The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.
Hubert de Givenchy
Modern society’s ideal physical features tarnishes how people view themselves today, which is why it’s essential for people to learn to embrace their natural features.Society also needs to learn to encourage people to enhance their natural beauty instead of focussing on weight loss to conform to an unrealistic ideal.
“Mass media provides a significantly influential context for people to learn about body ideals” (NEDA). Advertising agencies create a nearly impossible ideal appearance that society constantly perpetuates. Because of this distortion, many struggle with low self esteem. People who have low self esteem “often interpret non critical comments as critical,” which further extends a negative cycle of harsh self criticism (McLeod).
To counteract the media’s superficial standards of beauty, model Tess Holliday started an internet campaign titled #effyourbeautystandards. Holliday is “the first woman over a size 20 to be signed to a major modelling agency” (Telegraph). She encourages her followers to reject traditional beauty standards and embrace and enhance their natural beauty. She shows “women…they don’t have to hide in their home wearing a tunic” and “shows that we are all different and that’s OK.’” (Telegraph).
When working towards a higher self esteem, it’s important to “develop a critical eye through which to decode and filter media messages” (Garey). Embracing natural beauty is much easier for people once they understand the image the media produces isn’t the ultimate ideal.
Fashion is an excellent tool for those who want to enhance their features and “express themselves in a better and stronger way” (Life Beauty Place). Clothing can highlight different features through optical illusions, shaping, and colour selections. Experimenting with various styles and discovering what’s flattering is another useful method to find what makes people feel comfortable and confident.
“Our bodies are often the biggest target of our critical inner voice,” so “challenging the ‘voice’ is key to accepting our bodies” (Firestone). People who embrace their features instead of condemning them build their self confidence, which “sets them up for success” (Kids Health). People who have a positive self identity also “try new challenges, cope with mistakes, and try again,” which leads to a strong and resilient character (Kids Health).
“Building self esteem in children is an ongoing process and starts early,” so children should be taught to embrace their natural features early in their lives (Family Lives UK). Parents who wish to build their child’s self image should “model body acceptance” and and “direct [their] praise away from appearance” (Garey).
Embracing and enhancing natural beauty can be a long, difficult process. However, progress within the challenging process significantly improves self confidence. Once self confidence is achieved, inner beauty will enhance the natural beauty on the outside.