Unrealistic beauty standards have been an issue society has had to deal with for countless years. With the rise of social media, distorted images and expectations for the average person have skyrocketed beyond the point of realism. Celebrities and influencers are consistently at the forefront of our daily lives, with celeb-founded brands taking the reins heavily on social media, featuring filters, Photoshop, and fraudulent weight-loss programs day in and day out. As a result, people are becoming increasingly insecure about their appearance, struggling to identify what is and isn't natural. To get to the bottom of this issue, intimate body care brand WooWoo recently conducted research into how the media makes British women feel. The results strongly showcased the depth of insecurity surrounding female bodies, with over half of the 1,500 individuals surveyed saying they don't love how they look, and one in ten saying they hate their body. Here are the main findings from the study.
In response to the findings, WooWoo is launching the Prioritise You Pledge, a campaign created to encourage women to put themselves, their self-care, and their pleasure above anything else. The campaign emphasizes the facts, such as the lesser-known reality that the average UK dress size is, in fact, a 16 and not a 6. To get the campaign started, the brand will share hints, tips, and advice via its website and social media, alongside the already-present blog posts covering topics from sexual health, to menopause and astrology.
WooWoo has also teamed up with body-positive illustrator Nina Sweeney to create a limited-edition range of merchandise such as tote bags, postcards, and stickers. All of the artwork created by Sweeney depicts women of all shapes, sizes, and complexions to further the message of encouragement and empowerment.
"It's saddening to see so many women have such low self-esteem and feel this way about themselves and their bodies. After two years of canceled celebrations and holidays, putting our social and dating lives on hold and neglecting ourselves with regard to self-care both physically and mentally, we think it's time to prioritize the most important person in your life… you! Forget the trends asking if you're having a hot girl or a feral girl summer, it's about getting your mindset in check and putting yourself first," says Lucy Anderson, founder and CEO of WooWoo.
The damage caused by unattainable visual ideals is arguably only made worse when celebrities don’t perceive the impact they have on their fans. A prime example is Kim Kardashian, who, when asked during a reunion episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians if she feels her family promotes unrealistic body standards, responded, "No, I don't. Because I think we get up, we do the work, we work out," she said. Kim's sister Kendall Jenner added, "We all really enjoy taking care of ourselves and being healthy. I think if anything, the only thing we're trying to represent is just being the most healthy version of yourself."
Of course, there is no issue with the Kardashians wishing to keep healthy and utilize their offerings. However, many feel the problem lies in said celebrities denying alleged surgeries and cosmetic procedures. After the episode aired, several fans took to Twitter to express their upset with the comments made; one user commented, "It makes me so sad because they basically pioneered the whole ‘perfect’ beauty standard, and don't even feel remorse for any damage that they've caused." Another added, "Respectfully, for the Kardashians to sit there and say they aren't promoting unrealistic beauty standards with such blatant BBLs is wild to me. A weird, sad end to end to a show that started out so real and relatable."
It can be said that the way celebrities make their fans feel is the ultimate Catch-22. Consistently viewing Photoshopped images and cosmetically altered bodies can obviously impact a person's perception of themself. However, these procedures and surgeries are a personal choice made by the individual, leaving them with no real obligation to share details of what they have or have not had done to their bodies. Regardless, the key takeaway is the importance of practicing self-love; consumers and celebrities alike should be free to express themselves and their bodies without the demand to share details. With more and more brands pushing the self-love narrative, there is hope that the future of beauty standards will allow individuals to show up as their authentic selves without judgment.
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