I have always favored aesthetic. Despite the glaring cues from our visual media and the blatant attitudes of society, proportion has remained central in the formation of my notions of beauty.
As a younger person, I endured my share of self-critique; I had not fully blossomed into my figure and any weight I gained was inadvertently assumed excessive. My pride teetered on whether or not I felt thin enough, and it was not until later, when I realized my own appearance mostly fit my proportional ideals, that I resolved to maintain and enhance it. I was content — nay, pleased — with my figure, aside from a couple of imperfections, and I promised to care for myself not only for longevity and health, but preservation of my physique.
While this sounds vain, I have never so much as assumed any other person found me attractive. I focused on my upkeep solely for my own purposes — that is, to sustain happiness as far as physicality was concerned.
Recently, it is difficult to go online without some mention of terms like ‘fat-shaming’ and ‘body positivity.’ En masse, society seems to reject these ideas because they threaten the status quo, or the rigid framework by which attractiveness is defined. If other people are deemed attractive, those who are actually attractive may lose their social leverage.
However, for someone like myself, with my own notions of aesthetic and beauty, new voices are always welcome into the conversation.
“There is no reason people should feel ashamed of their appearances,” I knew internally, even as someone who congratulated friends upon losing weight or toning their bodies. “Whatever makes them happy,” I would say to myself.
The thing is, for me, this was all true. I never took issue with considering bigger body types attractive because I would examine them with a scientific eye. Only very particular proportions seized my attention, whether on fuller forms or thinner ones. I have always viewed larger bodies as potentially smaller ones and smaller ones as potentially larger. After all, none of us is immune to fluctuations of weight.
Still, is it not exhausting to continuously hear the “conventionally unattractive” justifying their bodies? Is it necessary for people to repeatedly criticize them for “promoting obesity” when they are simply asking for respect as humans? I, for one, am awfully tired of reading articles about how fat bodies are not public domain.
But, alas! There is good news for both sides of this combative binary: we can eliminate the prevalence of these tiresome pieces — and simultaneously respect the sovereignty of others — by respecting our own minds. This very notion opposes the conventional standards our society dictates and forces us to see through our individual perspectives. Combined with an overhaul on the cruciality of physical beauty, this change prevents women and men from having to defend their lifestyles to those encroaching, aggressive voices.
By viewing others with our unique perception, we can shatter these social obstructions and thereby determine what truly appeals to each of us. If we can learn to do this without affronting others with assumptions and false concern, we will begin to see people with unfiltered minds and regard them with the humanity they so deserve.
Perhaps then, each of us will begin to understand that beauty is only a segment of the whole. Young girls will not develop eating disorders based on naturally increasing gravitational pull. Grown adults will no longer expound their dietary habits in public essays. People will hold opinions on beauty without threatening the self-esteem of others. Self-worth will not depend on a single criterium within society’s rigid constraints.
Here’s to hoping.