My Story: Refusing to Live Up To Unrealistic Beauty Standards In Society

Leah discusses how social media promotes unrealistic standards for women to live up to, which in turn, creates a negative relationship between a person and their body.

Transcript: 

OBOS Today: I know you mentioned wanting to talk about body positivity and social media. Do you want to speak a little bit more to that? 

LM: Yeah, sure. So, like as I mentioned before, like on Instagram and everything, like I hate social media because I just feel like they put so much unrealistic standards on society. I mean like you know now, I know we have more, you know plus-size models, which is great, and we’re trying to normalize like body hair and, you know, stuff like that, which is amazing, but I feel like no matter what, society is always going to go back to, you know, like very slender bodies and no hair because you know I think we’re at a very early stage in our society where we’re starting to be more accepting of bodies and people and you know all that stuff so I don’t see like a huge change, like from my perspective, like I’m glad we’re starting to promote, you know, more—Sorry, there’s like a really annoying bird here [laughs] if you hear that. But I’m just, I don’t know, I’m very skeptical when it comes to, you know, if our society has changed or not. The thing is, well, at least for my entire life, with my body, particularly, I like did not grow. Like, I had such a late growth spurt. Until I was like, I don’t know, 15, like I literally had the body of an 11-year-old, like [laughs] the first two years of high school. So, again I was very skinny, I was very small and like a lot of people would make fun of me for that because I was tiny, I was like 4’11.’’ [laughs] And all my friends were like already super tall, my cousins who are several years younger than me were taller than I was, and I was always like: what the hell, right? And so, that point in my life, I was kind of just really, like especially like [winces] my boobs [laughs], they did not grow until like later on in my life and so I was really insecure about that. And then, as I got older and then I had my growth spurt like sophomore, junior year was when I like grew into my womanly body and then there was like a time when you know, was finally starting to grow, obviously I’m not like as light as I used to be and that kind of made me sad in a way, because you know I was very, very skinny. I wasn’t like lean, I was skinny and that was it, right? And now that I had some meat on my bones and stuff like that, I felt really, I guess, insecure again, which is kind of like ironic, but, you know, because you have all these models now who are pin thin. I mean yeah, as I said before, there’s more inclusive models now but that’s still the standard, really, and still what’s, what’s shoved in our face, like how people who are really skinny look good in anything. And so, I was no longer than and so I was really just, I was really disappointed and there was like a time I even started doing some like 500 calorie-a-day diet, which was so bad! And I love food, so I get really hangry very easily so to limit myself from all those calories was like, I did it for like two months and I lost weight, yeah, but it wasn’t sustainable nor was it healthy so I, you know, at that time my mom was like: you know, you gotta’ eat more [laughs]. You know, you’re pissy all the time and like, you know, you’re just in such a bad mood and I can’t have that and I’m like you know, I don’t even actually know why I’m doing this, you know. I’m like why am I trying to lose weight, I mean I’m not like, I think I’m at a healthy, I was at a healthy weight before so like why am I doing this to myself and that was kind of the turning point and I realize that I’m just going to eat whatever I want in moderation and you know whatever body I have is the body I have, you can’t change it. Obviously, I can work out, but, you know, you can’t make bones skinner! Like, if you’re big-boned like no matter how much weight you lose, you’re going to have the same body shape but maybe you’ll be more toned and stuff and so then I was just like maybe I’ll focus on getting more toned in my body and you know, a lot of my friends have like come to me complaining about their bodies and stuff like that but then I always go back to like, I could have it worse, you know? Like, I could still be 4’11,” [laughs] right or stuff like that so I should just be happy with like what I have and like I tell my friends that too you know, it could be worse you know, you could, I don’t know. But, you know, you’re always I think [pause]. How do I explain this? Overall, just my body image of myself has definitely improved. It’s been a rocky journey, I would say, but overall, like that’s been something I’ve been pretty stable with.