Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere, permeating the world of fashion, entertainment, music, art and news.
As the Internet makes pretty much everything readily available, young girls, inundated with these messages, are being made increasingly aware of their so-called imperfections at an earlier and earlier age.
What should we do to start ridding the world of these crazy beauty standards and start making positive change?
Just being aware of the absurdity of it all, and hearing other women's stories, is a good start.
Multimedia artist Jody Steel is among those coming forward to share how her self-perception has been affected by unrealistic standards of beauty. But rather than just telling her story, Steel decided to show it in a unique artistic way.
In a time-lapse video posted to Facebook called "Body Image," Steel paints the "perfect" waistline on her stomach.
As she blacks out more and more of her stomach, the results of what this exaggerated waistline looks like start to be revealed.
The optical illusion is unsettling, to say the least.
"There have been times I've looked in a mirror and wished for a perfect figure," Steel explains in a Facebook comment. "No matter how much I went to the gym or how little I ate carbs and sugar, I still didn't see what I imagined was perfect."
"Once I realized that naturally, I don't have a coke bottle figure, or long and thin legs, I began to let go of the pressures I've felt to fulfill an image that our society has deemed the pinnacle of beauty[...] "
The image of Steel's stomach being wrung tight suggests the feeling of being constricted by unnaturally narrow concepts of beauty from which we must free ourselves through conscious effort.
Steel adds that while she is protesting unrealistic beauty standards, it's important to stay fit and healthy, but that because every body is different, every person should subscribe to standards that specifically make sense for them, their lifestyle and body.
"[...] For those who've implied that I'm saying you shouldn't still strive for being healthy, that's not true at all," Steel writes in another Facebook comment. "I do still work towards goals, but not towards body image goals that are unrealistic for my body type. I'll never be able to have model long legs or large breasts genetically."
"But I've set realistic goals for myself and that's the point. I eat food that makes me happy and go to the gym a healthy amount. There's a balance."
We could all do with less mainstream beauty standards and more self-acceptance.
Watch Steel's video below: