Due to the pandemic, for the past year I have been spending a lot more time on social media to keep myself entertained. I noticed that this habit began to take a toll on my self-esteem. The unrealistic beauty standards that the media shoved down my throat exhausted me. These platforms exposed me to an overwhelming number of posts that objectified women and I realized what a problem this is in our society.
Recently, I started following more women who were posting about body positivity and I began to feel a shift in my perspective toward my appearance. Seeing women who demonstrated that all bodies are beautiful, and that it is natural to have stretch marks, cellulite, acne and pudge immensely improved my self-image. These women inspired the topic for my story because I wanted to share the body positivity movement with other girls who are weighed down by the insecurities social media cultivates.
When I started devising sources for this story, I thought of the content creators who had helped me cope with my own insecurities. Ever since middle school, Tyler Feder’s illustrations have helped me accept my body and learn to love myself. I venerated her and her work for such a long time, so I was ecstatic when she agreed to do an interview with me. Hearing about her journey was inspirational, and I wanted to share Feder’s story with other women so they could benefit from her wisdom.
I also wanted to interview one professional who had expertise in feminism and communication, and one student who was passionate about women’s issues. I think Robin Jensen and Jess Wojciechowski were the perfect individuals for my story. Jensen was able to eloquently verbalize the issues with the portrayal of women on social media. She validated the struggles young women face in an academic manner. I thought it was powerful for women to have their feelings and experiences validated by a scholar.
As for my interview with Wojciechowski, she had similar experiences as I did while growing up in the age of social media. It was difficult not to insert myself in the piece because of my passion for the body positivity movement. Luckily, Wojciechowski was able to provide the perspective of how harmful it was to grow up without the body positivity movement, and how transformative it was to find it during adulthood. This phenomenon is something I sought to illustrate, but I did not want to speak about my own experiences.
It surprised me that an interview could feel friendly and inviting. I thought the interview process was going to be daunting, but all my sources were lively, open and engaging. I felt connected to all my interviewees, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them. After interviewing my sources, I was ready to outline my story. It was painful to only use a fraction of the information I obtained from my interviews. Frankly, I could have written my senior thesis with the abundance of material I had on the topic. In the end, the main sentiments I wanted to express were that the efforts of the body positivity movement are vital for young women’s self-esteem and there is still a lot more to conquer in terms of ensuring women feel valued.
I am a sophomore at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism, and French. After I graduate, I will be pursuing a master’s degree in marketing. My passions are writing, feminism, and environmentalism. I am a published writer in Harness Magazine, and I hope to have more articles, and potentially a novel, published during my career. With my writing, I want to spread awareness about women’s issues and illustrate changes that could help dismantle sexism in our society. Art also holds an important place in my life. Traveling to Europe and visiting the plethora of art museums there, specifically the Musée d’Orsay, inspired my love for the French language and art history. In the future, I aspire to work as a marketing director for an art museum.