Week after week, I see the damage that our culture’s obsession with beauty has created. I’m a mental health counselor for women and girls who have eating disorders, and I’ve realized how easily people can become trapped by the thought, “If I don’t achieve physical perfection, I can never be good enough.”
I was drawn to the Stop The Beauty Madness campaign, which is trying to reverse the damage that societal pressure has had on women. According to the campaign, “Enough of the impossible standards. Enough of the ‘ideal’ image. Most of all, enough of the feeling of NOT ENOUGH when it comes to your own beauty. There also comes a time when an entire culture of women have had it. When blogs and ad campaigns and AS-IS selfie pictures start to change the rules of the game.”
Unfortunately, the idea that “your appearance determines your value” is affecting girls at a younger and younger age.
Girls feel the pressure from the media, from their peers, and even from their parents. “Dieting,” “body,” and “weight” have become major topics of conversation. It’s societally encouraged to complain about your body, your weight, your “lack of discipline” when it comes to exercising or eating something you enjoy.
Unfortunately, conversation about “not measuring up” has often dominated over conversation about one’s true value as a human being. The message “you are inadequate” has clouded over the message that “you are valuable and worthy of love no matter what you look like.”
What can we do about it? According to Stop The Beauty Madness, “Part of this includes calling out the ugly truths hidden in our culture and our own minds. That’s what this campaign is about. It’s about strong words that reveal the ideas that need to be seen for what they are. It is not always pretty to see what is hidden deep in our psyche (or even just slightly under the surface), but it is important to see it clearly so that we may call it out and change it.”
The campaign can be found at stopthebeautymadness.com
To make a difference, we can tell ourselves and each other, “You are enough. You are beautiful, valuable, and worthy of love–today and every day.”