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Breaking the Hourglass Myth

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at a youth conference at RIT in Rochester, NY. During one session of the conference, I spoke about body image. During the session, I asked a simple question: "What is the ideal body shape for women?" Without hesitation, every woman in the room, ranging in age from 13 to mid-20s, responded in unison, "Hourglass." While this response didn't surprise me, what followed was profound.

Turning to the male coordinator managing my slides, I asked if he knew the ideal body shape for men. His response was a simple "no." (It’s the trapezoid, for those who care to know.) When I further inquired what a room full of young men would say if posed the same question, he believed they probably wouldn't know and wouldn't care. After the session, he said he was both surprised and saddened by how many women knew this, highlighting the stark difference in how men and women perceive and are affected by societal beauty standards.

This interaction shed light on a harsh reality: unlike women, men seem to have the luxury of not caring about conforming to these standards. And what makes the difference? They don’t care about and don’t play by “the rules.”

The only reason women are plagued by body image stress is because we care about what the industry think about how we should look.

In my opinion, it's time for women to stop playing nice.

It’s time we start challenging these norms.

We need to be rule breakers and rabble-rousers by owning our confidence and our right to love and appreciate our bodies, exactly as they are.

It's about time to redefine beauty on our terms.

By rejecting unrealistic beauty standards, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and loving society. Together, we can rewrite the rules and create a world where everybody is celebrated, cherished, and respected.

So, to all the women out there, let's show the world that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

We’re worth it. . . .

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