“You are who you are, and that’s amazing — no matter what you look like.”
This is the message from Vic Monterosso, a sophomore business management major, for anyone who struggles with body image and other insecurities about their appearances.
Like many others, Monterosso has had times where dealt with body image issues of her own. According to the Park Nicollet Melrose Center, about 80 percent of women in the United States do not like how they look.
Unrealistic expectations and standards set in pop culture and social media can put pressure on people, women especially, to look a certain way. It can be intimidating to many people and upsetting if they are not able to meet society’s standards. These pressures can cause the body image issues and insecurities that are prevalent today.
Monterosso recently came forward about her guttate psoriasis, a skin condition that was also a cause of insecurities as she grew up. She was diagnosed with the condition at around 5 years of age. It left marks on her skin that resembled chicken pox up to her neck and on her arms and legs.
“In the beginning I was kind of scared of other people seeing and being like, ‘Ew, that’s gross,'” she said.
Monterosso said that she felt societal pressures to look a certain way. She felt that there are expectations of how people should look.
“I definitely think that there is a standard that everybody tries to live up to,” she said.
Her psoriasis mostly went away by the age of 11, so she was able to go a very long time without ever really talking about it. However, a recent flare up inspired Monterosso to make a post on social media that took ownership of her condition. She said that it was a bit scary at first, but that she wanted to make this post for herself.
“Normal skin is boring skin,” Monterosso wrote in an Instagram caption. “Guttate psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that I’ve had for over 15 years and I think it’s about time that I feel comfortable in my own skin.”
Making this post was just another step in Monterosso’s path to feeling confident and comfortable with herself. She has a strong support system that has helped her overcome these insecurities. But most importantly she has been able to accept herself for who she is.
“A strong support system… I think that really helps get over some insecurities with yourself,” she said. “But you do have to do it on your own too.
“You just have to be like ‘This is who I am, and if people don’t like me for that, that’s their fault.'”