See what I did there? Ha ha. Sometimes I can be pretty punny..
Anywho. Well, I guess I have debated this blog post for a couple days, and I figure that if I’m going to keep a public blog about myself, I may as well get into some of the personal stuff. So, here goes..
I have been battling with weight and body image issues for quite some time. Some of it has been unwarranted, while some of it has been my own fault.
No, I am not saying that I’m obese; I’m not. I am roughly in the healthy weight range for my age and height, maybe a little over. (‘m not going to tell you specifics of my weight or BMI, because frankly, that’s just asking for all sorts of comments I don’t want or need.) I fluctuate often with my weight and my fitness abilities, due to switching back and forth from periods of motivation to periods of laziness. It just happens. I won’t make excuses for myself, because it is what it is; my body image and my diet and exercise choices are for me, myself and I to figure out on my own, thank you.
I am saying, however, that society puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on women today. There’s this overwhelming pressure to constantly look good; not just when it comes to fashion, but when it comes to weight and body types. Small waists, the ever-so-mythical thigh gap, being “big where it counts”–we’ve all heard these things for years. Media is constantly putting these things in the minds of young girls at a consistently younger and younger age as the years progress.
Now. I’m not going to make one of those sweeping generalizations, like “all females are effected negatively by the way media portrays women,” or “every girl wants to be thin and fit.” I will say, that for the most part, women, especially younger women, do want to look and feel good about themselves. That is my experience, at least. For some women that comes easy. For others, it does not.
I can recall at the age of six sitting in my driveway and noticing that my legs jiggled a little bit when I moved them. I remember then calling myself the “f-word”; fat.
This is the part where I really wish I had a photo to prove that I wasn’t fat at a young age. All those photos are packed away in a box somewhere at my mom’s house. I’ll just have to trust that my audience will take my word for it — I was a thin, very healthy girl at that age, and for my entire childhood I was quite thin actually, thanks to a childhood where I was encouraged consistently to eat healthy and have plenty of physical activityin my daily routine. But, that’s not exactly my point. My point is: What little girl should be calling herself fat? What little girl should be looking at herself with such a judgmental lens while she is still in the single-digits age-wise? None! (Unless she really is obese due to poor eating choices…again, not quite my point.)
The point of this post is not exactly to point out that some families do not raise children to be healthy and active, though that is the case. Some children grow up to be young adults that have positive body images of themselves, whether or not they fit the healthy or skinny body type. The point of this post, however, is to say that I personally think media has way too much of an influence on peoples’ self-images. (That and an abundance or lack of a nurturing environment — again, not my point).
Let’s face it; some girls are fortunate enough to be born with the unattainable thigh gap, while some work their butts off (quite literally) trying to achieve it. Small waists with wider hips? Some women cannot attain an hourglass figure, especially if the genes just aren’t there. Just because you don’t have one criteria from the superficial “perfect woman appearance” checklist does not mean you should be written off as unattractive.
I’m not going to end this with a promise that “from this day on I’m going to do this and that to fix myself/my body image” or “I’m going to boycott media” or “I’m going to boycott any products that promote such outrageous notions that women need to be perfect.” Let’s be real; I watch way too much television and I’m an avid consumer. I will end this, however, by saying that us 20-something women need to stop listening to those commercials. Because, at the end of the day, when you turn those commercials off (really, do it), you are stuck with yourself. You, and you alone, are the only opinion that truly matters. Do what makes you happy. If you want to eat healthy, exercise and look better, then do it for yourself. Don’t do it because every model featured in the latest fashion magazines looks like an airbrushed, photoshopped goddess(..oh wait…that’s exactly what they are…hmm..). Do it because you deserve true happiness, regardless of what number the scale reads or whether or not your thighs touch. When you can finally look in the mirror and say you are happy with the way you are, then you know you are doing it right. You need to take control of your own life and your own body. Because you, my friend, are beautiful, just the way you are.