Remember when a middle school in Mississippi offered girls “healthy literature” and shapewear to improve their body image? I do because it happened less than three weeks ago, reminding girls and women that even in 2022, your body is not just for you.
Beauty standards evolve with history, but modern technology intensifies pressure on girls and women to adhere to unrealistic beauty goals. Social media platforms do give more visibility to toxic beauty standards, but these standards existed long before Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
Before social media, there were print magazines, television stars, and music videos setting the tone for who and what was deemed beautiful.
It’s not surprising that girls start having body image issues as young as 3 years old. Even less surprising is that schools would consider sexist and antiquated ideas as a remedy to improve girls’ self-esteem.
So where can girls turn to find solace while exploring their identities, especially girls without parental figures helping to facilitate the discussions?
I still don’t know the answer to this question, but as girls and women navigate conversations about how to claim agency over how their bodies exist in the world, common terms that surface are:
And these aren’t just words — they are debated political movements.
Body-based social and political movements are a necessity because too many bodies are rejected and abused by society. However, politicizing how women should view and love their bodies can have negative consequences once arguments…