Beauty standards are ever-changing, but one thing is for sure: women's standards of beauty are far stricter and more difficult to achieve than men's. Over the past few years, the "Dad Bod" has become increasingly popular and sought after, both for men and the women pursuing them. A "Dad Bod" is when a guy has maintained the perfect balance between still being fit, but not necessarily muscular or cut. Men don't have to look like Cristiano Ronaldo or Chris Hemsworth to be considered attractive. A lot of women even prefer the "Dad Bod" to these ridiculously ripped physiques.
Why is it that women need to look like Victoria's Secret models to be considered attractive?
Media, pop culture, and our society as a whole tells women and young girls that in order to be seen as attractive, they need to look like Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields, or Gisele Bundchen, which is incredibly damaging to self-esteem and body positivity. Women are constantly comparing themselves to others and feeling insecure in their own skin, because they are constantly being told that they aren't good enough.
It doesn't help that nearly all sought-after female celebrities have the same body type and structure, and most clothing companies only use models of the same size and shape in their advertising campaigns and product images. Many magazine covers and advertisements also use photos that have been photo-shopped or retouched in some way.
Girls aren't even comparing themselves to real people, but to false images that are nearly impossible to replicate on the human body.
Aerie is one of the few lingerie/swimwear companies I've seen use women of varying sizes, races, and abilities in their un-retouched photos. Why aren't more brands doing things this way? You want customers to feel welcome and beautiful in your stores, not that they're not good enough to be valued by your brand.
It's 2019. Women of all sizes and shapes should be able to feel beautiful and represented. Women's bodies are all unique, so celebrate your differences. It would be incredibly boring if we all looked the same. No matter what your size, confidence looks good on anyone. Continue to be you and love the skin you're in. Society, get it together.