Like many girls, I grew up wishing I was skinny. My parents helped destroy my self image by praising the sisters who were skinny and criticizing the sisters that were the least bit overweight. As a kid that grew up in the 90s, the images I was surrounded by were of tall, lanky, athletic (verging on anorexic) models and this became my ideal of what is beautiful.
I am the complete opposite of these “beautiful” people. I wasn’t exceptionally tall or lanky and my curves were anything but athletic. Sure I have a smaller waist but my legs and thighs are massive in comparison. And so I developed an unhealthy dislike towards my body. I knew deep down that no matter how much I worked out or denied myself foods, I would never be as “beautiful” as those models.
Now, I’m seeing a shift in what society considers “beautiful”. It’s all about the hips and the big asses and boobs. It’s all about the curves, as long as they’re in the right places. The ideal beauty now has an incredibly small waist and encredibly large breasts and bottom. And though I fit more under this ideal than the ideal of the 90s, I still find myself hating my body.
I truly believe that the “beauty standards” of the world have nothing to do with making women feel beautiful and empowered, but more to do with making us feel like we’re rats in a maze always out of time trying to find the prize that is a skinner and prettier you.
These unattainable standards are destroying women. We have grown mistrustful of one another- she’s prettier or uglier than me. We’ve become more critical- what the hell is she wearing? We’ve become too judgmental of one another- she’s a slut!
I know of many women who don’t tend to have close female friends because they’re too “catty” and “full of drama”. I wonder if our beauty standards have any role to play in this phenomena.
I really doubt I’m the only one who’s had these thoughts. And I feel that if we don’t do something now, we’ll continue on this women hating trajectory to the point that our daughters daughters will all but hate and mistrust one another.
I refuse to believe that women have always been this way.
And it’s not just about the weight or body type that we obsess over. It’s also our hair, our skin, our features, our voice, maybe even our thoughts. Are we, as women, just highly conscious of our beings or was this implanted into our psyche through our environment? I have no idea. And to be honest, it’s really wearing on me.
I spent the better part of today, refusing to allow myself to think negatively about any aspect of myself. And it’s hard. And I Just barely succeeded. It doesn’t help that I’m back to my heaviest weight, my hair won’t grow, I’m bloated and have broken out in zits all over my face and chest. But I refuse to allow myself to obsess over any of this. I’ve had enough. I have to accept my body, the sensitivity of my skin, the stubbornness of my hair and the fact that as a woman my body likes to do crazy things like get bloated.
I have to live in this body for the rest of my life. It’s time I treat it like a friend and not a prisoner.
We have to interact with one another keeping that in mind. We didn’t choose our body shapes, we didn’t choose our skin or our hair, we didn’t choose our physical features. We decide what is most important to us and go about our lives focused on that (whether it’s our beauty, careers, families or a mixture of all). It’s time to be more accepting and loving towards our fellow women. Kick the judgement, the criticizing, the mistrust, the hate to the curb.