Let’s Talk About Body Image

Just like fashion trends, the concept of the “ideal body type” comes and goes throughout the years. During the Renaissance, it was voluptuous curves. In the Victorian Era, corsets were used to achieve tiny waists. With the “Roaring 20’s” came the slight, boyish figure. In the 30’s and 40’s, a slightly muscled look and more natural looking curves became all the rage. But since then, the “ideal body type” has been shrinking. Of course, there are many, many women today (and there always have been) who don’t care about any “ideal body type” and love the body they’re in, no matter what the media currently portrays as perfect. Today, more than ever, more women are rejecting the concept that there is one body type that every woman should try to attain (and good thing, because that’s preposterous).

But the idea of one kind of body that everyone wants is still harmful, especially to impressionable, young, insecure girls. Girls who are just growing into their bodies and noticing the changes that are happening as they become young women. Noticing the differences between them and their girlfriends. It’s a hard thing growing up in a world where everyone is so different, yet those differences are not appropriately represented in the media. It’s very easy for a girl to lose sight of the reality that every body IS different and that’s okay, and think, “I wish I had bigger boobs/a smaller waist/smaller thighs… like THAT girl.” I think the most dangerous thing a person can do is compare themselves to someone else. You are not someone else; you are you, and there’s a reason for that. No one can be you like you can. I think the most attractive people are those who own their body type and are completely comfortable with it. No matter how thin or thick or tall or short you are, confidence makes so much of a difference.

For example, I was definitely insecure about developing breasts later in life than most girls I knew. A boy in my 8th grade math class called me “boobless” more than once, and even though that was incredibly stupid (I mean, it’s not like I can control that…), it still stuck with me. Throughout high school and college, more well-endowed friends would complain about their back pain or how hard it is to shop for clothes, then ask me, “Do you want some?” If breast tissue were a thing you could just share with your friends, like a clothing swap, in high school, I would have gone for it. I hated being small. But today, at age 23, I have gone up literally one bra size since buying my first bra, and I don’t mind at all. In fact, I love my size. I can go bra-less one day if I so choose without any wardrobe malfunctions or discomfort. I can sleep on my stomach. I never have to worry about accidental cleavage.

Though it’s taken years, I have come to love the skin I’m in. I am a naturally thin person and that’s fine. I have larger hips in proportion to my chest, and that’s fine. I’m not distinctly short or tall and that’s fine. The few things I want to change are, I think, pretty reasonable things to want: Defined abs, higher stamina so I can run farther and just have more energy throughout the day, muscled thighs, for that rash on my face to go away… But it’s not the end of the world if I don’t achieve these goals. I don’t work very hard toward them. I have other things to worry about. I recognize that I was not given this body because of some cosmic mess-up. It was on purpose. This body was given to me to care for and to love, and I am doing the best that I can. If you are struggling with accepting how you are shaped, know that I think you are beautiful, no matter what you look like. The only ugly people are those who cut down others because they don’t fit a certain mold. Or for any reason. But you, you are beautiful. Just like you shouldn’t cut down others, you definitely shouldn’t cut down yourself. You deserve better than that.

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