This is a post I’ve been putting off writing just because it’s a little hard to articulate and I’m far from being an expert on the subject, but it’s something that’s been on my mind recently. The best blogging advice I’ve gotten is to write a blog that I myself would want to read, and I know that I appreciate when people open up in their writing, so here goes!
Body image is something that I (and SO many other girls) struggle with. Since 91% (!!) of women aren’t satisfied with their bodies, it’s definitely worth talking about.
As girls, we’re our own worst critics. We tell ourselves that our stomach isn’t flat enough, our nose is too big, our chest is too small, our arms are too jiggly, our thighs are too “thunder-y,” and about 320,948 other criticisms. We pick ourself apart both in pictures and in the mirror. Seriously, if we had a friend who treated us the way we treat ourselves sometimes, we’d end that friendship in a second!
I think that being naturally self-conscious about some parts of yourself is unescapable. For one example, I’ve never been a huge fan of my hips, and I was self-conscious about them for a long time. To me, they’ve always seemed disproportionately big compared to the rest of my body. Since I got them in 7th or 8th grade, I didn’t like how they looked. I’ve come a long way since then, but since I’m being honest, even when I took this picture last summer, my first thought was, “Yikes, my hips look huge.”
The crazy thing is that when I see another girl with hips, I think she looks awesome– totally feminine, curvy, and beautiful. My cousin is built a lot like me– tall, long legs, and some serious hips– and I think she looks incredible!! I’m the first one to tell friends they’re perfect and beautiful when they start to pick themselves apart, but I don’t naturally tell myself the same thing.
We have this crazy double standard where we are SO tough on ourselves. I think a big part of it is because we’re perfectionists, and we can’t live up to our own impossible standards.
And then of course, a lot of it is because of the “ideal body” we see portrayed in the media. Tina Fey says it the best:The only person I can think of who even comes close to this is a Victoria’s Secret model. On a recent run, my friend and I were talking about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. There are lots of mixed opinions about the show and you can feel free to disagree, but we both agreed that the model’s bodies promote an unrealistic and unhealthy fitness standard.
In an interview, model Adriana Lima dished on what her pre-fashion show routine is: six weeks before the show, she cuts almost all carbs and fat from her diet, while also working out two hours per day. Nine days before the show, she cuts out all solid food and consumes only liquids, while increasing her workouts to two per day. 12 hours before the show, she cuts out liquids entirely. It’s a model’s full-time job to strictly plan their meals (or lack of meals…) and do long workouts with personal trainers, not to mention the fact that they naturally hit the genetic lottery…
…And then we, as full-time college students (or businesswomen, high school students, moms, etc.) will compare ourselves to them? Uh, what? (If you don’t believe me, watch the Victoria’s Secret “fashion” show with some girls next year.)
What if we could just strive to live an active lifestyle and fuel our bodies with (mostly) healthy food, and then be happy with how they look? What if we could start embracing our bodies, with their imperfections and all? How would that change things?
Like I mentioned before, I’ve come a long way in being able to be happy with the way I look, and it’s so freeing! Of course, we all have those days where we feel less-than-attractive, but they’re happening much less often for me because guess what I’ve realized? No one else cares about my hips. I enjoy eating in a way that makes me feel good, not in a way that’s restrictive. And most importantly, no one is harder on me than myself, and I’m the one who has the power over myself.
And even beyond that, we don’t have to let our bodies define how we feel about ourselves and our value. We have SO much more to offer the world than just our appearance. We can choose not to let our insecurities consume us. Think of how much good we could accomplish when we choose to focus our energy outwards, rather than inwards!
And most of all, we (myself definitely included) can work on being our own best friend instead of our worst enemy.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!