I don’t need to tell you that most women, young and old, struggle daily with their body image.
We know we have our insecurities, we know our friends have their insecurities. And that’s all to be expected, isn’t it? Because we’re all just “regular folks,” and regular folk struggle with their regularity. That said, all we have to do is scroll through our Instagram feed to see women for whom that’s probably not the case—right?
Of course there are women we see, admire and yes—sometimes resent. The models, the fitness gurus or the social media celebrities we don’t dare classify as “normal” like ourselves.
But they are, which is to say that they grapple with obtaining that perfect body just as much as those of us who aren’t waking up to thousands of “likes” or comments on our “selfies.” Because there is no real winning in this day and age for us ladies. That is, if we’re playing the game. And that game looks a little something like this:
We drop 5-10 pounds? We’re too thin. Our chests are too flat.
We gain a few pounds? People ask if we’re “okay.” Careless strangers respond with negativity or cruelty while wearing their “internet armor” in a very public, and humiliating way. In other words, “the perfect body” is always just out of reach, at least as far as so many (too many) of us have come to understand it, because no matter our shape and size there will always be criticism flung our way.
And thanks to a recent experiment, we have proof.
Check out the image below (you can click on it to see the original Facebook post):
If you’re having trouble reading the comments, here are just three:
- “her waist and thigh gap I need that”
- “you look anorexic now tbh”
- “still too fat”
Now take into account the fact that this image has been photoshopped—photoshopped so as to achieve “perfection.” Below, the woman in the photo (and the video we led with) who is, in reality, a very healthy and athletic personal trainer explains why:
“I’m so happy that many of you clicked over to watch my short film when you saw my new “perfect” body. You experienced the most powerful video I have ever created. You saw me strip down my confidence and self esteem. You saw me raw. Hurt. And vulnerable. For those who haven’t seen it yet, click here: https://www.youtube.com/
I wanted to post again because there was a weird phenomenon that happened when I posted this photoshopped picture. On the very same photo, I got some people praising me and others degrading me.
What worries me is this: 1. That some people think this is real and that it should be “goals.” 2. That some people still think it’s not good enough.
It’s tough knowing what’s real and what’s not when magazine covers and music videos are photoshopped (yes, music videos), Instagram pics are photoshopped, and so many women are getting surgery. How are we to know what kind of beauty can be naturally achieved when everything around us is so deceiving?
If you want to know what you can do to help stop body shaming, all I ask is that you share the video with at least 1 person. That’s all.
I hope you guys liked it. I love you. Stay beautiful.”
Today, we’re grateful for this woman (who braved some serious digs, by the way) for taking a very personal stand against body shaming. On one hand, her experiment is disheartening. On the other hand, it’s an exceptionally powerful reminder that your struggle and my struggle with “perfect” is every woman’s struggle.
So—what can we take away from all of this?
- The perfect body does not exist. Perfect women don’t exist. And chasing an illusion is not only exhausting, it will distract you from living a life that is happy, healthy, and most importantly—good.
- Praise can be just as harmful as criticism. Be generous and open in your love and admiration of one another, but celebrate women in a way that will not strengthen our own chains. Tell your friends they look magnificent, don’t focus on the gap between their legs. Acknowledge their healthy lifestyle, don’t transform them into a standard.
Now, as a woman of faith, you may already have confidence in the way God created you—you may see the work of the ultimate artist when you look in the mirror. But not all girls are so lucky–they’re simply not “there” yet. So, extend your hand and help pull them towards a purer understanding of beauty. The spirit of women everywhere will be better for it.
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