My Body is Not a Trend


Art by Rosie Mellor

It’s a poison. Some could even argue a curse. It seeps into everything, using the mirror, magazines and phones as its distributors. As much as we can try, running from it is pointless. We know it will always find us. It is a curated, artificial thing, beauty. But what even makes someone beautiful?

Clothes, shoes and earrings. These trivial things stitch in and out of the loop of trendiness. As women, this fact is simply a way of life. Sometimes trends die, letting others soar and prosper. However, this situation gets complicated when natural appearance becomes a factor in trendiness.

Ivy Ball sees the cracks in this logic. Ball feels as though these ideals aren’t reality, and pretending that it is creates issues.

“I think pretty is more of a personal thing.” Ball said. “[Bodycentric] trends make it feel like you’re not normal for not having [this particular look]. It makes you feel like you need to do that to be pretty or you need to fit that stereotype.”

Popping up on Instagram feeds everywhere is a new trend: buccal fat removal. Influencers document the process in which they have the fat in their cheeks surgically removed, all in hopes that they will achieve more sculpted and defined cheekbones. The new surgery has proven to be very harmful. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ website describes the procedure as an overused surgery with damaging effects. “One in five patients asking for the surgery really needs it.” The site reads. It goes on to describe permanent displacement of the jaw this surgery causes.

Even so, it is taking the internet by storm, implying this is what is now part of the “ideal body.” However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen women’s bodies turned into a trend.

For centuries, women’s bodies have been objectified to the point where they’re seen as trivial accessories. These standards can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where plump and pale girls were considered the most beautiful. A short while later, in Ancient Egypt, the goal for women was to be slender and high waisted. Later on, in Italy, it’d fall into round stomachs and full hips. In the Victorian era, this molded into being “desirably” plump, but having a tiny waist. In the 1920s, it fell across the spectrum with skinny bodies and flat chests being the desired look. In the 1960s if you weren’t slim, you might as well forget about being considered pretty. Then, the 1980s brought with it supermodels. These supermodels advertised being buff, but not so much that it ruins your thin physique.

Kate Moss, an influential supermodel of the 1990s, encouraged women to starve themselves; anything it took to be “desirable.” Before anything else came a slim, bony figure, no matter how sick it made you feel or look.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” Moss famously said. Julia Kaltwasser is one of the women models like Moss have negatively affected. “When a lot of people think of pretty, they think of models, and models [often] push this skinny agenda.” Kaltwasser said.

For a while, curvy became the new standard. Then, thigh gaps and full breasts were in, to the point where people got surgeries to increase these traits.

And now it’s out. Now, being tiny with small cheekbones is the way a woman is seen to be attractive.
These trends are quite frankly impossible to keep up with. Just when you feel as though your body fits the mold, the standard changes. This is damaging for self-esteem, because anyone who doesn’t fit into these standards feels isolated and ugly.

Our bodies aren’t trends to be glamorized and thrown away. Our bodies are our spaces to grow and live. Their job is to guard and protect us. And they’ll be where they want to be. Our appearances are designed to be based on genetics and nurturing — not fleeting trends. We live in our bodies, and we should protect them. History has proven time and again that there is no such thing as a consistent perfect body. The idea of one is constantly growing and changing, and we simply must let it be. As long as you’re taking care of your body, it’s perfect, no matter what a prying magazine or article says.