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  • Emiru Okada

“I Love Myself” Series: Prologue

Someone once said, “Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.”

But loving yourself is unimaginably difficult. It is completely different from your relatives, direct family members, friends, or your partner loving you. Because you have to confront and accept things that you would never reveal to anyone you know.

“Compliment yourself in the mirror!”

“People are people; you are you. Thinking that way can help you a lot!”

“You need to value yourself more. Love yourself more”

Celebrities, influencers, bloggers, and other people give so many different pieces of advice. But when I see someone make a remark like the ones above, I always think: “You can say some superficial things like that because you are not understanding the core of the problem.”

There are unfortunately certain standards that exist in Japan, as articles on this topic have been posted a couple of times on Blossom the Project and Blossom the Media. Your body cannot be too big or too small. Breakouts and pimples are the worst enemies, while the fairer one’s skin is, the more beautiful one is. Shampoos and conditioners aim to leave one’s hair smooth, soft, and untangled: concerns about hair textures other than straight are entirely ignored. When you are mentally exhausted, you are supposed to “work harder” to improve the situation, instead of going to a therapist. If you have something to say, see if your opinion is relevant and important enough by reading between the lines.

These standards and expectations that labeled certain appearances and features “beautiful” made me feel so suffocated.

Why is it that people worry about one’s health conditions based on their body size?

Are individuals with darker skin tones or those who are mixed not beautiful?

Why cannot people with hair textures other than straight do hair care routines that are right for them?

Why is it frowned upon to seek therapists and help when people are at their limit?

Japanese dramas, TV shows, and commercials continue to portray distinct beauty standards here and there, making me question so many things. There is still a trend towards fair, thin bodies. Whitening skincare products are still popular, and there are still women who are aspiring to be as thin as a model. Similarly, men are considered “cute” or “handsome” only if they are tall in addition to being thin. I have also seen female comedians and TV personalities being teased about their faces or body many times. They get told to stand next to models and be emphasized about how short their legs are. They get compared to idols of the size of their face or breasts.

“But it’s like their job to get picked on”

“Who do they think they are, wanting people to stop picking on them when they’re comedians? lol “

Is it morally right to make the audience laugh by making fun of someone’s face or body? What is the point of maintaining and advertising such beauty standards when they exclude so many people?

Instead of comparing yourself to others, try to look for things that you love about yourself. It is normal that your body is bigger, smaller, fairer, or darker than the “average” regardless of gender. It is totally okay to gain or lose weight at your pace and comfort. Even if you have a different point of view than others, fearlessly speak up for yourself. And even if your body does not fit the “average,” love your body for how it is and yourself for who you are.

In hopes that Japan becomes more inclusive.

In hopes that everyone will be able to live the way they want to.

And most importantly, in hopes that people will be able to love themselves the way they are.

I will be writing this series, “I Love Myself,” with these hopes in mind.

Graphic by Ayumi White


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