Self-hate does not equal beauty

Staff writer Lyn Jarrell speaks out against society’s glamorization of eating disorders


Jahlea Douglas

Freshman Lyn Jarrell is a first year staff writer on the Elkhart Memorial GENESIS staff. She specializes in opinion columns.

Lyn Jarrell, Staff writer

What makes a person beautiful? Is it their money? Their appearance? Their personality?

What exactly defines “beauty”? Who has the final say on it’s definition?

Social media stars blast photos of luxury vehicles and flash their designer clothing. They show off everything they have.

Beauty magazines promote people of skinnier sizes. They caption some of their covers with things like, “How to get healthy in only a few days” or “How I went from XXL to S in only a short amount of time” while projecting the image of their perfectly toned model for that month’s issue.

They add many articles about how to be “beautiful” and how to attract men or women. Beauty standards demand a thigh gap, big breasts, toned abs, tan skin, among other physical characteristics in order to be considered “beautiful.”

We see the models on t.v., online, in stores, everywhere, and we can’t help but compare ourselves to them. Do I have white enough teeth? Am I thin enough? Am I pretty enough? Our perception of what makes a person beautiful has warped into the perception that we must look, act or sound a certain way.

Insecurities appear, and we no longer feel good about ourselves. We begin to feel unworthy of love, of friends, of anything. ‘If I can’t be beautiful, no one will love me,’ is what we tell ourselves.

We feel obligated to diet, to buy the top beauty products, believing that spending $100 on make-up will somehow leave us waking up beautiful.

Eating disorders seem to be the new trend, and self-hatred is the new norm. ‘If you don’t hate yourself, then you must be really conceited’ is what they tell us.

Being admitted into hospitals because you haven’t ate in a while, has become a desired outcome. Being told that you can only be considered “sick” with an eating disorder is if you developed an eating disorder while being thin to begin with.

But if you develop an eating disorder and weren’t thin to begin with, you become a ‘success story’. In some sort of sick and twisted way, eating disorders are praised these days.

Our society deems eating disorders as “interesting.” That it isn’t something that needs to be fixed, but it is something that should be promoted and encouraged.

Because there is definitely nothing “better” to do than fainting and throwing up. People who do suffer from eating disorders, and are choosing to get help, are now being discouraged.

This way of thinking is leading girls to believe that spending hours in the bathroom, staring at themselves in the mirror, pointing out their own flaws, hunching over the toilet bowl, spewing out last night’s dinner, and crying over the scale, is something to be proud of.

Destroying ourselves from the inside out is what is deemed, beautiful. Until you get that thigh gap or lose excessive weight, you must continue hating yourself.

That is what our society tells us. Because no one wants to fall alone, they decide to bring us all down with them. Breaking down each one of us, one by one we fall. It’s a cycle.

But, we shouldn’t have to hate ourselves to be considered beautiful. We shouldn’t have to compare ourselves to every good looking person we see.

We shouldn’t have to apologize for who we are, or for what we weigh.

The number on the scale does not define us. We are more than just a number.

We are worthy of love, and friends, and family.

We are interesting in our own ways. Why do we feel the need to break people down all the time? To discourage them, or to tear their self-confidence down to the lowest point they have?

Why can’t we all be considered beautiful? We are beautiful. We are enough. We should love everyone, not just those you deem “beautiful.”

We should be able to look into the mirror, and say to ourselves, ‘I am beautiful.’ and actually believe it.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Lyn Jarrell at [email protected].