Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 7.1.10

Beach Bodies?
Feeling confident in our skin
By Annabelle Klachefsky

As the rain slowly but surely leaves the heart of Eugene, more and more people flock to the outdoors to bask in the glow of the long awaited Oregon summer. While the sun illuminates our hearts and spirits, it also brings upon the opportunity for an assortment of advertisements and societal expectations. Summer is often the time that many people, men and women, feel pressured to assume the perfect “beach” body for the season. 

As a young student, I cannot help but notice the attention that people of all ages and genders seem to be giving to the issue of body image. While we are all trying to feel confident in our skin, we are still being bombarded with daily advertisements of how to acquire a slim body, the perfect hair color and that dark tan. During the summer the exposure to these become more frequent due to the more comfortable clothing styles for the season, generally showing more skin. 

I find that females are especially subject to the strong expectation that is emphasized in our society today, of a perfect body. Women are supposed to have flat stomachs, sculpted arms, big breasts and long, shaven legs, in order to confidently dawn a bikini in the summertime. To this, I must disagree, and I urge my fellow females to do the same. Until these strong expectations were brought to my attention in one of my recent feminist classes, I was unaware of the pressure that people, especially young females, were under. Personally, I felt like it was a normal thing to try and get the perfect body that so many companies and people are telling me I should have. I am inspired to share my awareness to my peers in the community, that this is indeed, not normal.

I cannot stress enough that as women in the world we must take a stand to what we are being told we should look like. The body type that is being advertised to us through the media is an unattainable desire that so many of us wish to achieve, but in reality, we need to be focusing on the beauty of the body that we have. It is time to emphasize not the importance of a perfect manicured body, but the beauty of a natural one.  So what if our legs are not shaven, our stomachs are not flat or our hair is not perfect? I am taking a stand here and now to empower the women of Eugene to feel beautiful as they naturally are, in every sense of the word. As a very liberal and open community, we need to start taking the steps to seeing the beauty and social relevance of a natural, free self! 

Annabelle Klachefsky is entering her senior year at the UO in the fall of 2010. She is an anthropology major with a minor in women’s and gender studies.