How Do You See Your Reflection?

When does someone become satisfied with one’s body? Is it when you have the ‘perfect’ beach body? When your nose isn’t curved? Or is it when there isn’t hair in between your eyebrows? Is it really that hard nowadays to be happy the way you are? Why are social norms the only things people go after and why do we allow public figures and celebrities dictate how we are supposed to look?

Our inspiration for this topic came not only from personal experiences, but also from sources that influence individuals on a daily basis such as the entertainment industry, Internet, social media and magazines.  We tend to overlook all the things that impact our lives and make us feel insecure both physically and emotionally, and completing this project was a huge eye-opener.  We aim to encourage individuals to embrace their true and authentic self and want to promote individuality and accepting one’s “flaws”.

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Going into this project, we weren’t expecting the results we gained from the interviews that were conducted.  Even though we wanted genuine and honest answers, we were under the assumption that people would still be too shy to reveal some of their biggest insecurities. One of our interviews took place over text messages, and the depth and detail our interviewee provided us with was amazing and appreciated so we wanted to share his response:

“I don’t really have any physical insecurities except for my birthmark which is why I never really go places shirtless and don’t like taking my shirt off. It’s not really an insecurity…I feel like I just don’t like people asking questions about it or staring at it for no reason. I also have a deviated septum which caused me to have crooked nose and I can sometimes be insecure about that.  For my emotional insecurities, I’m really scared of losing my friends all the time, and I over think and end up with the conclusion that they hate me even though they have no reason to.  I guess I could say that I have social anxiety disorder. Also expressing feelings is really difficult because I don’t know how people will react to what I say and the vulnerability aspect refrains me from sharing what is on my mind.  Once again, I over think every situation but I think I am getting better at it.”

Some of the top insecurities of the women we interviewed were facial hair, body fat, confidence, and vulnerability.  When we interviewed the men, their top insecurities were body fat, confidence, facial hair, and vulnerability.  Interesting, right?  When we narrowed down the list to the most common ones, both men and women shared the same insecurities.  Whether it’s women being concerned about looking fat while men are more concerned about looking small or weak, their insecurities fall under the same category of body fat. Facial hair is a huge one for women because no girl was happy with the natural mustache or side burns.  Men feel insecure when their facial hair is not trimmed and looking sharp.  They are also feel very self conscious about their actual hair because they think that it is a very important feature. Confidence was another huge insecurity because almost every single person said he/she wished to have more confidence to be able to take on any situation.Women were insecure about vulnerability because they felt as if other people tend to take advantage of a vulnerable woman, whether it is taking advantage of her sexually or emotionally.  Men were insecure about feeling vulnerable because they have the notion that feeling too much and possessing too much emotion makes them feel and appear weak and less manly.

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People possess so many insecurities and they actually bring themselves down over minor things. We learned that a lot people fight internal battles because they are unhappy with themselves physically and/or emotionally. This project brought to our attention and helped us gain insight on how acts of activism doesn’t always have to be headline-worthy. We learned that activism isn’t just something that you want other people to see, agree with, and ponder upon momentarily.  Activism is something that you believe in and care about deeply. You have to be motivated and dedicated about it if you want to see the necessary changes and make others believe in it as well. At first we had the misconception that activism was just people going out on the streets and protesting against things they didn’t believe in and this class and project allowed us to realize that activism is so much more than that as stated earlier. Putting forth efforts and executing actions to make a positive change and difference is what activism is. We want people to love themselves for who they are.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


By: Shilpa Raj & Nandu Rami


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