The pressure to conform to body standards



My thighs touch, I fall pregnant after eating a heavy meal and regardless of the endless products I’ve tried, my skin will never be consistently clear.

Why do we punish ourselves? Why is it that we allow ourselves to feel less of a person for being unable to match up to society’s latest body trend? Trend.  I want to emphasise the word ‘trend’, because it is ever-changing and directing us towards pure absurdity.

A few years ago, I would shame myself for failing to meet the harsh requirements of the ‘thigh gap’ trend. Regardless of how little I consumed in an attempt to achieve this body goal, my bone structure just simply wouldn’t allow it. I wouldn’t dare to ever stand with my feet together to highlight my non-existent gap during this idiotic time, how could I expose myself like that? I was young and willing to ruthlessly diet my way to malnourishment… just to feel accepted. How did I allow society’s pressure to fit this certain body type to control me in such a way? No one was physically forcing me, so how was content that I was exposed to online able to distort my idea of a healthy body image?

Much to my luck; thicker thighs, small waists and double D’s were factors of the next trend many strived to achieve. I finally felt accepted, this was my time. People suddenly started complimenting my figure, the exact same figure I had during the thigh gap phase and for the first time ever, I was confident in my body. I allowed societies justification of the perfect body image to control my self-assurance. Despite my accomplishment in being able to live up to this trend, I soon met a lovely friend called self-doubt. My eyes were greeted with photos of girls with pinched in and edited waists, how could I match up to that? At this point, the expectation bar was raised so high, I found myself striving for a body that wasn’t even real. I was cheating myself and I knew it, but still, I persevered. The fact waist trainers were deemed so popular during this phase confirms everyone knew the body they were striving for was totally unnatural.

If it wasn’t for photoshopped images online, perhaps the ideal body image would be somewhat different. Perhaps thigh gaps, big butts and injected lips would’ve never been a cause of unhealthy trends. Perhaps we’d learn to embrace our own features instead of attempting to gain someone else’s, live to love our flaws instead of figuring out how to change them and maybe we’d allow ourselves to accept that we are all unique human beings.


By Hannah Goulding

instagram: hannahgouldingxx

Twitter: goulding_hannah

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