The saying goes that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The saying, however, is wrong. For beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the eye of the society. And let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, society can be a real bitch.
Whether you believe in some higher power or the “Planet of the Apes,” undoubtedly, the appearance of humans throughout the evolution of man has significantly changed. And just as our natural, God (or whatever) given looks have altered since the first campfire, the very essence of what is and what is not beautiful have morphed as well. While the human race did not — until recent history — have the capability to alter such things as breasts, noses, or chins, society did have the wherewithal to decide what was attractive — even if it was a look impossible for most to achieve.
In some cultures, it was piercings. In others, tattoos. During Louis XVI’s reign, it was pale skin and robust waists. In 19th century China, it was bound feet. In Revolutionary America it was ivory teeth and across the pond at the very same time, it was powdered, white wigs. Times changed, fashions changes, and trends changed. But society, you see, society was always one step ahead like a lingering Ghosts of Christmas future — ready to create the next unattainable look.
For some time now in Western cultures, that look — the one so unattainable to many — has been that of a very slim woman. While reports and store sales state that the average size of a U.S. woman is that of a fourteen, the cover of magazines and move posters still dictate that our young women should ignore the norm and, instead, strive for a size zero or two, something that might be physically impossible for their body type. Though society has come a long way in recent years in an attempt to prevent the rapid increase of teen suicides due to online bullying — oftentimes stemming from the appearance of the victim — the cover photos and runways are still ever present. For every “It Gets Better” Dove campaign, there are a million other photos stating that these “normal” girls” are not, in fact, good enough — and no, it really doesn’t get better. Which is why it is so humbling, so inspiring, to see that in the face of adversity, there are females who have the ability to stand up and fight the power, so to speak — to say that all sizes are beautiful, all races are beautiful, all people are beautiful. This inspiration, however, turns to anger when we hear that such young women are not only not applauded for their efforts, but are emotionally and publicly shamed for having the “audacity” to stand up for what is right.
Tired of feeling ashamed for her appearance, Samm Newman, a nineteen-year-old student at Central Ohio University began posting photos of herself on her own Instagram page. The photos were nothing of scandal, rather, they were a celebration of a young woman finally coming to terms with — and loving — her own body. Doing what countless (read: millions) of other girls do, Samm posted some photos of herself in a bra and boy shorts, with captions and hashtags centered around body acceptance. What Samm did not account for, however, was that though she was accepting of her body — Instagram was not. In fact, they found the photos so unacceptable that they deleted Miss Newman’s entire account — flagging it for inappropriate content.
Check out Samm’s photos compared to Instagram accounts that have not been deleted. We think you’ll notice a trend.
Newman was obviously incredibly upset and “devastated” when her account was deleted. After much public outcry, the social media picture sharing site restored her account, though it’s a little too late. What’s done is done. Instagram needs to get it together. This is becoming all too common.