If you’re someone who looks in the mirror every day and concentrates only on any minor flaw, you’re not alone. For many people, struggling with body image issues is a continuous battle.
“How hostile is the world to unattractive girls?” became a popular hashtag on Sina Weibo in March.
The hashtag resonated with many girls who shared their personal experiences. One internet user talked about how her friends would often cut her image out of group pictures because they thought she was too fat. What became clear was that this feeling of insecurity and alienation was all too common.
“My nose is not high enough, my chin is short and flat, and my eyes are small,” Tang Yuqi, a college student, told China Youth Daily. She doesn’t even answer the door without putting on makeup first. “I just can’t accept myself if I’m not wearing it,” Tang added.
“我的鼻子不够高，下巴又短又平，眼睛也是小小的”，大学生唐钰琪接受《中国青年报》采访时表示。她甚至要化了妆才能开门见人。 “没有办法接受素颜的自己。” 唐钰琪补充道。
What promotes this anxiety among young people?
As the country’s economy has developed rapidly, people are more susceptible to what others think of them, noted CGTN.
Greater time spent online also means greater exposure to advertisements promoting “paper-thin waists” or “chopstick legs”. Such unrealistic ideals only further young people’s anxiety and lead to an unhealthy mindset of perfectionism.
Tang Xuemeng, 30, often feels pressure to live up to an impossible standard. “I live with that struggle every day. When I was a teenager, I was always doubting whether my face was too big, whether my nose was too wide. And now, I’m afraid of getting old,” Tang told CGTN.
The anxiety over appearance and shape has pushed some people into physical and mental illness. According to Beat, the UK’s leading eating disorder charity, the idealization of thinness is a key factor in worsening the illness and preventing recovery. Some people even go through surgery just to achieve what they believe society considers “beautiful”.
But beauty doesn’t come from a makeup brush or a thinner waist. Growing taller and having perfect skin isn’t the solution to insecurity. The fact that every person is different is something to be celebrated.
A line from an episode of China’s first female monologue drama called Hear Her Says it perfectly: “I am not perfect. Perfection is mundane. I am perfect when I fully realize myself.”
(Translator & Editor: Su Ziyang(Intern) AND Ma Zheng)