“You’ll want that perfect smile for graduation!”
That’s what the orthodontic assistant told me last week just after I was informed that I could potentially be getting braces again. My response was an uncomfortable laugh but I was internally screaming.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with braces. I actually think they’re quite an amazing invention and I’m glad that they are available to help people. But it seems to me that a lot of people get braces when they don’t really need them. I certainly don’t need them. My orthodontist suggested I get them because one of my upper teeth is slightly shorter and further back than the rest of my teeth. Yup, ONE tooth. Oh and here’s the best part: it would “only” cost about $400. $400!!! Wow so cheap!!! What a deal!!! …Do you understand why I was internally screaming now?
I don’t have a medical problem. I’m not going to experience pain from my one tooth. It will not cause me any long-term problems. My tooth is simply an “imperfection” and they are literally trying to make money off of my insecurities. Well guess what, I don’t give a flying fuck.
I refuse to conform to a standard that says every detail of my face has to be perfectly in line. I refuse to be okay with a society that says all of my imperfections need to be fixed. We live in a time where everywhere we look there’s a magazine cover or an advertisement that depicts images of flawless women and men. But these people don’t really exist; it’s a lil thing called Photoshop. These images are influencing young minds and making them believe that the only way to be beautiful is to look like those models. They’re making them strive for something that doesn’t even exist. No wonder there’s a rising number of teenagers that are being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Our society holds absolutely insane standards of beauty that aren’t even achievable and that is not okay. The #effyourbeautystandards tag was started by Tess Holliday, plus-size model and body positivity ambassador, in 2013 as a way to tell people that it’s absolutely okay to not look like the models shown on magazine covers. Skinny is not the only body type, skin is not always as smooth as a baby’s bum, and early twenties is not the only acceptable age. Women don’t need to spend their money on makeup to cover up their insecurities. (I am not against makeup, but if someone doesn’t want to wear it, they shouldn’t feel obliged.) Women shouldn’t feel the need to invest their money on razors and waxing just to strip themselves of hair that’s natural, but deemed “gross” by society. Women don’t need to go on strict diets just to get their “bikini body” ready for the summer. And of course, women don’t need to get braces just because they’ve got a few crooked teeth.
I am sick of living in a time where people don’t feel okay with being themselves. It makes my heart hurt to know that so many people wake up in the morning and hate the reflection they see in the mirror. I don’t enjoy being a part of a society where people care more about someone’s looks rather than their personality. And you, my dear reader, probably have similar feelings because I can’t even fathom anyone being okay with these crazy standards and all the pressure that society puts on us. That is, unless you work for a company that makes most of their money off of insecure people. (If you are one of those people, I hope you’re aware of what you’re doing and please don’t be afraid to speak up and make a change.)
I want to live in a world where magazines show images of REAL people who haven’t been changed to look 2 sizes smaller. I want young girls to feel empowered, not ashamed. I want people to be encouraged to be kind to themselves, as well as being kind to each other. This world is not far off. The fact that the #effyourbeautystandards tag has over 800,000 photos tagged to it on Instagram shows that other people are fighting for this too. This gives me hope that one day I might be able to live in a time where we embrace each others individuality and respect each others bodies no matter what they look like.
I know that the only way for me to be beautiful is if I embrace myself and love my body despite the things that society tells me aren’t okay. So don’t listen to One Direction, y’all: Not knowing you’re beautiful does NOT make you beautiful. Know your beauty, know your worth and love the skin you’re in. As long as I’m living a happy and healthy life, I’m golden. So to end this, here’s a photo of me smiling, just because I can 😀