Unrealistic body expectations have plagued our society since the beginning of time. With the rise of social media platforms such as the famed “Instagram,” these expectations are often thrown in our faces when we least expect it. One of the biggest perpetrators of these expectations are brands.
We may not be actively doing it, but subconsciously, we have developed in our heads, what we think that we want our bodies to look like.
Without a doubt, brands have taken advantage of the fact that the latest trend in society are girls who are “slim thick,” ergo slim waist, fat butt and breasts. In addition, with the rise of online Instagram self-proclaimed personal trainers, a market has been created for those who aspire to live a healthier lifestyle without the need for the in person contact. Thirty percent of users check Instagram multiple times a day. If you are one of those people who look at Instagram multiple times a day, imagine how many times you might have clicked on your favorite brand and seen the same types of bodies over and over again. I might go as far as to say, the more and more I scrolled on Instagram, the more time I spent looking in the mirror for flaws unnoticeable to me before. We critique our every detail in the mirror and we no longer see our bodies for what they are, we see our bodies for what they could become.
“we no longer see our bodies for what they are, we see our bodies for what they could become.”
As an ACE certified personal trainer, my job is literally to help people become the best version of themselves, so in the most general sense I have no problem with persons aspiring to be fitter. What is troubling to me is when a client pulls up an Instagram page of her favorite “fit girl” who is promoting various workout programs with promises that you will look just like her. Genes may determine up to eighty percent of your body weight and shape. The environment and your personal choices play a significant but lesser role.
No specific weightlifting program, cardio or diet that anyone can give you will predict the way in which you will look. The reiteration that a specific program will help you look a specific way is one way in which persons and brands are exploiting the insecurities of many people, specifically women within the society. They perpetuate a stereotype of this “perfect body”, then persuade persons to buy into their product in order to achieve sometimes the unachievable; then for those of us who are insecure, this inability in extreme cases can become fodder for depression. It is important for you to recognize notwithstanding your aspirations to have a “good” body, that what is most important is the quality, character and beauty of your inner person.
For it is the strength and high quality of the inner person who will help you to deal with the disappointment if you do not achieve the “body” that you crave.
Even more importantly, that strong inner person will help you if you fail to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again to achieve that balance. When you are satisfied with your inner person, it is then that you can successfully work on your outer body. You will never fall prey to the negative emotions that come about when you are not able to achieve the “Instagram body.”
“It is important for you to recognize notwithstanding your aspirations to have a “good” body, that what is most important is the quality, character and beauty of your inner person. “
We have seen that time and time again, representation matters in every way possible. It matters because it not only serves to break stereotypes, but it is a form of empowerment when you are able to see persons who look similar to you. You are able to confidently aspire to be who you would like to be, with no constraints based on physical attributes you may not even be able to change. We should not allow these brands to dictate to us whose body is acceptable from whose body is not. We should not allow who we see on our timelines to negatively influence who we should see in ourselves. Saraha once said, “Within my body are all the sacred places of the world, and the most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body.” Don’t fall for the Instagram scam.