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The Myth of the Summer Body

      The relaxing bliss of summer is what all crave as the semester begins to come to a close. Overwhelmed with the overload of finishing up finals, projects and presentations, we become exhilarated at the thought of our bare feet touching the sand, feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin and dipping our toes in the refreshing waters of the ocean. There is no question that by this time of year, we long to feel the salty ocean mist that brushed against our skin the summer before.

       Although our summers should be peaceful and relaxing, sometimes they do not always go as planned. We bare our skin to ease our ourselves from the heat, but doing so exposes us in an entirely different way. We display our bodies in a way in which it is easy to be judged by others. It is because of this that our society has created the term “summer body.”

      While there is nothing wrong with creating and working for a body that you feel confident in, it can cause an overload not only on your body but on your mind and spirit. As humans, we can get caught up so easily in situations which we think are of great importance, but in reality, they are very insignificant. What’s worse is that we let these ideals weigh us down. Society creates this image of what we must look like, and we strive to achieve it, not because it may be what we personally want for ourselves but because we internally have a need to fit in.

      Are society’s standards really the true representation of America though? A new study from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education revealed that the average size of a woman in America is a size 16-18, which vastly contrasts with the size of the average model in America, which is a size zero to double zero. Women are not the only ones being misrepresented, though, as the average American man is a size 44 versus the size 40 of most male models. In addition, 45 percent of men report dissatisfaction with their physiques. It is crucial that we all remember that there is no one, set healthy weight. No two bodies were created to look exactly alike. My question is: why should we all strive to achieve some unrealistic image perpetuated by the media when a lot of people will fall above or below these ideal weights and still be perfectly healthy?

      We all need to remember that we are more than just a number on the scale, and we can enjoy our summer experiences without being consumed with concern for what we look like. We need to remember that we are all different and that this diversity can also been seen in our bodies. We need to remember that the media gives unrealistic images and that we do not need affirmation from the media. We only need affirmation from the most important person in our lives: ourselves.

      Sources: International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education; utexas.edu

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