of thinking.
Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin impacts all aspects of your life, not just how you feel about your body. Your relationships, work, and general health can be negatively impacted if you are not comfortable with your body — taking the time to notice what you like about yourself and accentuating those features can improve your overall quality of life.
It's no secret that women have been using a killer wardrobe to their advantage for a long time. There's science to it — that "power outfit" not only impacts those around you, but it can also boost your body positivity.
Aerie and their parent company, American Eagle, have been showcasing "real women" in their no air-brush marketing campaigns since 2014. Boosting their reputation and sales, this initiative has placed Aerie at the lead of body positive brands who are encouraging women to love the body they're in!
There are so many distractions when it comes to body positivity, sometimes it can be hard to stay focused. Taking action and focusing on what you can control takes away from negative distractions and puts the power back in your hands.
While it may be tempting to base your newest fitness craze after that Instagram model, making goals that are not 100% about you only sets you up for failure. Instead of focusing on someone else as your "after" photo, making whatever health journey you're on fully about your own quality of life allows you take it more seriously and see small improvements in each step.
For many young people, social media has been linked to body image disturbance. The rise of influencers, photoshop, and curated lives on display for all to see make it very easy to have a clear idea of what a "good" body is — one that is met with likes and followers and affirmation.
While this picture-perfect life may not be going away any time soon, there are young people who have their minds set on changing this narrative. Online communities now see body image advocacy as a growing trend, supporting the idea that a picture-perfect life isn't one size fits all.
Hyper-thin brands like Victoria's Secret are facing backlash in light of the body positivity movement, closing 53 stores in 2019 (compared to the 15/year average). After a fashion show that was met with the politically incorrect choice to exclude trans women and plus-sized women, the popular brand may be on its way out, permanently.
On the other side of the coin, brands like Aerie are continually pushing for the inclusion of all body types, as well as the promotion of "real women" in their advertising campaigns. This is not just met with social media enthusiasm — the brand's sales show its success, with an estimated worth of $1 billion in the near future.
You can find more thoughts on body positivity in Odyssey's health and wellness page. Have something to add? Share your opinions on Odyssey.