it IS just a dream…

The reality of body image in modelling, “My agents told me to stop exercising and stop eating,” -Zuzanna Buchwald. Some one might be used to this already but to me, this fact tore my dream into pieces. I always thought modelling is all about being the best version of yourself, not to be like everyone else, not to try be skinnier than another model and to lose weight just because you are told to and might lose your job if you don’t do so.

Recently, the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show aired and people have got a lot to say about it. Some of the main focuses were Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, comments like ‘they are famous for being famous’ and ‘they do not deserve the wings’ are all over the internet, at least on my Instagram ‘explore’ page. I’ve always thought that Victoria Secret is all about body positivity, but from another article I read about Zuzanna Buchwald, I was not impressed. I thought Victoria Secret might be different from the rest of the model industry, but I guess I was wrong. ‘The key to success is the ability to stay a size 0-2 (UK size 4-6) throughout your career. “Young models learn about it the hard way,” she wrote.” If an agency catches the smallest weight gain, you are measured, told to lose weight immediately and reprimanded.”’

I do not know what the model industry’s body standard is, but this is completely unacceptable, models are dying from anorexia, what on earth is the model industry turning into? People, there is nothing wrong with being ‘curvy’, and no one ever said only skinny and tall people can ‘slay’ the runway, the model industry need to stop with this whole body standard thing and be more reasonable and accept the fact that body shaming is getting more and more attention from people nowadays. Every body shape is beautiful and everyone should not feel the need to lose weight stop think that they have to look like the super models out there because they are the only ones considered ‘beautiful’. Yes, super models out there might have ‘bomb ass’ bodies, but they are just like us, no one is perfect, you might be super skinny but even if you do lose weight and get skinny, you will still be shamed, not fat shamed, but being labeled as skinny, anorexic… no one will ever be perfect for everyone, the imperfect you completely perfect.

References :

http://www.topmodeladvice.com/new-victorias-secret-angels/

http://www.dailydot.com/irl/zuzanna-buchwald-model-eating-disorder/

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15 year olds’ mindset

After getting a little more in depth with the body shaming issue teenagers in Hong Kong are going through, I thought I should do a little summary of what I found out from the mindset of 15/16 year old Hong Kong students, or some common thoughts or problems they have. Although I know body shaming mostly happen with girls, boys feel somewhat the same too, so for the following answers and responses, those are not only from girls, some of them are from a boy’s point of view too.

Here are some questions I asked :

1)Have you ever body shamed yourself? If so, what’s your experience like? If no, Have you ever body shamed anyone?

2)Do you think it’s right to body shame?

3)Why do you think people body shame? 

And the responses I received are quite similar but it really powerful and meaningful.

Teenagers body shame themselves because it made them very insecure when they are around slimmer people, some kept telling themselves they don’t have curves and they’re too skinny. They got called names like ‘pig’ ‘fei mui’(Fat Girl)… Some used to think that they wasn’t pretty enough, or they didn’t look right, but I was told that they never body shamed anyone. When they see others such as celebrities’ posts of their body on social media, they would feel bad about their body and they make themselves think that they are not enough, tell themselves that they will never be. Some were okay with other people having bad opinions about them, but to say things like that about themselves felt really horrible because it was like even they didn’t accept themselves anymore, and it felt like they had no choice but to change themselves because they had no support anymore.

Hong Kong teenagers have a rough idea of what body shaming is and what causes people to body shame. “I believe that it is not right to body shame due to the insecurities and all the negative aspects that body shaming creates.” They also all agree that it is not right to body shame yourself/anyone, “because it makes people sad and feel uncomfortable”, “you shouldn’t judge or comment on what other people look like if you don’t want them to comment on you, everyone is their own person.” “Absolutely not.  I think everyone needs to learn to be body positive, including myself, to love their body, know they are enough and know their self-worth.” “I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s acceptable to have opinions about how others look, but if you think they might be hurtful/have any negative effect on someone then you should definitely keep them to yourself because you never know how other people feel about themselves and what effect your words could have on them. ” However, someone did say to me that they think it is okay as long as it is a joke and not offensive.

People body shame because they are insecure about themselves due to the impacts from societal pressure for the ideal body.

People body shame because they’re insecure about their own body and they want to insult someone to make themselves feel better.

People body shame because they think its funny and they are childish.

People body shame because they feel good when they body shame others to make others feel bad.

People body shame because they might be jealous or insecure about themselves.

People body shame because they are insecure, they feel like they need to bring others down so that they could feel better about themselves.

People body shame because they are so used to seeing a certain type of body in the media and that embeds into their brains that that is the ideal or perfect body type, and any other body is unacceptable or unattractive. Therefore, when they see something that does not fit the standards, they say negative things because it is not what society sees as ‘perfect’ and they think it is their place to tell others what is wrong with them. Another reason why they might body shame is that they may be insecure about their own bodies, and finding faults in other peoples’ bodies makes them feel better because they are not the only ones who are not ‘perfect’.

Last but not least, what they would say to a body shaming victim…

“Be yourself, you are beautiful just the way you are and yr body is just a cover, it’s not important. Beauty is from your inside”

“Ignore their comment, be yourself, You are beautiful”

“you don’t hate yourself to be yourself and you are already loveable person”

“You are who you are why care so much about how others think? You should be proud of who you are, and its nothing to be ashamed of.”

“not to listen to what others say about them, because others do not have the right to tell you how you should and shouldn’t look like, and the only person who should be able to determine how you feel about yourself is you”

“You still look good, but that’s not the most important thing ever, it’s more about who you are as a person.”

You might be body shaming someone as a joke, but to them, it will never be a joke. If 15 years olds understand it, you should too. 

Everyone Is Equal

Often people has a lot to say about themselves not being and looking good enough, but in reality, celebrities that in someones’ eye prefect, gets shamed too, and from this, we can actually tell that no one will ever be ‘perfect’ because beauty standard is set by yourself. However, they are somewhat stronger and braver than us, and they would actually take body shaming on step further, shutting shamers down,

Jennifer Lawrence refusing to go on a diet,

Kim Kardashian saying she will never meet ‘our’ skinny standards,

Tyra Banks got fat shamed and responded by saying ‘Kiss My Fat Ass!’

Selena Gomez responding body shaming comments with a bikini picture captioning it “I love being happy with me y’all.”

Last but not least, Demi Lovato gets shamed for being curvy, but she does not care, in fact, she LOVES her body and is all about body positivity, and to be honest, this is what EVERYONE should be doing. Demi loves her body like no one else does, and it is really inspiring to see someone like that and she is definitely a role model, at least to me. I know in reality we will never be able to achieve the ‘body goals’ because it is not even real, you might see thousands of posts of models looking skinny and beautiful, but will you be able to find more than half of the photos that was not photoshopped?

Celebrities are human too, they have feelings, you do not want to be body shamed, then why shame them? They are celebrities, it doesn’t mean they can’t eat, it doesn’t mean they can’t be curvy, they can be anything and still be successful, just like any of us, we don’t need to look like them to be just as successful as them.

Why do we body shame?

Every single body shaming story is different, but for sure you will definitely hear something about them the society body standard, so what exactly causes body shaming? 

After doing some research on the most common reason on why people body shame, I found that most the internet is one of the biggest issue, but why is that? That is because nowadays, the internet contains a lot of fake advertising and it is made so surreal that everyone fantasise to be like them or expects someone else to be like them. For example, there are all sorts of different model agencies nowadays that would only hire ’skinny’ models, this has a huge impact on all the girls that used to love their body. Beauty magazines contain mostly adverts and it is really disturbing for women because it is based on the same principle : telling women that they are not beautiful enough, there is something wrong with them, they are not smart enough, they are not skinny enough… In fact, 85% of an issue from ELLE magazine was made of adverts, and Cosmopolitan with 65%, these two are some of the most popular magazines that women would read. “85% of magazines content is dedicated to make you feel imperfect and inadequate. 70% of women feel guilty, ashamed and depressed after only 3 minutes of reading a fashion magazine.” – OskarTBrand. 

Hence, the internet is constantly making up new ‘body challenges’ that leads people to body shame, for example the thigh gap, the A4 paper challenge, the iPhone 6 challenge, bikini bridge challenge, the belly button challenge, the collar bone challenge… Let’s be real here, how many of these have YOU tried? The problem is, we get influenced by he internet so easily that gradually the internet is being everyone’s level of self-esteem down, and this needs to be stopped. 

Besides the internet, cultural/religion might also be one of the factors we do not often consider of, but growing up in a Chinese household, it has always been an issue. Chinese believe that skinny = beautiful, which is unacceptable because your body does not speak anything about what kind of a person you are. In fact, the A4 paper challenge was made up from China, and this doesn’t make any sense because this is basically a way of telling everyone else who couldn’t complete the challenge to be body shamed or feel bad about their own body. 

Nowadays not only adults can have access to the internet, us teenagers too. None of us started off wanting to look a certain way, but since we’ve seen these unreal body shapes, we try whatever we can to look like that, and this, is exactly what is pressuring us. 

Tipsssssss

Before you say anything, no, I am not here to convince you to lose weight and I am strongly against losing weight only because you feel like you need to look like super models to feel body, and I am all about body positivity, but just incase you feel the need to actually detox a bit and clear up your body or maybe even just to feel happier, healthier, here are some great recipes I think actually works and are amazing and does not require you to literally eat salads for days and weeks (xD).

Detox drinks

Cucumber and Lemon

cucumber lemon water的圖片搜尋結果

The effects of cucumber and lemon on weight loss were tested and proven by experts, drink it two times a day to boost your metabolism.

I personally love citrus drinks and I love cucumbers so this is perfect to be, it is also a great way to spice up boring plain water.

Strawberries, watermelon, mint

strawberry watermelon mint的圖片搜尋結果

This might sound like a really weird mixture, but trust me it doesn’t taste bad at all. I personally love both watermelon and strawberries, Watermelon provides potassium and magnesium, which are important for detoxification and managing blood flow and hydration levels in the body ; strawberries contain anti-aging flavonoids that may lower the risk for chronic diseases.

From my own experience, I feel like going vegetarian is a great way to just cleanse up your body a bit, I was a vegetarian from about two months, and I felt extremely cleansed, I can clearly see myself getting a little skinnier, less bloated, but of course, if you do decide to cut out meat off your diet, make sure you remain a healthy diet and make sure you take in enough protein because taking in enough nutrient is also important to keeping fit. At the end of the day, to me, staying happy and positive is the key to body positivity you really do not have to do anything to your body because you are beautiful just the way you are 🙂

Lesson Learnt

Every girl has her own dream, and my dream was to be fit, be beautiful, be called ‘body goals’… but I sometimes ask myself, why do I feel this way, why do I even care? Am I not proud of my own body? I know I should be proud of my body and should not set a body standard on my mind, but I just can’t help it. 

Every time when I scroll down my Instagram feed, I feel ashamed as I see celebrities and models posting pictures of them in bikini. I was always afraid of people judging me, calling me names, talking about my flaws, but every since body shaming became a global issue, and people started to raise awareness, I started to feel empowered, I no longer feel the need to keep fit, to go on a diet, or to ever think about photoshopping myself so I’d look ‘thin’.  I stopped trying to be “perfect”,because no one will ever be perfect for everyone.

To be honest, I wouldn’t say I am the most confident about my own body, and in fact, I am probably one of the most self-conscious one among my friends, no matter how many times they tell me, ‘you’re not fat!’ ‘you don’t look bad’, I still think that I do. I never take people’s positive comments for granted, but I will definitely take negative comments really seriously, it might be a joke, telling me they can see my double chin, my tummy feels like a cushion… one negative comment, just one can change a lot about a person. Nowadays, we see a lot of posts on Facebook saying how 11 year olds nowadays put on makeup and being all grownup and stuff, and in fact, this IS what is happening to the world right now, and us as 15/16 year olds, feel ‘even older’. People around me started wearing makeup to school, wearing really revealing clothes,15303907_391189541222317_1311297382_o.jpg modelling, photoshoots… doing really grown up things in general, I feel the need to do it too, but then I realise, I am not as fit as them, I am not as proud of my body as them, what else can I do to fit in? And I think I finally found my answer ; I do not need to fit in to feel happy, I am happy just
the way I am right now, I love what I was born with, I love my skin tone, I love my body, I love me.

About Me…

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I am a 15-year-old girl from Hong Kong who started a blog for my personal project at school. I chose body shaming to be my blog’s main topic because I feel like teenagers nowadays are way too affected by what other’s got to say about them. My targeted readers are mainly people like me, teenagers, girls that are having trouble with self-love, but of course, everybody should feel free to read! I wanted to write to be able to inspire teens to love themselves as well as respect how others look and love them for who they are and to let them understand that true beauty comes from the inside. Dear readers, I hope all of you guys feel empowered after reading my posts and remember, YOU, are beautiful ❤ *Press on ‘Body Shaming’ to read all my blogposts!*

Instagram : @debbylaux

Email : s019109@css.edu.hk

Dear Instagram,

Body Positivity has come a looooong way, to get to the point where everyone started to notice that body shaming is a huge issue that is bothering a lot of people that is not proud of their own body because of society’s body/beauty standards. Instagram has always been one of my most used apps and it allows me to feel globalised and know what’s happening all around the world. Instagram has a set of community guidelines to keep the platform safe and free of graphic, hateful, or pornographic content. “We don’t allow nudity on Instagram.” If you feel that the guidelines are being violated, you have the ability to report the photo. – runway riot , but recently, people are misusing this function. @mzznaki on instagram is one of a great example of people on the internet body shaming strangers they do not know. She posted this really cute photo of her and her fScreen Shot 2016-11-25 at 11.43.40 am.pngiancé announcing their marriage on Instagram, instead of receiving congratulations, she received lots and lots of hate comments. Comments like “RIP that man’s spine,” and, “undoubtedly the guy is struggling (look at his face),” are all over this photo, and this shows what the disgusting part about the social media is all about. She didn’t do anything to deserve this and she is happy and proud of her own body, so why are people here to spread the negativity around when this is supposed to be a joyful and memorable thing? She, is grateful for what she have and what she is right now and this is exactly what the social media or young women in general need more of.

A ‘Fat Body Positive Warrior’ posted a photo of her body captioning it

Screen-Shot-2016-09-01-at-12.06.05-PM.png

‘Women’s bodies can be naked for profit sure, naked for men’s eyes sure, naked & posted by themselves – DISGUSTING. Sexualised by men sure, taunted by society fine, fallen in love with by the soul within – ABSURD. Women who understand my need to control my own sharing & promoting of body image get it.They understand to create change we need to see diversity, diversity in bodies and people.Nakedness is nothing to be ashamed of but we women are told automatically that is our goal in life.

To turn men on Even if we don’t mean it Even if it is not sexual Even if we did not consent

The simple act of empowering ourselves is twisted – because we are always to blame, men always are “just being boys”’

has been body shamed like crazy, and the comments are totally unacceptable. Screen-Shot-2016-09-01-at-12.09.20-PM-768x736.png

Who are they to judge anyone, everyone is born different and it is okay to not be the ‘typical’, there is nothing wrong with loving your own body no matter what. To all the people who body shames someone else, YOUR comment to them might mean a lot, yes there might be tons and countless amount of positive comments, but your ONE negative comment is enough for that person to feel hurt, self conscious and lower their self esteem that they tried to build up maybe for years… Next time before you comment on someone else’s photo, think about how YOU would feel if someone said that to you.