Latest update: November 21st, 2011
I’m going to tell you something that the media doesn’t want you to know. The image of the perfect woman they promote as healthy – That’s not actually that healthy. I mean, we all want to look good and feel good, but the body image that the media shows today is truly horrible. Despite what it wants us to think, we don’t need our bones showing, or knees that are wider than our thighs. Of course, it’s important to exercise and eat healthy (fruits, vegetables, protein, etc.) and stay in shape, but we definitely do not need to take it to the anorexic level.
Just a few hundred years ago, and even in some countries today, being plump indicated that one had the ability to afford good food, and was therefore wealthy; because of this, voluptuous women were considered beautiful. If you look at sculptures and paintings created by artists like Michelangelo, you can see that the women they portrayed were actually pretty big! Back then, if you were skinny, people assumed you were poor, and therefore not desirable. Obviously, I am not suggesting that people gain unnecessary weight – nowadays we know that there can be related health issues – but just think about the fact that society once said that being fat is good, and being skinny is bad. I’m a normal teenage girl, and I want to stay thin too, but it makes you think about our perception of beauty, even just a little.
I think nowadays people are just trying so hard to be just like celebrities. You know what? Stars are people too. Magazines occasionally show them without makeup, and it’s a shock to see that many of them don’t have natural beauty – it’s all makeup, all airbrushed! That’s not real beauty. Real beauty is when it shines just as much from inside you as it does from the outside. It’s when you look at someone without any makeup on, even someone who doesn’t conform to our culture’s beauty ideals, and they still look beautiful.
It’s funny, since I’m almost contradicting myself, because I give a lot of importance to physical appearance. But when you think about it, it doesn’t make sense. I admit it, I try SO hard to stay thin and follow all the celebrities. A lot of you probably do the same. But honestly, WHO are we trying to impress? That boy from shul, that snob from school, our older brother’s friends, or just our older sister? Do we really want to try so hard to impress them with how we look? Do we really want to try so hard to impress them, period?
Don’t look at the “beauty” of some of these celebrities, because it isn’t real. Focus on whatever’s beautiful for you. If wearing last year’s scarf makes you feel good, go ahead and wear it. Who cares? It’s your style. If you want to wear a long skirt, a short skirt, a sweater, even if it isn’t the latest fashion or what your group of friends or that snobby clique in your class are wearing, who cares? What’s the difference? It’s all about what makes you happy.
Don’t go crazy with health either. If you just want to look and feel good like any other normal person, have fun with it! Don’t go crazy and starve yourself, don’t go on the treadmill for 5 hours, but be HEALTHY. Just make healthier choices. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Eat a yummy granola bar instead of a candy bar. Just be yourself. You are who you are. No one can tell you how to dress and act. Be healthy and beautiful. Or in other words, just be you.
The above article was originally posted on Maidelle.com, an online magazine for Jewish teen girls to speak their mind. Check out the site and read more articles and poetry submitted by girls worldwide who made the choice to use their voice.Jewish Press Staff
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