Beauty doesn’t come from a brand

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In March 2013, Lululemon recalled its popular line of yoga pants. The problem? They were too sheer. In defense, co-founder Chip Wilson said in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart” program that while there was a defect in the material and design, much of the blame could be attributed to women’s body types. Specifically, certain women’s “lack of thigh gap.”

Lululemon is not alone in the Mean Girls club.

Abercrombie & Fitch has stirred several such controversies since its meteoric rise into teen markets. In 2006, A&F CEO Mike Jeffries stated: “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.”

After reading the statement, I was not only offended, but like many other self-conscious teenagers who feel insecure in their skin, I felt my self-esteem plunge.

Unfortunately, I am not alone.

According to a 2013 study produced by the Dove brand, 77% of teenage and adolescent girls describe themselves as “ugly.” The echoing words of “You’re not good enough,” ring in the ears of our generation, forcing into our minds that we are ugly and worthless. The mentality that corporations have put into the minds of our generation is that if we cannot meet the specific standards set forth, we should change something about ourselves to fit in. Such heartless and insensitive messages have caused kids in today’s generation to go to dangerous extremes in hopes of achieving the image of an attractive all-American kid.

Corporations often victimize the youth of our generation through targeted marketing. Their strategies demoralize us and make us vain and self-discriminating against ourselves. The unrealistic body types portrayed in advertisements and models in the fashion industry contribute to low self-esteem, and provoke those who are already vulnerable. Such self-deprecation is often a major factor in the development of eating disorders. With or without knowing it, clothing companies are constantly attacking consumers for their natural physique. We are no longer taught to embrace our original forms; instead, we are taught to shame our own bodies.

Instead of continuing to allow others to dictate our beauty, I propose we take a stand. To combat such injustice, we as consumers should not allow ourselves to become victimized by such vicious marketing strategies. If we really do believe that we are worth more than what some clothing company tells us, then we should simply walk away from the brand and never look back. The sad truth is that these companies won’t care about the toll that your aesthetic obsession takes on your health. Instead of conforming to the heartless marketing ideas of beauty, why not embrace our own natural beauty?