Speaking out on body image security

The idea of having the perfect body is an unattainable one. Expressing insecurities should be normalized except when it is done in such a way that brings others down.


by Lauren Brackney, Writer

I remember once during lunch, the week before spring break, a student was telling her friend about her new diet that she had started doing in preparation for going to the beach. In doing so, she pressured her friend out of getting the food that she originally wanted and instead switched to getting a salad. I also noticed that many of the surrounding girls, including myself, were suddenly  aware of their own food choice, wondering if they too should eat differently.

In going to an all girls school, I have witnessed first hand girls speaking out about their personal body issues as well as unhealthy ways to cope with these feelings. Although dieting is not inherently a bad thing, I felt like this interaction was not ideal when speaking about healthy living. The student was not intentionally trying to influence her peers, but she made many of the people  conscious of their food choices. I think that there needs to be a change in how we express our feelings toward body image and become more open and comfortable when speaking about insecurities.

Interactions like these don’t only happen in real life, they also happen frequently online. Over quarantine, I spent a lot of time on  social media sites like TikTok and Instagram. As the weather became warmer, there was more and more pressure put on people to have their “summer body” ready. Seeing other girls on these sites that are deemed skinnier and more toned than others which I’ve noticed to spark jealousy and resentment across the platform.

Madison beer, @madisonbeer on TikTok, recently posted a video to the app in which she dances and sings along to a song in a bathing suit. I did not find Madison’s video by itself but rather within a duet. The duet was of another girl reacting to her video where she was eating a bowl of ice cream and when she looked at Madison, she pushed the ice cream away and began doing exercises.

As this duet blew up, it further spread around these toxic ideas about eating and body image. The girl that made the duet was not alone in her thinking as many of the top comments agreed with her and shared more ideas about how they were upset with their body not looking like Madison’s.

Going deeper, I went onto Madison Beer’s account and discovered another equally upsetting video. Her video was of her addressing some of the negative comments that had been left on her social media like “I don’t wanna eat now” or “I’ll never be pretty like her.” The caption to her video was “PSA: one’s beauty does not take away from your own” which was her attempt to encourage everyone to find ways to appreciate their own unique qualities instead of tearing themselves and others down.

When people post comments like these, they don’t always think about the impact they will leave on the viewers or even the creator. The “I don’t wanna eat now” comment encourages unhealthy eating habits. I cannot judge if the person that left the comment was being serious but they must have some issues dealing with body image and they could influence another viewer into doing this unhealthy behavior.

I don’t think that people should be prevented from posting videos where the creator feels confident in their own body. I do believe that we need more body positivity whether it is shown through being proud of your own body or being supportive of someone else’s. It is hard to not be jealous of another person’s confidence especially when you feel insecure about your own body.

I encourage people to find healthier ways to cope with these insecurities. Sharing them online is appropriate when on the right platform and with the right mindset. The cycle of being unfair to your own self image and then being unfair to others because you are not happy with yourself is not a healthy one. In order to solve the problem of coping with body image, we must first feel comfortable with ourselves and be willing to show appreciation for others. But in continuing to share jealousy out loud and online will only make the matter worse and spread insecurities to others.