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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Lagnese

Could You Love Me Like This (Part 1)



“Today I asked my body what she needed, which is a big deal considering my journey of not really asking that much.


I thought she might need more water

or protein

or greens

or yoga

or supplements

or movement


But as I stood in the shower reflecting on her stretch marks, her roundness where I would like flatness, her softness where I would like firmness. All those conditioned wishes that bundle of never-quite-right-ness, she whispered very gently:


Could you just love me like this.” - Hollie Holden

 

These words hit me hard.

Really hard.

And that question.

Could you just love me like this?


According to DoSomething.org, a global movement of millions of young women trying to make positive changes online and off:

  • About 91% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies and turn to dieting in an attempt to achieve the ideal body shape. However, only around 5% of women naturally have the body type commonly depicted in the American media.


  • In a survey, over 40% of women expressed their willingness to consider cosmetic surgery in the future. This statistic remains consistent across different age groups, marital statuses, and racial backgrounds.


  • Research indicates that there is a positive correlation between the amount of reality television consumed by young girls and their perception of the importance of appearance.


  • Over one-third of individuals who engage in "normal dieting" eventually transition into pathological dieting, with approximately one-fourth of them developing a partial or full-blown eating disorder.


  • The age group of 12 to 25 accounts for 95% of individuals diagnosed with eating disorders.

 

Beauty (outer beauty) is often regarded as subjective, and it is commonly said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I completely agree with this notion. Who I find attractive will differ from who you find attractive. However, in our current society, beauty standards are often defined in a way that classifies only a small number of women as "perfect 10s." These women possess physical features that are widely considered attractive by our society.


Take this example ⬇️



Is she real? Is this AI? Perhaps photoshopped? We don't know but one thing is certainly clear. I bet not too many would argue that this woman is attractive and easy to look at. Real or not. Because we have been told over and over again that the fitter you are, the prettier you are. The skinner you are, the prettier you are. The tanner you are, the prettier you are. The bigger the boobs and tighter the ass, the prettier you are. The more makeup you wear, the prettier you are. Let’s face it, we have been conditioned to hate our bodies from the minute we enter this world.


There is a rationale behind the casting of aesthetically pleasing celebrities in major Hollywood roles. Similarly, have you noticed the absence of average-looking individuals on most reality TV shows? If someone with an appearance like mine were to audition for a role on The Bachelor or Big Brother, they would probably face ridicule. This is because the viewing public prefers not to watch ordinary-looking people on their screens. I sometimes wonder if this preference stems from our desire to escape reality. After all, why watch women who look like us when we can watch Angelina Jolie kicking ass?



In the entertainment industry, there is an abundance of talented actors, actresses, singers, performers, and influencers. However, to achieve immense success, it often takes more than just acting skills, a beautiful voice, or a vibrant personality. It also requires possessing a certain physical appearance, commonly referred to as "the look." Just look at Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice and have you heard her do celebrity impressions? Spot on! But I often wonder if she would be as famous if she didn't have a perfect little body, shiny hair, and glowing skin. I'm not so sure.



It is undeniable that in Hollywood, any slight weight gain is often met with intense scrutiny from the public. A prime example of this is singer and actress Selena Gomez, whose body is constantly plastered all over the media. Unfortunately, even when her weight fluctuates due to health issues like Lupus, she is subjected to harsh criticism for having "flabby" thighs or a "squishy" tummy. Regardless of the underlying reasons, it is truly disheartening to witness her being torn apart for her body. This is her response to how her lupus meds affect her:


"When I'm taking it, I tend to hold a lot of water weight, and that happens very normally. When I'm off of it, I tend to lose weight. I just wanted to encourage anyone out there who feels any sort of shame for exactly what they're going through, and no one knows the real story. I just want people to know that you're beautiful, and you're wonderful. Yeah, we have days where maybe we feel like s---, but I would rather be healthy and take care of myself. My medications are important, and I believe that they're what help me. Not a model, never will be. And I think they're awesome, mind you. I'm just definitely not that."


Selena Gomez is not only a beautiful individual but also the kind of role model I aspire for my 10-year-old daughter to look up to. It's disheartening to see her constantly criticized for her appearance instead of being appreciated for her talent. This situation sends a clear message: in Hollywood, gaining even just 10 pounds can make a person irrelevant, while losing weight and toning up can thrust them back into the limelight. Unfortunately, celebs like the Kardashian family perpetuates this unrealistic standard by selling overpriced makeup, skincare, and body products that promise to make anyone look like Kim K. However, it's important to acknowledge that the Kardashians have access to unlimited resources, including cosmetic surgeries, top-notch trainers, chefs, and high-end body and facial treatments. It's all part of a well-crafted illusion and genius marketing strategy. But I must admit, even though I use the JLO skincare line, I am well aware that washing my face with these products won't magically transform me into JLO, no matter how many times I'm told it will.



While I do feel frustrated with these celebrities, I also empathize with the immense pressure they face to excel in their industries and maintain a youthful appearance. The expectation to look young and flawless, even as they age, must be overwhelming. Many celebrities feel compelled to find ways to defy the natural aging process, whether it's through the pursuit of the fountain of youth or the assistance of skilled plastic surgeons. It's essential to acknowledge the challenges they confront in trying to meet society's unrealistic standards of youthfulness.


“People talk about the golden age of Hollywood because of how women were lit then. You could be Joan Crawford or Bette Davis and work well into your 50s, because you were lit and made into a goddess. Now, with everything being sort of gritty, women have this sense of their use-by date.” - Cate Blanchett


Trying to conform to unrealistic beauty standards is no easy feat. It's particularly unfair that the rich and famous are expected to maintain a certain appearance for their entire lives. The constant pursuit of perfection while facing criticism from all angles must be incredibly exhausting. Personally, I can't fathom the immense pressure they endure. The idea of constantly being under scrutiny and having to look camera-ready at all times is not something I would want for myself or my family, regardless of the wealth and fame that may come with it. I value my privacy and the freedom to run errands without the added stress of doing my hair and makeup beforehand. It's important to remember that celebrities are human beings too. They experience emotions just like we do. While their lifestyle may seem glamorous and exciting, we often only see a fraction of their lives – the highlight reel. We don't witness the tears, the burnout, and the fears they face – fear of failure, fear of being canceled, and perhaps most significantly, fear of aging and losing relevance.

 

SNEAK PEEK OF PART 2

 

Growing up, I never considered myself ugly. I always saw myself as a cute girl. However, I used to LOATH being called cute and wished to be seen as hot instead. My insecurities mainly revolved around my height, small chest, psoriasis, thick hair, prominent forehead, and small belly pooch. Looking back now, I find it amusing how trivial these insecurities were. I am still short and small-chested. I now have plague psoriasis and possibly the beginnings of psoriatic arthritis. Furthermore, my once thick hair has become extremely thin and brittle, turning my forehead into a fivehead. And that small belly pooch is now a bigger mom pooch. Hindsite sure is 20/20.

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