A few weekends ago I went to Party City to try and pick out a Halloween costume with my boyfriend. We were greeted by fog-belching skeletons as we slowly pushed our way back to the wall of costumes. Mind you, the costume list literally takes up an entire wall (and then some) and even out of that volume of variety, I failed to find what I was looking for.
My boyfriend kept gawking at the outfits with what I felt was an impressive homage to Hanna-Barbera cartoons (wolf howling, steam coming out of his ears, eye balls defying the laws of physics and physiology) and urging me to try on some of the more “Adult” themed outfits. All I could do was stare at the breasts of the models and wish that I was more comfortable with my body and my small bust. I knew that the majority of the models on the wall where photoshopped to hell, but somehow, that just didn’t comfort me. Every person has the right to feel confident in their skin and we shouldn’t feel uncomfortable with a holiday pastime that is supposed to be fun, but I did because every time I tried on a new costume I could have slid two grapefruits in the gap that extended from the bodice area.
But telling ourselves that we don’t need to match up to what we see in the ads and commercials doesn’t seem to be enough. Needing some feminine support, I headed to CSUSM’s “Love Your Body Day”, hoping there I could find an escape from the airbrushed barbies looming over me. I was glad to see I wasn’t alone, as the event was absolutely FILLED with other ladies (and men) such as myself, who felt a disturbing gap between the image in the mirror and on the screen. Since this was my first year attending LYBD (I’m usually studying), I loaded up on all the swag, pamphlets, and goodies my pale little arms could carry.
The statistics I discovered from the pamphlets were alarming, it is incredibly apparent that body image is a huge problem that Americans struggle with. Every year Americans spend 40 billion dollars on dieting and dieting related products. The Media is obsessed with statistically unrealistic ideals and the body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by less than 5% of the female population (Social Issues Research Centre). The fact of the matter is, the way the media portrays beauty is not the way we look. And no matter what they say, it isn’t how we should feel we have to look.
I have womanly curves and a bit of a small bust, so what? I’m not tanned to a shade somewhere between Burnt Ochre and Sunset Sienna, but at least it’s a range within natural human skin tones. My teeth are clean, even if they don’t dazzle passing airline pilots with their whiteness. My body is mine. And it looks good, not because it matches someone else’s, but because I think it does.
I ended up making a costume on my own, and I look damn good in it, if I do say so myself. I feel creative, comfortable and beautiful in it; you don’t have to be a playboy-bunny to be beautiful. And we shouldn’t let anyone tell us otherwise.