For decades, the media have been broadcasting a formula for success that is allegedly directly related to beauty. The rich and happy have the perfect figure, skin, hair, teeth. And, therefore, an ideal life. In reality, of course, this is not the case. Stretch marks, cellulite, various flaws and imperfections are typical physiological features of the human body, but in society it is customary to hesitate and hide them by all means. This gives rise to many complexes not only in adult women and men, but in children and especially in adolescents. Popular bloggers and body-positive activists told Lenta.ru about how beauty standards ruined their lives and at what cost they achieved success, despite the censure of society.
A woman must look stunning both in the heat of battles and a second before she dies
Female beauty is one of the most important artistic tools of the film industry. In different eras, the images and appearance have changed depending on the needs of the audience. In the days of silent films, the type of actresses was determined very simply: it had to be a young woman with big eyes, thin lips with a clear outline and lush hair.
This format was respected due to the specifics of the image - the performers were required to have bright expressive facial features visible on the screen. In addition, this type attracted men, and women strove to be like the darlings of the opposite sex. Some of the most popular actresses of the time were Mabel Normand, Vera Cold, Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford, whose appearance was considered the standard of beauty.
By the 60s, the image of the ideal woman was formed in the cinema. The exterior has been enhanced to an unrealistic feel with makeup and an abundance of artificial studio lighting. The cult of youth and beauty forced girls of all ages to maintain a fresh and youthful appearance in everyday life. Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh and Maria Stewart became role models then.
After several decades, the lady's innocent image faded away. He was replaced by decisive and strong heroines. An obligatory attribute of the on-screen beauty of the 1980s and 1990s was a super-sexy appearance.
Seductive actresses drew attention with an athletic physique, large breasts, firm buttocks, sensual lips and long hair
The “warrior woman”, exciting the viewer's eyes, possessed a cold reason and intellect, which further added fuel to the fire of men's erotic fantasies. The main characters of such films as "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", "Xena - Warrior Princess", "Resident Evil" and "Catwoman" reinforced the stereotype in the minds of society that a woman must look stunning, no matter what happened - and in the heat of battles, and a second before death.
Playing on the complexes
The porn industry also imposes exaggerated demands on human appearance. Now, movies with a mark of 18+ mostly show neat female bodies without a single hint of hair. However, this was not always the case. The fashion for women's shaving began after 1915, when the American businessman and founder of the Gillette brand, King Camp Gillette, decided to double revenues and extend his shaving and body care products to the female half of society.
The advertising of the product played on the complexes and uncertainties of the customers, forcing them to purchase depilation products.
In the early 1900s, revealing outfits became popular, exposing previously hidden parts of the body, such as armpits and legs, further spurring ladies to remove "unwanted" hair.
At the same time, porn has instilled in people uncertainty about the "correctness" of their genitals. Hence, such procedures as vagino- and labioplasty, perineoplasty appear; penile plastic surgery - ligamentotomy and so on.Clients of aesthetic medicine clinics were forced to forget that the shape of the genitals is a purely individual thing and rarely has anything to do with any pathology. An “ideal” picture on the screen pushes people to think about their own inferiority, which leads to various complexes and rejection of their bodies.
Your body is your business
In the age of social media, it's hard not to compare yourself to other users. The reality is that most users show only the best sides of themselves and their lives, leaving the truth behind the scenes. The photographs show beautiful smiling people with snow-white teeth, shiny skin without wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite. Women show their bodies after childbirth, showing off the perfect figure with no signs of bearing a child, while men display sculpted muscles.
But along with the trend towards "ideality", the popularity of body positivity has noticeably increased - a movement that stands for the right to feel comfortable in your body with any appearance, to freely express yourself and accept the bodies of other people as they are. Body positivity helps women and men change the perception of their image and role in society, fight against imposed standards of beauty and spread ideas of variability in appearance.
In the West, body positivity has long been a part of society. People are not afraid to express themselves and look the way they want. Fashion brands tend to show models of different races, types and sizes. For example, the hero of the advertising campaign for the Savage x Fenty lingerie brand, which belongs to the singer Rihanna, became a black plus-size mannequin with several tattoos, a girl with stretch marks on her thighs starred in a bikini for the Inamorata Woman brand, founded by supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, and a model with an amputee foot became the face of the British brand Kurt Geiger.
Kurt Geiger / @bernadettehagans
Bernadette Hagens for Kurt Geiger
Moreover, the idea of “sexlessness” of clothing is being actively promoted - men wear dresses and heels without fear of being judged. So, 26-year-old performer Harry Styles often appears in public in skirts and dresses. In an interview for Vogue, the singer admitted that women's clothing has always attracted him, and he openly shows interest in it. In the wardrobe of rapper Kanye West, you can find a Givenchy leather skirt, which he often wears on tours. Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, who leads the world's sexiest men, is famous for his love of romantic floral dresses, colorful fur coats and skirts.
Russian society is just beginning to develop in this direction, but blogs are already gaining popularity, the authors of which are not afraid to show their real life without embellishment, accepting themselves as they are. Some of them told Lenta.ru about their perception of modern beauty standards and their fight against imposed stereotypes.
People write that I have the breast of a forty-year-old woman giving birth
Asya, Moscow, 17.8 thousand subscribers
For me, body positivity is when your body is only your business, when you accept, do not condemn and do not evaluate by the outward signs of other people. No one should care about other people's bodies.
Body positivity helped me a lot to accept myself. I am tall - 180 centimeters. I slouched a lot the whole time, because at school I was bullied for being taller than everyone. It was difficult enough, I still slouch. But now it helps me to accept myself understanding that in fact I am not such a petite feminine girl, which society expects me to be.
Although I was not fat, my peers still called me giraffe and hippo. I started puberty early enough, respectively - secondary sexual characteristics began to make themselves felt earlier than others. Because of this, I experienced severe discomfort.
I compared myself to women from fashion magazines.I still remember the old Venus ad: there the girl had such even and smooth armpits, and then my hair was just beginning to grow, and I did not understand why we were different. I thought I had ugly armpits, and everyone else has beautiful ones. I rarely shave now. I'm comfortable with my hair.
My breasts are constantly criticized on the Internet. She's rather saggy, and people write that this is a nightmare and that I have ugly breasts of a forty-year-old woman giving birth
They even wrote to me to have an operation. At some point I really wanted to adjust the shape, but now I just accepted it. I will not go under the knife, if only because I am cowardly enough. I became liberated, and this is not at all about confidence in my body, but rather about openness.
“Dad said about nails:“Erase. And what next - will you put on a skirt?”. And here I am in it "
Vlad, Moscow, 53.4 thousand subscribers
I sincerely believe that a woman does not owe anything to anyone. It is her right to shave or not. In the past, because of advertisements and magazine covers, it seemed to me that a girl should not have hair, that this was some kind of rule. The men around me love smooth female bodies - just as much as their girls do.
I often get negativity in my direction. The last topic discussed was my armpits - I have never heard such a stupid claim. Both guys and girls write to me under each video: “shave”. I would have looked at them if they had said that to some oriental guy with abundant hair. Even if they write to me not negative, but something “positive”, for example: “How cool! Braid your braids! " or "Paint them green" is killing me. Why make a freak show out of this? Every person has hair, I don't understand why focus on this.
I have been going to manicure for two years now. I started making it even before it became a trend in our entire stage. Then people were surprised, on my page everyone was discussing only this. I was scared and hid my black nails. At that time, I was not yet a blogger, I was just a simple "guy from the area" who wanted to develop in this direction. Now I don't even notice that my nails are painted, and people are somehow used to it.
I have no framework, I never had one. I can wear whatever I want if I like it and fit. When I put on the skirt, I was not scared, as I did it in a good luxury area, where there is a sea of security and there are no bullish people. Passers-by just walked by and took pictures of me, nothing special, I'm no stranger to it.
On the subway, for example, I often see random camera flashes. Subscribers, people who know me, bloggers, and artists would check out this way out. And the random people who saw me in a skirt, of course, had a dissonance. And my mother was surprised that I took her skirt. In the end, she thought about it and threw respect. Dad always said about nails: “Erase. And what next - will you put on a skirt? " And here I am in it. Of course, he is against it, but the cockroaches in his head are not my problem.
I was often told that I should defend my homeland, should not paint my nails, should only wear things from the men's department and the like. Basically, these phrases define the interlocutor either as a manipulator interested in provoking him to the action he needs, or as a person with a low level of intelligence and culture.
No one can help you to become more confident, except yourself. No one can give you confidence until you want it and move from your place.
I'm not trying to specifically motivate my followers. I am that I am. They themselves see and feel something, they themselves find what they need for themselves. In that case, I'm glad to be of service.
We laughed at the teacher, whose hair was visible under nylon tights
Nastya, St. Petersburg, 5.5 thousand subscribers
Feminism and growing up influenced my acceptance of myself. I would not say that I hated myself very much at one time. I had to take only body hair, stretch marks and cellulite.
I used to discriminate against other women because of culturally imposed stereotypes. For example, at school we laughed at the teacher, whose hair on her legs was visible under nylon tights. We were shaming girls who didn't want a long relationship, got pregnant early, or took other people's guys away.
Of course, I used to compare myself with the standards of beauty. My first boyfriend was a porn addict and abuser, so I often heard comparisons with Megan Fox, Lena Sheidlina, and so on.
On the Internet, they write to me that body hair is disgusting and that I advocate "being a monkey"
For the past six months I have not shaved my body at all, and my legs have been for three or four years. I just realized that this is a stupid activity that does not bring any benefit. She began to grow her armpits during quarantine in order to paint them - for the sake of fun, but in the end I got used to and felt sorry for shaving them off. And shaving the pubis is especially awful for me: the hair grows in and itches.
She began to shave when the first hair appeared, because "it is so customary." Plus, when the guy showed up, I was ashamed to be hairy.
For the past ten years, it has been fashionable to have large, open eyes. I had a complex about this, and I wanted to do blepharoplasty. I don't need it now. I'm confident in myself. My partner's love, feedback from followers and my internal resources help me. On my blog, I try to motivate people to accept themselves. This is important because a person's body does not determine its value. I would really like the girls to stop associating themselves with the product and rely on inner feelings and achievements in life. Because we have one body, and this is our home.
Already in the fourth grade, I was worried if my belly was visible
Anya, Moscow, 51.9 thousand subscribers
For me personally, body positivity is an opportunity to reconsider the attitude towards your body and change the way it is perceived in society. Why are such unrealistic beauty standards set for women and why do I consider myself fat since the age of 11, although this is not so? Why are the sizes of clothes in many mass markets very strange, and the patterns do not in any way imply the variability of the bodies?
Bodypositive once helped me think about all this. I now believe that reflection helped me to hate myself and my body less. Bodypositive definitely helped me, but still do not forget that this is primarily a social movement, and not courses "how to love yourself." It's an endless journey. Yes, I managed to reduce the number of complexes, but during the same time new ones appeared. In general, we must remember that we are all living people and we feel differently throughout our lives.
Since childhood, all and sundry gave me unsolicited comments about my appearance, although I looked absolutely normal, I was a thin child. It is interesting that already in the fourth grade I was worried if my belly was not visible, and believed that it was necessary for it to be completely flat. I would really like our media and society as a whole to change for the better, so that today's children do not even have the thought that they are “wrong” and should go on diets from an early age.
Of course, in the past, I could be prejudiced against other girls. It seems to me that one of the classic examples of internal misogyny is our attitude towards women who have had plastic surgery to look more conventional. For some reason, there is such a delusion that since I am for body positive, I must definitely hate cosmetics and condemn everyone who enlarges their breasts. But for me the thrill is just to support all women and people in general in how they want to look.
It happened that people wrote to me: “Here is normal fullness - this is when a woman has large breasts and hips. Then it's sexy and cool. And it’s not like that with you, so you’re ugly and no one needs you”
I also often hear the phrase: “Nobody will even look at you like that, what kind of man wants to be with such a person” - as if I exist and live only in order to please someone outwardly.
There was also such that I compared myself with the standards of beauty. Anime influenced me a lot in this regard. The girls were always portrayed there with very thin legs and a wide thigh gap (the gap between the thighs), which means that I need to constantly put my legs with the wheel and strain them so that when the feet are together, the legs still do not touch each other. It sounds absurd, but at the age of 13 it was important.
Until recently, the media were literally filled with exclusively white, tall and thin models and actresses, with whom, willy-nilly, you begin to compare yourself. Now this huge colossus, at least a little, has begun to shift: there are more representations, thick models, people with different skin colors and different ages.
Often fat people (including me) write: "Wow, you are so inspiring, this is self-confidence," although perhaps I just posted a photo in a swimsuit from the sea, because I had a good time there, and did not even lay some special message. If I help someone to rethink their attitude towards themselves - I am very glad of that! But you shouldn't take any fat blogger just as an object of inspiration.
Sometimes the thought that my existence is already perceived as a political statement makes me uncomfortable. I don't have to always "please" and "inspire", otherwise it turns out to be some kind of eternal Eighth of March (in its perverted understanding).
I advise you to reconsider your social media subscriptions and unsubscribe from pages that make you feel bad or insecure. After all, many people are subscribed to some kind of public pages that motivate to lose weight or constantly broadcast a misogynistic attitude towards women and their bodies. I found that there are actually a bunch of fat women like me on Instagram, that they are alive, post pictures with friends, dress cool and have a successful career. It became much easier for me.
It was fun to joke about fat in leggings
Vlada, Kiev, 36.2 thousand subscribers
Body positivity for me is the ability to accept my body in any form, and also not to blame other people for their external data. Thanks to this movement, I got rid of the need to shave my body hair: the process itself never gave me pleasure. Rather, I did it because I was afraid of judging other people, and also because everyone did it.
A couple of times I didn’t remove the "stubble" on my legs, and then I discovered that I was already living normally. I just didn't feel the need to shave them anymore. She started shaving at about 13 years old, when her armpit hair grew. It seemed to me that they would laugh at this, so I stole a razor from my mother - I was embarrassed to ask for my own.
Unfortunately, I used to discriminate against other women. My family had a rather “fat-phobic” atmosphere, many of my relatives were naturally thin, and it was fun for them to call everyone around them fat and scary, to joke about “fat in leggings”. For a while, I adopted this pattern of behavior.
I get comments all the time about my appearance. Basically, they say that no one will love me, such a hairy "fem," and when they find out that I have two guys, they try to offend them: it means that your guys are some kind of sick, since they like you.
From men and women, the negative is equally, but from the men's comments, it still comes through with some kind of assessment and arrogance: "I would not touch someone like you, fuh." As if my cherished desire is to be fingered by some stranger
I thought about plastic surgery, but not seriously. I'm not ready to spend money and risk my health for a beautiful picture in the mirror. I used to like medium-sized and beautifully shaped breasts, I wanted the same for myself. But this is at the level of some kind of phantom fantasy.
I have no complexes in this regard, but in general I am not very confident in myself. My confidence is not based on appearance, but on the strength of my convictions.In my blog, I would like to convey to people that there are much more interesting things in the world than looks. And opportunities should not be missed only because of complexes - it is important to live and never apologize for how you look.