I think if we were all meant to have the same body, we would be the same person.
Obviously that doesn’t always make it easy to accept one’s body, but I think it’s a good mindset to have, particularly when media are permeated with images of stick-thin models. I realize blaming the media for girls’ and women’s poor self-image is common, but I think it’s common for a reason: it’s true.
I was talking with a friend about the show Call the Midwife, and she said, “There are people on that show who look like people I know.” It struck me not only just how true that statement was, but rather, how true its opposite was: how the actors on American shows look so much unlike people I know. Even high-school students have pristine hair and make-up and look about 30. And if you grow up watching that, you assume that’s how 16-year-olds are supposed to look. With such false advertising, it’s no wonder girls today by and large have poor body image, and from increasingly younger and younger ages. They’re waiting to reach that age when they’ll achieve that perfect look – or have the means to attempt to purchase it.
I haven’t fallen under the “skinny” category since I was about 12. I was like the hypothetical girls I just wrote about, believing at 15 or 16 I’d suddenly grow a few inches, shed some pounds, and have a body I loved. And I’ve learned that concern over body image doesn’t end with high school.
But rather than dwell on that, I do what I can control: I eat (relatively) healthily, I exercise when I feel like it and I wear clothes that I feel good in. I could do more in the first two departments, sure, but I don’t let it dictate my life. And I sure as hell don’t do it for anyone but myself.
Regarding image, I think wearing what builds confidence within you is so important. If the size of the shirt bothers you, cut off the tag. For some, it might be a new haircut or experimenting with make-up. If you feel good about yourself, it will show, and that’s what people will notice, not your size. I know that sounds like a platitude, but it’s true.
And now, to end on a positive note, I leave you with Kate Winslet: