Models vs role models


Kaden Gass, Staff Writer

Human attraction and the way people automatically fall in love with something is such an interesting concept to me. Everyone is so different. No same person has the exact same style, personality, or looks, and yet what society tells us is attractive is the basic foundation of how we judge people. People are always striving to be the prettiest, the thinnest, the smartest when in actuality what really matters is just being you.

I personally have struggled with body image issues since high school. And on top of that I’m gay. So believe it or not, I wasn’t a confident person. People always talked about how Kaden was “the best teddy bear” or calling me “husky” when I asked if I was big. In actuality, I knew people talked behind my back and knew that guys laughed and made fun of me for who I was. This wasn’t a lasting trend however, as I joined 4 sports and started to shed pounds after my junior year playing basketball. 

So why am I telling you this backstory? Well, as I started to get thinner, I started to get a lot more positive reactions. Kind of like a dog being rewarded for doing something right, I enjoyed being appreciated. Not only did it give me more self confidence when people said, “Kaden, you’re so cute now,” but each compliment filled my ego in the wrong way. I got so intoxicated by people’s constant validation that I cut ties with my true self.

This didn’t end just after high school. In fact, it’s still an ongoing trend in my life which I am trying to stop. The sad part is, is that this is because of how people view others as either attractive or not. Simple as that. We see countless examples in models, actors, and bodybuilders telling us how we should look and not emphasizing how we should WANT to look.

The truth of the matter (and something I’m very appreciative to see), is that the media and all these other influences are starting to diversify their palate and cater to everyone. There’s beginning to be a lot more representation for people of color, people of different gender identities, people of different sexualities, and different body types. 

It’s not a lot, don’t get me wrong. But it’s more than I had growing up searching for role models that were just like me. And I think that’s why I’m optimistic about the future generations. Humans feed on media, let’s be real. And as technology and social media become even more integrated into our society and start to influence culture, being different is what’s really going to be seen as normal. And being different is going to be the new skinny.