The first time I was told I had to change my body, I was 15. When I was 17, my best friend was so excited because thigh gaps were out and thigh brows were in, meaning her body was on-trend. It’s still crazy to me that body types go in and out like the 52 fashion micro-seasons.
Perceptions of the ideal body change so often that we should really be accepting of everyone’s bodies, especially our own. It’s easy to switch your jeans from skinny to flared, but it’s a bit harder to drastically change your body from year to year to keep up with body fads.
Today, it’s all about the Kim Kardashian “Break the Internet” booty. Remember in the ‘90s when women would ask “Does my butt look big in these jeans?” as a bad thing? Now, that’s a huge compliment. In the ‘60s, supermodel Twiggy’s thin and straight body was in vogue. Ten years before that, Marilyn Monroe’s voluptuous hourglass figure was the peak of beauty. How are we supposed to demand that our bodies change to fit these ideals in the span of a few years?
In Ancient Greece, plump, fair-skinned women were the beauty ideal. The statue Venus De Milo shows Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love. She was and still is praised by many as the epitome of female beauty. She looks like a regular woman! I relate so much more to her body type than I do to the celebrities and influencers I see on my Instagram feed.
But here’s the truth: that person with the ideal body has insecurities too. I’m sure Instagram-famous Alexis Ren has insecurities. Regina George thought her pores were too big. Marilyn Monroe probably hated trying on clothes (who doesn’t?) because it’s hard to find clothing for hourglass figures. The person whose body you long for has insecurities! And it’s not just women – men have plenty of insecurities too (I’m referencing women in this article because I am a cisgender woman and that is the perspective I can most authentically describe based on personal experience.)
One of my best friends loves the style of the Swinging Sixties, because that’s the time period when fashion trends were marketed towards her body type. The style flatters her body, so she feels most confident in those types of clothes. Your body type doesn’t have to be in right now or ever for you to feel confident. Dress in what makes you feel good! Trends are lame anyway.
Another thing about body types: so much of it is genetics. We can be so hard on ourselves, trying to get the small waist that an Instagram model has. That Instagram model was probably born with that small frame. I, on the other hand, was never meant to have a size 23-inch waist in combination with a big booty, and that’s OK! (P.S. Try deleting the Instagram when you’re feeling insecure. Most of those photos are Facetuned, anyway.)
The good thing is that, like fashion, trends cycle like clockwork. My mom will always point out when I wear a trend that she wore in college. Who would have ever thought that we would give up low-rise jeans? Your body type will come back in style, I promise. But you shouldn’t have to wait for that day to feel at home in your body!
Hopefully one day, there will be no such concept of body trends and we can all live happily ever after in the unique bodies we call home. But for now, don’t nitpick other peoples’ bodies if they don’t fit with the current trend. The less negative attention you pay to someone else’s body, the less you give to your own body.
It’s not your job to be beautiful. When you stop equating the ideal body with happiness, it is so much easier to love yourself completely. Beauty does not align with happiness, friends, love, etc. Being a size 2 will not make your life happier. You were made to do whatever you want with whatever body you have. Don’t focus on other peoples’ bodies, because at the end of the day the only one you have is your own.
“BODIES” is a series about body image. Recently, Kylie has been battling body insecurity — something that many wrestle with. Over the next few months, Kylie hopes to befriend her own body again, and to change the way we talk to and about ourselves because at some point in time, we have all been at war with our own bodies.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
Kylie Smith is a sophomore in CAS studying Journalism and Art History. Email Kylie at [email protected]