A Student Response From:
I often think about how complicated we have made the world on more than just a surface level. We didn’t just create arbitrary systems that make life more complex like governments and money, but we made systems that are used to control the way that we think about ourselves and those around us. On some level, the search for identity is very human. We all want to have a grasp of who we are and why we are even here in the first place. But unfortunately, it’s also very human to be visual creatures. Our identities are usually more centered around the way that we appear to others, rather than the real beauty of being alive. Instead of finding meaning in the way the moon controls the tides or the way our heart pushes blood through our veins, we have found meaning in the way we look and if society has deemed us worthy. I spent too long identifying myself by the label that society awarded me. Fat. The world taught me that because I didn’t have a flat stomach and a thigh gap, I was unlovable, gross, and a joke. The world gave me this label and then told me it was my fault. It was my fault that I was born with thick thighs and a butt that protrudes out more than the other thinner (and thus more worthy girls) that I went to school with. I grew up thinking that if I didn’t shed fat and the label that came with it, then no boy would ever find me attractive enough to love me, and if I didn’t find a boy to love me, then I would be even more of an outcast then I already was. This prejudice, along with prejudice regarding every difference you could have to the cis, white, able-bodied example that we are supposed to live up to, has existed for a long time. But social media and our new, robotic existence on the internet has definitely perpetuated the labels that have plagued society. It highlights our differences and gives people the chance to tell us their opinions about it, whether it’s directed at you or just someone that looks like you. However, in the right hands, this highlighting can be incredibly important. It’s important to see a wide range of people who take those labels and rip them up so that they can collage it back together in the way that feels right to them. If we have to live with these labels that we’ve created, then we might as well try to take them in stride so that we can throw it right back into the faces of those who criticize us--even it’s our own brains.