I think most people would agree with me that, these days, the pressure to look a certain way can be insufferable at times. Men need to be ripped bearded Anodises and women fall into one of two categories: the Victoria’s Secret model or the Kardashian.
Not only do women’s bodies need to be both toned and curve in all the right places but we need to have flawless skin, long flowing hair (lots of it), long dark eyelashes and the perfect pout and eyebrows.
Now thanks to the miracles of cosmetics and the wide spread fitness craze that has swept the country in the past few years, this is not entirely unattainable, but it does take a lot of time and effort.
If it is important to you, you will make it a priority…but what happens if we are not able to put in this time and effort? Or if life gets in the way? Should we be cast out of society as an undesirable never to be seen in public and only to be photographed with numerous filters on our photos to hide the flaws that do not fit in with today’s crazy ideals of beauty?
Ok I am exaggerating, but the point I am trying to make is that if we do not fit in with today’s photo-shopped ideals of perfection, we can be left feeling inadequate and bad about ourselves, which is, when you really think about it, ridiculous!
Recently, i know, that this pressure has increased for me. I am currently out in China on a dance contract for 5 months. I ended up doing some work with a group of Russian and Ukrainian dancers/models and, since I have been working with them, I have been getting constant stick about my body.
Like most other females, my weight fluctuates: I have days where I feel fatter and days where I feel skinnier but I eat healthy, exercise frequently and allow myself treats too.
My body is by no means perfect, I have parts that could be more toned or smaller and there are things that I am working on, but for the most part I am happy with my body. I’m a size 8 and I try to stay in good shape but unfortunately that shape is bigger than the girls I have been working with.
Even if I lost every once of fat on my body, I would still probably be bigger than most of them; they just have smaller frames than I do.
I kept being told I had to “tighten my meat” but to get a body like theirs it would take drastic measures. I have a completely different body type/shape from them and to change this isn’t something that can happen over night, but the people in charge just didn’t seem to understand this.
It did start to really get to me as I was doing everything I could and my body was changing slightly but I was finding myself constantly scrutinizing my body.
One of the defining moments for me happened as we were walking towards the stage, minutes before we were about to perform a show in Beijing in front of hundreds of people. One of the agents walking behind me, poked the back fat/skin I had hanging over a costume that was about 3 sizes too small (Russian model size) and said “You don’t go to the gym?”.
Now I had 3 choices: I was either going to burst into tears, turn around and lamp her in the face or just keep walking. It would probably make for a more interesting story if I had turned around and punched her but I didn’t, I just kept walking.
It was bad enough having to perform in a costume that was uncomfortable and unflattering in front of all of those people but to be prodded and have my “flaws” highlighted in front of everyone was more than I could take at that point. The only reason I didn’t start sobbing was because I was angry, I couldn’t believe they were making me feel like this.
At that point, in the 6 weeks I had been in China I had had 1 day off. The other days consisted of going to the gym, rehearsals and 2 performances each night. I most definitely did not need to go to the gym any more than I was and at that point I decided that was enough.
I wasn’t going to let it bother me any more or fixate on the parts of my body that were not “perfect”. Ok I don’t look how they want me to and there were parts of my body I would like to change but that doesn’t affect my ability to do the job I was being paid to do, so I went on and danced my “larger”, imperfect ass off, not to prove a point to them but to prove a point to myself and remember why I was there, doing what I was doing,
I have so much more to offer than just a “perfect” body. It may sound cheesy but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone’s idea of what looks good is different so it is really only what you think of yourself that matters. If there are things you want to change then work to change them but don’t give yourself a hard time in the mean time.
Working in this industry, I’ve met so many girls with amazing bodies that would still change something about themselves, or have parts that they are not happy with. They end up wasting so much of their time and energy stressing or feeling bad about these “flaws”.
If you are always focusing on the parts of you that you don’t like, those are the parts you are always going to see. Instead why not see yourself as a whole and focus on the parts of yourself that you do like. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Who cares if you don’t have Kim Kardashian’s ass, Cara Delevine’s eyebrows or Miranda Kerr’s abs, I assure you, you have something to offer. Why not focus on your strengths and embrace your weaknesses; or rather what you deem to be weaknesses. Our “flaws” make us who we are too.
So the next time you are surrounded by Russian models, or feeling the pressure of trying to attain “perfection” remember these 5 things:
1. There is so much more to who you are than just how you look, see yourself as a whole.
2. There is no such thing as perfection, everyone is human and has strengths and weaknesses, admirable traits and flaws, don’t beat yourself up over your “weaknesses”, we all have them.
3. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I assure you there are people out there who would see what you deem to be a flaw as beautiful.
4. If there is something you really want to change, that is making you unhappy, then work to change it. There are loads of useful, healthy ways to change your body or mind set or skill set and loads of people who can help you get to where you want to be, so do something about it. (Keep your eyes peeled for my next articles for some useful tips on motivation and goal setting)
5. Most importantly, YOU HAVE PLENTY TO OFFER and YOU HAVE STRENGTHS! If you are feeling like crap about yourself list them. Focus on the parts you do like instead of the parts you don’t.
This is the only body you have so be proud of it and look after it. Me and my perfectly “imperfect” body will continue to wow audiences in China regardless of anyone else’s views on it..
All the best