“True beauty” not reflected in media

by Remington Layne

laynere@mnstate.edu

Weight has never been a more prevalent issue in our society than it is right now. We can’t even go to the grocery store without seeing a plethora of magazines promising us a new “healthy” body and enticing us with flashy language like “melting,” “watching” and “shedding” the weight off.

We can’t stand with our delicious food moving up the line without seeing at least one “hard hitting” photograph of a healthy celebrity with some kind of caption stating how they are gaining weight, or are too “fat.”

Sometimes, however, there’s the reverse: a healthy, slim celebrity deemed “anorexic” or possibly “bulimic” all because of their body type. All this in the name of “real photojournalism.”

As we stand there waiting in the checkout line for our food, we subconsciously move our hands across our waistline as we read those bright yellow captions. We see the opinions people have in those captions, and with each issue we see those opinions more solidified into facts.

We see those unflattering pictures broadcast to the entire public, and the more we look the more they begin to morph into something disgusting and vile.

All the while our food, which doesn’t look so good anymore, is being totaled up.

We continue to flip through these magazines because we’re interested in what else is deemed terrible.

The article next to the actress you thought was beautiful mentions how she should really count her calories the correct way and practice portion control. The article a few pages ahead shows how the new thing is having surgery to morph your natural body type into something more appealing and desired. The next one is how men can get bigger muscles, be seen as “The Boss” and become more appealing by using these tips and tricks. Because everyone should have the ability to be “perfect.”

Once the food that we have regrettably paid for is at home in our kitchens, we stare at it with one hand moving consciously across our stomachs and in the other, a calculator to count all those calories we hesitate to put into our systems.

Unfortunately, that hesitation sometimes turns into permanent abstaining from regular eating over the course of what was supposed to be only a few days. Those days have turned into a few weeks, and for some of us, those days go on for months.

For months some starve themselves; for months some avoid mirrors because they can’t stand looking at themselves; for months some avoid going out in public or being seen by their friends, all because they are afraid they aren’t society’s idea of beautiful.

These individuals could have been or can be the happiest, most kind, genuine people in your community. They could be your friends who, to you, are the most beautiful souls you have ever come across. Yet, they could be hurting so much because they don’t think they fit what “beautiful” is as defined by those supermarket magazines.

True beauty is not a number. It is not dictated by what those flashy, bright, yellow captions say. Beauty is not how you look. Beauty is what you bless the world with everyday you wake up simply because you are yourself. Never deprive the world of such a genuinely beautiful gift because you’re the only one who can bestow it.

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