Exceedingly high standards of beauty negatively affect women in society, need to be abandoned

Let’s talk about Tumblr for a minute.

For those who don’t know, Tumblr is an online blogging site that allows the user to share photos, videos, links and video clips as they desire. You can set quenes to post when you’re away from your computer or you can download the mobile application on whatever smartphone you own.

Founded in 2007 by David Karp, Tumblr is home to over 225.1

million blogs. 

It’s a big space for creativity and social activism. It could possibly be viewed as a release from social pressures for those struggling with expressing themselves and fitting in.

However, in spaces like these, there breeds a bacteria of insecurity – and the target is young girls and women.

For hours, girls from the ages of 13+ are encouraged to scour blog after blog to learn how to perfect nails, hair, makeup and to follow blogs written and kept up by young boys and men that “re-blog” and glorify black and white clippings from porn found online. 

I have a Tumblr, as much as I hate to admit it. I try to flood my feed with good, sustainable and positive things, but body image issues and the short walk to the mirror to look at how my jeans don’t fit me for the 60th time is always a guaranteed behavior after an hour-long viewing period. 

Unfortunately, I am not alone. 

Women being shamed if they do not fit a specific Westernized body type is a real problem with real consequences. Do you see the problem?

If you haven’t already, maybe this little tidbit can help.

In Estelle Freedman’s “No Turning Back,” she writes, “In the contemporary United States, over half of thirteen-year-old girls and three-quarters of eighteen-year-old girls express dissatisfaction with their body. A 1986 study found that 70 percent of fourth-grade girls reported concern about their weight and that about half of them dieted.” 

Freedman also reports that Weight Watchers has a clientele that is 95 percent female and that the number of women that sought after breast enlargement surgery in the United States increased from thirty thousand in 1992 to eighty-seven thousand in 1997.

When I read this, I was quite taken aback. In the fourth grade, I was skinning my knees and begging my mom to take me to McDonalds. 

Photo editing of celebrities that are exposing themselves to a specific, young demographic, along with the pointed goal of the porn industry to adhere to men, the message stands clear: women who are not white, skinny [but curvy] and do not have straight hair and/or nice skin will never be desirable. 

This idea can have damaging, life-long effects on a person. This creates diet programs and weight loss charts for teenagers, it creates organizations that need funding for eating disorder offices and psychiatrists that prescribe medicine. 

It is time to break the cycle of beauty and dismantle the notion that only one type of beauty is acceptable or normal. 

I hope some day we can live in a world where young girls don’t refuse food at the age of thirteen or punish their bodies when they give in to cookies, all for the sake of looking “pretty.”