I don’t remember when I learned to loathe what I saw in the mirror. I’ve been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out what the exact moment was when the girl I saw staring back at me was no longer good enough. The only memory that really sticks out was the day I snuck a peak at MTV while my parents were outside doing yard work. This was the first time I had seen a music video and it was, “Toxic” by Brittany Spears.
I remember that being the first time I saw a woman sexualized, because up until that point the raciest thing I’d seen was Kim Possible and her black crop top. Though I may not know what exactly kick-started my problem with body image, I do know that in fourth grade I wrapped three scarves around my stomach, cutting off circulation, so that I could look thinner. I was ten years old.
In middle school I tried the bulimic route, and to this day I still have problems feeling full after a meal. My brain resorts to the purge instinct, and I have to remind myself that full does not equal fat. Some days are easier than others.
I quit the purge cycle in high school and opted for a tighter solution, Spanx. For two years I wore Spanx every single day and I can’t imagine the physical damage it caused. It’s been this way for ten years, always trying new ways to change my body. The sad thing is this was never about getting healthy and hopefully losing weight. It was all about looking thin. I wanted to look like the girls society called beautiful.
Yes, you can argue that the beauty standards are changing, and what was considered beautiful ten years ago is not the same today. But here’s the thing, the problem isn’t the standard, the problem is the fact that we still buy into the idea that beauty is based off appearance. I’m all about celebrating curves and Lord knows when, “Anaconda” came out I played it on repeat for a week, but we are still glorifying a specific body type.
If you are like me, then when you read this post there was a specific girl who came to mind when you read, “girls society called beautiful.” I wonder, do you think the girl you thought of would think of herself if she read this post? I would wager no.
Friends and family can come and go, but your body is the one thing you are stuck with your entire life. Why don’t we treat it nicer? Why are we obsessed with contorting our bodies to look a certain way instead of learning to live comfortably with the one we are given? I want to see society rally around a concept of body positivity that doesn’t promote certain assets over others.
Yes, curves can be sexy. Flat stomachs can be sexy. But do you know what’s sexier than both of these traits? Confidence. Accepting your body and loving it, is far sexier than any physical trait. Feel yourself, and don’t be sorry. You are beautiful.