Body standards and weight stigmas: harmful and useless

In the society we live in today, body image issues are common in the United States and are especially prominent in young adults, according to a study by the National Library of Medicine. We are constantly bombarded with ads showing people with unrealistic body types. Every time this happens, the underlying message is we are not good enough. 

Society teaches people to hate their bodies and then the fitness and dieting industries conveniently offer “solutions” to make a profit with little concern for the mental and physical health of the individuals they are marketing to. According to the Iowa State Daily, instead of the original intent of dieting and exercise, this can often lead to people developing a very negative relationship with food and exercise. This is a horrible thing for our society to adapt because eating and exercise are basic human functions and nobody should have to feel ashamed because of them.

DANGEROUS BEAUTY STANDARDS: society should stop enforcing unrealistic body ideals because they negatively impact relationships with food and exercise.
(Photo courtesy of heathline)

By playing to these insecurities, the fitness and dieting industries have been thriving off of growing weight stigma, according to The Washington Post. Companies in these two industries make massive profits because people are pressured to work towards a more socially acceptable version of themselves.

The “perfect body type” is an ideal that is constantly changing, according to NBC News. The fact that these standards change so often points to how subjective they are, which makes it easy to invalidate once you realize how little weight it actually carries.

Companies justify weight loss programs by claiming these standards address concerns about health according to The New York Times. However, by ignoring the connection between weight programs and beauty standards of body size, the negative impacts on people’s physical and mental health are also ignored.

Self-love needs to come first to allow space for a healthy mindset toward food and exercise. This is why lately, companies like Curves, a women’s health and fitness club that is more welcoming to women of different sizes have been growing rapidly as they place more emphasis on improving fitness than losing weight, according to The New York Times.

Beauty standards are entirely fabricated by society and in order to combat them, we need to stop exploiting the insecurity originally woven in. We should also start embracing body positivity and the fitness companies that support it.