“Body Image is yesterday’s news”

Susuana Abena

…said no mainstream women’s glossy magazine ever.

As a media student, analyzing and criticizing images is something I do naturally; it’s quite hard to opt-out a lot of the time actually. As soon as I got my head around Photoshop, I began to get very bored of cover girls and their immaculate skin and idealised body shapes. I mean, why would I waste time trying to relate to something that wasn't real?

However, for many others, it’s not that easy to look at images in this way. People generally use representations in the media to define their lives, and when ideas of beauty derive from distorted representations, no wonder we’re going around in destructive circles as a society.

Alongside Photoshoped body worshiping, the Beauty Industry appears to also thrive on body shaming. The idea that you are just not good enough, that you would be perfect if you just invested your time and money in this product or method. The ideal body is a social construct which capitalism thrives on, even when they are trying to promote "real body" campaigns. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are good campaigns, especially the ones that show people of all shapes and sizes. However, there are those campaigns that only have the message: “Real women have curves!” So that makes everyone else what exactly? Unhealthy? Unnatural?

Then, on the other hand, there are people that indulge in products and take a lot of time on their appearance to make themselves happy, and they also are shamed by others. The media loves directing people. I personally find it liberating turning abound and mentally shouting back:

“Don’t tell me what to do!”

It always seemed to me that many people can’t manage to feel good about themselves without putting someone else down. They don’t appear to realise that this actually feeds this culture, whenever they make a public portrayal of disgust at another persons body, whatever size they are.

Wouldn’t it be great if people could just eat how much they wanted and wear whatever they liked with out judgment?

…said no mainstream women’s glossy magazine ever.

Susuana Abena is President of Royal Holloway Feminism Society and editor of their new publication, The Wilding


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