The Beauty Myth & the Self Esteem Epidemic

It is a reality that we live in a world where unattainable beauty is the standard. Does that not sound a little fucked up to you? I mean honestly, why are they shoving something down our throats that is unattainable.

I took English 101 my freshman year of college and it has been my most memorable class yet. Why you ask? Because I read Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth”. If you are not familiar with it, I encourage you to read it whether you are woman or man.

the beauty myth

Wolf brings to light the fact that the standard of beauty set by the media and people in society is not attainable. This standard is causing an epidemic of low self esteem.Β  We end up hopelessly wanting to be perfect. When we all know there is no such thing as perfect. I remember telling my Professor that I don’t agree with what she says that I don’t believe, we as women, are victims of this. No, I am not saying that women have not been oppressed. I am saying that images of beauty are not being used against us. This beauty myth is so much deeper than media or someone telling us what is pretty.

I am going to tell you a little secret…

Not to sound vain, but my whole life people have been telling me “You are pretty..”, “You are gorgeous..”, “You should model…” blah blah blah yada yada. I didn’t believe a single word that was coming out of there mouths. I did not believe I was pretty, gorgeous, or that I should model. I smiled at them when they told me and I would say thank you but in my head I was thinking…”No, I am not”. It is all psychological. People can compliment you all day long about how out of this world beautiful you are but at the end of the day if you yourself don’t believe it, those words are empty ramblings.

I got made fun of a lot through out elementary school and middle school. When I say a lot, I stress A LOT. They made fun of my hair,Β  the way I talked, the clothes I wore, basically anything to tear me down to make me feel worthless. I believed each and every word they told me.

That is until my freshman year in high school. I was walking through the throng of people at school just trying to make it to my class on time. When a girl out of no where told me “Baby, pick your head up you…” I looked at her and she said “Yes, I am talking to you! Everyday I see you walk through here with your head down like you have nothing to offer this world. Pick your head up and be proud of who you are because no one will do it for you.”

Well shit…that’s when it all changed. That’s when I started owning who I was. That’s when I realized I am beautiful and no one on this earth has any right to tell me how I should look or feel. That’s when I became “conceited” and started accepting compliments with pride.

So no, I don’t blame it on the media or people around me for the low self esteem I once had. I blame myself for not seeing the beauty I had within me and for not being proud of who I am. I can’t change who I am and I will not change who I am for the sake of another person’s happiness.

To the women and men out there that are struggling with your image. I can’t tell you that you are wonderful, handsome, and beautiful. You have to believe and know that you are wonderful, handsome, and beautiful.Β  I do believe and know, however, that each of us has something to offer that is far deeper than the looks we have and the clothes we wear.

the beauty myth

Yes, darling, that is me with a fresh face and no makeup xo

X’s and O’s

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15 thoughts on “The Beauty Myth & the Self Esteem Epidemic

  1. Also, I’d definitely recommend getting you hands on a copy of the documentary America the Beautiful as it goes into a lot about the standards of beauty in current western civilization. It was fantastic, but really heartbreaking, too! x

  2. Wonderfully written! I got a lil’ teary-eyed because I was the same girl- teased from elementary through high school about my size and I believed every word of it. I had the same epiphany and started to love myself regardless. I still get the comments but I don’t accet them anymore and that is the difference.

    • I was apprehensive about writing this post but I am so glad I did :). Thank you for sharing! Yes, I have learned adults are just as bad as little kids. However, like you said, I don’t accept or believe comments when they are made anymore.

  3. So funny how you remember random things that change your life – like your experience in your freshman year. I, too, was teased/taunted for being half-Asian/half-white. I just never knew where I fit in??? Your post is such a great message to just learn to love yourself! I do now, and that’s why I blog, but it was a long road. Great post hun πŸ™‚

    • It is a long road and sometimes I do digress and think that I am not good enough. BUT, I refuse to feel less than worthy of anything. I am mixed as well and I always wondered where I fit in!! People think that it’s so simple but really when you are mixed you can experience ridicule from both sides. I am glad that you know and believe you are smart, confident, and of course beautiful!!!

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