“Studying in New York is a magical experience, but being surrounded by countless adverts that shove unrealistic ideals of beauty in your mind detracts from its magic significantly.

“As I went underground at Union Square station one day, I was greeted with countless, identical, ‘ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?’ adverts on the walls, stairs, ticket machines, turnstiles – pretty much any flat surface, as if a printer had projectile vomited in all directions. Having been through a war with my body during adolescence, it stopped me in my tracks and I thought of all the women who must have read that revolting combination of words and applied it to themselves.

“I’m tired of the way our society favours the outward projection of self as opposed to our mental wellbeing. It is far too easy to unwittingly fall prey to the media and believe wholeheartedly that your appearance is inherently flawed, seeing as we are bombarded with images of photo-shopped plastic perfection no matter which way we turn. We are commanded to look a certain way, be a certain way and feel a certain way; in turn if we do not meet these completely idealistic expectations, we feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world, refraining from being our true, unique selves. And this undoubtedly makes us even more vulnerable.

“We join the cult, stand naked in front of our misleading mirrors and recite our daily mantra – ‘I hate my body’. We are the victims of a consumer culture that is feeding and expanding from our growing insecurities, and I feel as if we aren’t doing enough to try and change this.”

Photo credit: Paula Akpan
Photo editing: Ming Au

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