I’m sitting in class on the first day of a new semester, filled with an equal mixture of nerves and excitement to be back on campus. As I open my notebook, I hear a group of female students talking behind me. As another student is looking to find a seat, these girls begin to criticize what she is wearing. Their comments involved judging her for making such fashion choices because of her body type. I thought to myself, why would they say something so hurtful about a fellow female student?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fashion is defined as: “a popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people.” I am not a fan of this definition, because it suggests dressing according to what is popular at the time or to impress a particular group of people. We should redefine fashion, in order to come up with a definition that involves dressing in a way that makes one feel confident about their body and overall appearance.
In this digital age, it is common for young women to compare ourselves to others, especially based on what we see on social media. Being consistently bombarded with images of physical traits, clothes and people that one might perceive to be desirable, women might feel pressured to change their bodies, as well as their fashion choices, in order to “keep up.” In such a climate that practically puts women in competition with each other, it can be difficult to feel confident about one’s appearance.
This is not just an issue that everyday women face. A prime example happened this week: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram of herself and her sister Kourtney attending the Emmy Awards a few years ago. In the caption, Kim seemed to be criticizing her current body by mentioning that this photo was taken when she was “about 15 to 20 pounds thinner.”
In a time where competition and unrealistic expectations of physical appearance are common, how can we expect women to have healthy relationships and friendships?
This constant pressure of having to conform and look a certain way often leads to unhealthy self image, which can slowly develop into graver issues and afflictions, such as eating disorders. I encourage readers to simply try to be healthy and happy. As long as you focus on yourself and are content with your appearance, who cares?
And to the ladies who began this whole topic: be nice, think twice before you speak.