By Daniel Digwo (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Prisca Elebe (email@example.com)
Once upon a time, there lived a queen who had great obsession about her looks and she had this magical talking mirror she goes to when she feels insecure about her beauty and most of their conversations go thus: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all” the queen inquires, and the mirror answers, “you are the fairest of all, O queen, the fairest our eyes have ever seen”. This response from the mirror continued for a while till another maiden more beautiful than the queen emerged in the land. This discovery made the queen furious and made her poison the lady so that she could still remain the most beautiful. This story is more than children’s fables. It reveals the extent some of us can go to look beautiful. Now this mirror reflects the queen’s insecurity and her obsession with her appearance. The queen was beautiful and didn’t really need constant reassurance from the mirror.
This story underscores our constant need to outdo each other in trying to look more beautiful and attractive and a lot of us have become victims of these insecurities leading to low self esteem. People even go as far as body shaming others who they think does not fit into the new narrative of beautiful.
This generation’s quest for attractiveness is endless. It transcends every imagination the lengths people will go to achieve “perfection”. Perhaps attractiveness has taken a different connotation in this generation. The definition of beauty keeps changing over the years: beauty was the thin, frail looking, big busted women in the 19th-20th Century and the bulky men. Presently, men are required to possess rock abs, sculpted and shredded physique like super heroes and women are also required to possess the hourglass figure also known as “ slim thick” comprising of big breasts, flat stomach and big bum. It’s obvious that our perceptions of beauty are quite dynamic and have led to a tremendous change in peoples nutrition and everyday lifestyle. The recent “fit fam” trend is an attestation to the health and body image awareness, people started engaging in strenuous exercises and ketogenic diets to acquire this recently appealing look. The consequence of this is the increased rate of anorexic patients including other health issues and low self esteem for people that can’t achieve their set out goal.
Social media plays a huge role in this recent definition of beauty and the advancement in technology made it easy for people to take better pictures with their cameras, smart phones and post meticulously edited pictures and selfies on social media. One can even use these editing apps and filters to alter their complexion, facial symmetry and body shape to their preferred specifications and with just a click of an app, created beauty is out for the world to gaze upon. It is obvious that nearly everyone looks good on social media because we often present our best selves for the world to see.
This new definition of beauty and perfection and has gripped our ladies like fever and becoming so contagious that a good number of Nigerian celebrities and celebrity wannabes have become obsessed with acquiring this figure that they are willing to go under the knife to alter their physical appearance. The social media is always awash with a huge number of people trying to achieve the looks of various celebrities, dolls. The western media plays a pivotal role in projecting these warped perceptions of beauty to the rest of world especially in Nigeria. The Kardashians, American female rappers and actresses were so influential that most young people were drawn to this hourglass image like people under some kind of spell. This development is evident in the annual data provided by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that shows a 64% increase in the rate of aesthetic plastic surgery over the years among women below 30 years old, with America and Brazil leading this recent trend.
The society’s perception of beauty will always change. For instance, the American Board of Plastic Surgery observed a reduction of 14.9% in breast augmentation and 34.4% in implant removal (explanations). Breast augmentation surgery was once the mostly globally performed surgery with about 1,677,320 by 2017 but by 2019, a lot of women were removing their implants-these are cosmetic surgeries that were trending in the early 2000s. Obviously, one cannot keep up with these demands so when do we stop? Continuing with this trend of changing our bodies to conform to societal standards will never satisfy us, eroding our humanity in the process and exposing our wretchedness. It would be a shame that after spending huge sums of money to alter our physical appearance, we are yet to be satisfied with our self image because nothing changed on the inside. Our self image should stem from our individual differences and abilities, self acceptance involves being comfortable with yourself despite the state of your body because eventually everyone will get old and the skin will definitely lose its elasticity.
Body positivity is more about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting that you are more than your looks. Obesity or being underweight is not healthy so just keep fit by exercising, eating the right kinds of food; do not forget to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your menu and drink a lot of water.
Finally, I cannot wait to see the next thing this generation becomes obsessed as a yardstick to measure beauty and how these standards will be met.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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