Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

It’s time to commit to a loving relationship with yourself

Maria Green discusses the importance of body positivity in women

Many young people in this country will have struggled with body image at least once during their lives. A study conducted two decades ago highlights the effects of the media on our perceived self-worth: until mid-1995, the Nadroga province of Fiji had not been exposed to Western television, and there was a distinct lack of body image issues. Three years after Western television was introduced, eating disorders emerged and many girls expressed an interest in weight loss to look more like the American TV characters. This information is nothing new, yet we still put ourselves down about our figures. We know we feel bad about ourselves because we look different from those worshipped in the media, yet often, we do nothing about it.

We live in a society which thrives off of the insecurity of women to sell beauty products, and it has shaped us without us realising, leading many cultures to internalise misogynistic and Westernised beauty ideals. It can seem impossible to break free from the expectations which seem to hold us down. From the ‘stick thin’ trend of the past, with popular culture fraught with remarks of ‘does my butt look big in this?’, to modern day, with nothing more desirable than a big bum, there will always be something ‘wrong’ with our bodies. We’re told that women should be curvy, but only in the right places, and only if they have small waists. To top it all off, Vogue has recently announced that cleavage is ‘over’ – that’s right folks, it’s time for breast reductions and covering up the twins as they are no longer in fashion.

Body negativity is alive and well within our society and the way to fight it is with radical self-love. As many women have said before me, it’s time to ignore these attitudes. Our bodies are functional; they do not exist to be rated out of ten by the likes of Donald Trump.

With the rise of body positivity on social media, views are changing for the better, but we all need a reminder every now and again. It’s time to stop being complacent. It’s time to commit to a loving relationship with ourselves, and this means real commitment: getting through the bad days and working towards the good ones. We are all capable of self-love and we are so much more than just our bodies.