How do you feel in your own skin? Comfortable? Happy? Ashamed? Neglected?
While there has been a shift in the media’s perception and portrayal of beauty, the never-ending discourse of size, beauty and health has endured. This unending criticism of women’s (and men’s) bodies has a devastating and unrealistic effect on society’s mental and emotional state.
Take Robyn Lawley, the 25-year-old Australian supermodel who measures smaller than the average woman. While universally seen as beautiful, her occupation of ‘model’ is still preceded by the label ‘plus-size.’
Or perhaps look at the criticism of newly signed MiLK model Tess Holliday, a beautiful size 22 Instagram star. When the news first broke, the Internet seemed supportive. However, that support quickly shifted to criticism of the glorification of obesity and her “unhealthy lifestyle” — something that pictures simply do not illustrate.
According to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), half of people affected by eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. While women are significantly more likely than men to develop an eating disorder — including anorexia nervosa, bulemia nervosa and binge eating — men account for up to 15% of cases. In addition, eating disorders hold the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.
Luckily, we have the chance to bring empowerment and change to eating disorders, those affected by them, and they way in which we view our bodies.
Judging a person based on their looks does not give insight into their personality, goals, characteristics or lifestyle. Men and women of all shapes and sizes should be celebrated for who they are, not who they are perceived to be.
As the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness week approaches, we encourage you to #LoveYourSelfie.
“People don’t understand what starvation can do to you,” said Lawley to Marie Claire.
So say no to starvation.
Instead, say yes to positive body image, to the idea that beauty isn’t capped at a size 6, and say yes to health.
Tweet your story (and your selfie!) to us @WeCare to celebrate your body and your beauty, both inside and out.