Finding beauty in my figure

Jasmine Mitchell, Staff Writer

Have you ever been on social media and seen a post that you couldn’t forget? That happened to me a few weeks ago. It still sits with me the same way it did when it was first posted.

It was a post about someone being overweight. I don’t remember all of the comments posted, but I do remember some key words used throughout the status and comments: ugly, nasty, disgusting and unhealthy.

This attitude frustrates me. I’m annoyed with this because these types of issues bring a negative stigma about big people. It is a major hit to someone’s self-esteem when they’re told they’re unattractive because they’re big. Even saying something like “you’re pretty for a big girl” doesn’t help, either. If a person hears something often enough, they begin to think it’s true. They’ll wake up and look at themselves in the mirror every day, thinking less of themselves just because someone thought that fat was unattractive.

These low self-esteem issues can lead to more extreme problems, one of which is finding unhealthy ways of losing weight just to fit the public’s opinion of beauty. These methods of losing weight can be extremely dangerous and can also cause the person to gain even more weight. People who are overweight may try to achieve the perfect body by doing things like taking diet pills, purging themselves or not eating at all.

Trying to maintain a healthy figure is hard enough, and people are also pressured to achieve unattainable levels of beauty shown in the media today. You see beauty standards in every makeup commercial, every music video and every billboard. The men and women in the advertisements are slender with clear faces and pearly white smiles. Their hair is perfect from the roots to the ends.

Only seeing these standards of beauty can be detrimental for a person’s mental and physical health. Instead of teaching someone who is overweight that he or she needs to lose weight to be accepted, we should be telling one another that love comes in many forms. There are stores that promote body positivity by including plus size models and showing that no matter what size you are, you are beautiful.

We should be teaching people that beauty comes in a variety of forms, not all of which are visible. As cliché as it sounds, true beauty does lie within. True beauty is shown by how you treat others, how your mind works and your confidence. Confidence plays a big part in how a person perceives himself or herself. Speaking from a personal perspective, I never thought too highly of myself physically when I was in high school. I didn’t have the perfect figure. I didn’t wear the best clothes, and I didn’t have my hair styled every day.

However, there came a time when I told myself I can’t let other people make me think badly of myself. I found the confidence I needed. It was time I stopped paying attention to what others had to say about my looks because no matter what they may say, I can still look in the mirror and see that I’m a beautiful person inside and out. There is not a single standard of beauty. We need to stop letting other people and the media manipulate us into thinking that way.