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How Selena Gomez shut down the “myth” of physical perfection

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Kayleigh Dray
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Striving for perfection can seriously impact our emotional wellbeing – and Selena Gomez really isn’t here for it.

Ah, Instagram: if you believe everything you see, everyone is living their best (and most filtered) life on the social media site – and it can leave us feeling… well, a little insecure about our own ‘imperfect’ existence (both on and offline).

Selena Gomez, who underwent a life-saving transplant last year, is all too aware of this. In fact, she has spoken out about the “dark side” of social media on numerous occasions – so, when it came to sharing her holiday photos on Instagram, she made sure to do so with a caveat in place.

After filtering a video of her and her pals laughing in the sun (creating something not unlike those old-fashioned home movies we all grew up with), Gomez captioned it: “The beauty myth – an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern women in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfil society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty.

“I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone. Wind in her sails.”

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Gomez previously revealed that – just like so many others who suffer with chronic illnesses – it took her a long time to come to terms with her altered appearance after her kidney transplant.

“I do [feel comfortable with my scars],” she said at the time. “I didn’t, but I do now.”

Gomez went on to explain that “it was really hard in the beginning” to even look at her own reflection, saying: “I remember looking at myself in the mirror completely naked and thinking about all the things that I used to bitch about and just asking, ‘Why?’

“I had someone in my life for a very long time who pointed out all the things that I didn’t feel great about with myself. When I look at my body now, I just see life.”

And, while there are many options available to Gomez if she wishes to minimise her scar, she said that seeing it every day gives her “a sense of gratitude for myself” – and reminds her “how much my body is my own”.

As such, she has been encouraged to focus on herself and make the decisions that are best for her, rather than those around her.

“There are a million things I can do – lasers and creams and all that stuff – but I’m OK with it,” she said. “And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with [plastic surgery]. Cardi B has been my inspiration lately. She’s killing it, and she is proud of everything she has done. So there is absolutely zero judgment on my end.

“I just think for me, it could be my eyes, my round face, my ears, my legs, my scar. I don’t have perfect abs, but I feel like I’m wonderfully made.”

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Various studies have indicated that social media can have a negative impact on our sense of self. It’s thought that relentlessly scrolling through other people’s feeds – and spending too much time making “negative social comparisons” – can be linked with feelings of envy, dissatisfaction and even depression.

Experts told stylist.co.uk that the best way to combat this jealousy is to “look at your own social media feeds.”

They continued: “Chances are, what you see is a highly edited version of your real life: the highlights, rather than the sad/tedious/ugly bits. Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to others through the lens of social media, remind yourself that nobody’s life is perfect – even if it seems like it on Facebook.”

For information and support about mental health issues, visit mind.org.uk.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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