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TikTok VS Body Positivity

I woke up a few days ago and began to recall the days when I would constantly think about what I was going to eat, how many calories were in my meals, and how I looked compared to other people. More often than not, body dysmorphia will play a large role in peoples’ perception of themselves and how they feel.

 If you are unfamiliar with body dysmorphia, it is a mental disorder in which one becomes obsessed over parts of their body that they perceive as flaws. Usually, these flaws are imagined or thought of as unflattering even though others may not see what you are so insecure about. You probably know someone who looks stunning, but will point out small details in their appearance, which they find unattractive. This mental illness usually consists of one who constantly checks their appearance, compares themselves with others, avoids social situations, and constantly needs reassurance from others about their appearance. As I can say that many people are affected by this, I think it can be tied back to our incredibly unrealistic beauty standards as a society. 

This past year, I have struggled with the realization that females on social media being praised for their bodies does not mean that people who don’t look like them are unattractive. One app specifically, TikTok, isthe largest platform that has started to facilitate unneeded advice on weight loss tips and “thinspiration” for young girls everywhere to see. Not only is this so damaging to young females and add to the idea that they are not “beautiful,” but it shows just how our society is controlled by social media and the lies told there. 

Why am I telling you any of this? Well, this past year I was told by TikTok that hip dips, a wide ribcage, and a soft jawline is ugly. I was told that I needed to look ready for the summer by cutting down on carbs and starting the keto diet. Do you see the problem? Back in the 80’s, hip dips used to make a woman look athletic and sporty, while now people say they make females look “boxy.” I never knew that having a wide ribcage was “bad” and I am still very concerned about how people can even see that as unappealing to the eye considering it is bone structure! Also, frowning down upon soft jawlines  is another deranged idea that women need to have sharp jawlines instead of softer features. Where do people get these ideas? From the influencers who meet every social beauty standard and seem to have everything in place. 

While TikTok is very toxic, there are some creators on the app who definitely try to spread body positivity and show their journeys through eating disorder recovery as well! One of my favorite influencers on TikTok is Brittani Lancaster, who got famous from her “What I eat in a day in recovery from an eating disorder” videos. Every day, Brittani films each meal as a way to showcase the progress she has made in the past few years. As Brittani struggled with anorexia at age 16, and binge eating disorder at 18, she is now 22 and has been in recovery for  four years. 

Not only has she helped thousands of people who deal with eating disorders begin to eat again, but Brittani has also made a point to include that all bodies are beautiful. Her main message is that no matter what your body looks like, you are beautiful and there is no doubt about it. 

My other favorite TikToker is Sienna Mae Gomez, who also became very popular for her body positivity videos. In the past three months, Sienna has accumulated over eight million followers where she shows herself in the most authentic way. The main reason  why she is so popular is because she shows herself unposed and is always one hundred percent real. As she makes videos looking stunning in bikinis, she also encourages others to flaunt their own bodies and feel confident. 

Body positivity TikTok is a place where myself and countless other teens feel safe in. These creators use their platforms to teach and create new ways of how to love yourself and feel confident in your own skin. 

One last thing to note, don’t comment on other people’s bodies or make an effort to go out of your way and point out something. Commenting on someone’s appearance can oftentimes do more harm than good. At the end of the day, you look like you for a reason, and that makes you even more unique. 

-Athena Krik

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