For many young women, body image is a scary subject. Throughout a woman’s life, her body will be judged and objectified and she will see what her culture and media thinks what the perfect body should be like. Body image and self-esteem are related and one highly effects the other. With all of this going on, is it really even possible to love your body?To understand the extent of this problem that women have with body image, here is some statistics on the issue, thanks to Miss Representation.
Stats can say a great deal about the validity of the situation. But this is more than just numbers. Each situation is very personal, and you can learn many things from one’s personal story. Thus, I will share a little about my body image story and how I gained pride in my body.
There are 3 parts to this story, which can be defined as my skin, my hair, and my weight.
Like many people, I have a birth mark. However, my birthmark is very large compared to most, covering most of my arm and chest. Now, elementary school kids have no filter and will say whatever comes to mind, even if it is remarks about another student’s appearance. As a 7 year old, I was hiding my body from kids so they wouldn’t make comments about my birthmark, which meant wearing long sleeve shirts in Southern California in August. Somehow I got over this, but now when someone asks “What’s that?” and points to my arm, I remember 7 year old me wearing sweatshirts in the desert. Now, I don’t fear showing it, because it makes me unique and special and different than everyone else in some little way.
I am a brunette…now. I was born a natural blonde, which look great when I was a little kid. But as I grew up, the blonde wasn’t bright and vibrant anymore, which caused people to judge. In middle school, I made the decision to dye my hair, and have been dying it ever since. The original reason was probably caused by mean middle school girls, but today it is because I like being a brunette. I have reclaimed my hair to look how I want it, and make changes however I see fit.
This is the hardest part for many women and their body image. Like many, I am not model skinny, or probably even considered thin by cultural standards. I’ve had my weight fluctuate a lot between high school and now. One day, clothes fit fine and the next I can’t even get them on. It is a never-ending struggle, but I never see a huge problem with my weight until someone points it out.
Being proud of your body is a process and is never-ending. Pride will fluctuate depending on circumstances. But if you can look in the mirror in the morning and be happy with the way you look, then you’ve made a huge step towards body pride. Love the body you have, not the body you crave.