Let’s Not: A Post About Body Images

Oh man.

I have seen so many articles lately on body image and weight, and I am getting annoyed with how EVERYONE IS MISSING THE POINT.

It started with this picture floating around Facebook a few years ago…

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(We’ll just ignore the glaring punctuational error in the picture for the time being.)

And then with the comments on the “World’s Ugliest Woman” video, of a woman who was naturally born unable to gain weight and only weighed 65 pounds, that read “You’re not real,” and “You’re too thin,” and “Why don’t you kill yourself?”…

The slogan that’s currently running around the Internet claiming that “only real women have curves”…

And then, most recently, these t-shirts that Sophia Bush is selling as a campaign against Urban Outfitter’s new t-shirt that read, “Eat Less”…

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I have an objection to these.

I understand where this is coming from, but it’s honestly missing the point.

I think these commentaries would be noble and uplifting to banish insecurities in girls, if nobody was a size 0 and the only people that were went to extreme measures to get there.

But, let’s be honest. That’s NOT the case. It’s not. 0 IS a size. 0 is the size I and many others wear.

These things make me feel like my size is some sort of crime, and something that I should be ashamed of, because I naturally fit into Hollywood’s requirement of “beauty”. I have a tall dad and a thin mom. I got the tall and thin genes. That’s the story. Many girls’ stories are like mine, and they have naturally high metabolisms and fight to keep the weight on. Many other girls’ stories are on the opposite end, and they have low metabolisms and fight to keep the weight off. And most girls fall somewhere in between.

My question is…why does this matter so much?

Seriously. Are we actually listening to Hollywood to tell us how to look? 

And don’t give me “Oh I don’t listen to Hollywood at all” because, unless you don’t ever pick up magazines in grocery stores or own a television or computer, you are subject to it. Ads are everywhere. Little insinuating slogans are everywhere, telling you how you SHOULD look.

“Maybe she’s born with it….maybe it’s Maybelline.” 
Meaning, she could have natural beauty, but it’s more probable that she’s wearing our makeup brand and THAT’S why she’s beautiful.

“Kiss your thin lips goodbye.”
Because thin lips are clearly the ugliest things in the universe and should be done away with.

“For that feminine look you always wanted.”
You have never had the capacity to look feminine before, but with our beauty products, don’t worry, YOU CAN NOW.

And, the winner of all, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
This one is horrible enough to forgo an explanation.

These are all horrible, because (I wish I could make the font bigger) YOU DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO HOLLYWOOD TO BE BEAUTIFUL. YOU JUST DON’T. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE THIN. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE TAN. YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE STRAIGHT WHITE TEETH. YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE HUGE EYES/NOTICEABLE CHEEKBONES/BOOBS/WHATEVER IT IS YOU THINK YOU NEED.

I know you can feel insecure about your perceived shortcomings. Heaven knows I have felt that way a million times over. I’ve been through times in my life where I’ve just wanted a face transplant, and to be shorter, and to weigh 20 pounds more, and to have straight hair, and to have no freckles. These things, you want them to change so badly that it feels like a need. It truly can.

It can feel that way because we think there’s something on the other end of all of it. If I just lost that bit of weight, that boy would like me. If I was a little more muscular and strong, I’d be more popular. If I just had longer eyelashes, people would compliment me like they complimented Whatsherface over there. 

Friends, this is a road I have walked down in its entirety. My three years of high school were all years of tweaking my appearance and personality, trying to find the magical cure for insecurity. Ninth grade was a year of straightening my hair daily, wearing head-to-toe Abercrombie & Fitch, and flirting my way into a relationship with a popular guy. Tenth grade was getting back into being girly and wearing all these miniskirts and heels so I basically felt super uncomfortable all the time. Eleventh grade was maturing – deciphering the puzzle of looking modest and cute at the same time, cutting all my hair off, and forgoing heels because I was taller than most of the boys when I wore them. 

And…to Hollywood standards…it worked. I still remember the day I hit 100 likes on a profile picture (side rant: Why is getting LIKES ON A PICTURE a basis of self-worth? It’s people you know sitting at their computers and clicking a button. I mean. Not a big deal. I’m kind of ashamed of myself that this was a thing.). I used to get happy just because people commented on my pictures:

Omg flawless!
You’re sooooooooo pretty!
You look like [insert famous person here]!
Perfection!

And it made me super happy, until…it didn’t. I remember looking at myself in a mirror once during school, on a day when I didn’t have time to plan my outfit or put on makeup, and I was just wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, and I thought, ew. GOSH I’m ugly. Why is anyone talking to me today? I look hideous.

Girl with 100+ likes on a profile picture. Hating herself in the mirror. That’s when I got off my high horse and realized that succumbing to the world’s standards didn’t actually make me any happier, nor did I feel any prettier. Listening to the beauty slogans did not equate to my happiness and well-being. Contrary to popular belief.

It doesn’t equate to happiness because they have it wrong. They think there’s an archetype for beauty, that there’s one size that should fit all and those that can’t attain it are ugly and wrong. That’s what needs to get debunked. Beauty comes in all sizes. Beauty comes in size 0 and beauty also comes in size 4 and size 8 and size 10 and size 16. 

You are the size you are, and you are lovely in the size that you are. If you’re healthy and curvy, you are lovely. If you are healthy and stick-thin, you are also lovely. THIS is the point we are kind of missing here, with the pictures I posted at the beginning.

There has been terrible unfairness to bigger girls. There has been, and it’s been caused by Hollywood’s beauty standards. It’s just flat-out depressing to see some of my friends try to come up with excuses for their size, or obsess about going to the gym, or begin to skip meals and attempt survival on celery and soda. These things break my heart, and I am 100% for campaigns that put the unfairness to an end, like this ad campaign from Debenham’s. I mean, how lovely are they? 

Campaigns that I am 100% AGAINST, however, are bigger girls deciding to belittle smaller girls because of the unjustness they’ve experienced. Making the unfairness go full circle. It’s like bullying – the bully has been bullied, so the bully bullies. Hurt people hurt people. 

Let’s not.

Let’s change this cycle. Let’s start believing that ALL girls have the potential to be quite beautiful, no matter what their size is. Let’s start believing that both types of women in the first picture are beautiful. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It doesn’t. You have the body you’ve been given, and you look lovely in it. That’s the end of it. Stop trying to drop a size. Unfollow the Tumblr anorexia blogs. Don’t compare yourself to other girls, and don’t be jealous of HOLLYWOOD, for crying out loud. They undergo unbelievable diets and workouts and surgeries, just to look a certain way for the camera. You don’t have to put yourself through that. It’s something to be thankful for.

Just…be careful on how you perceive others and compare yourself to them. Actually, just DON’T compare yourself to others. You’ll be much more at peace. Pretty looks different on you than it does on them. Don’t get yourself into a self-image rut.

(also, side note – I have been on the receiving end of comments like “You’re so skinny. I hate you.” and they’re just plain awkward. I don’t know what to say. “Thanks…for hating me…?” And also, skinny doesn’t need to be a compliment/something to strive for. As this long ramble post has been saying.)

We are the way we are.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
-Psalm 139:13-14

(SPOILER ALERT: God is perfect so He doesn’t make mistakes. You aren’t ugly. God made you, and He saw you, and He said you are very good. He makes good works.)

And let’s just be kind to each other. No matter what size we are.

Thanks for reading, if you made it through that long rant. ^_^

-e

P. S. Here are some other blog posts on this subject! They are greatness!
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11601/hey-not-all-real-women-have-curves.html
http://victoriaashhleyy.tumblr.com/post/72725654299/i-went-to-the-mall-today

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Not: A Post About Body Images

  1. That was really well said. I have to agree with you. People are all different sizes and shouldn’t be singled out because they fit in a certain category. I think it keeps getting harder and harder for girls and women because we have this idea of what perfect is supposed to be and if we don’t fit the mold then there’s obviously something wrong with us. It is tough and I feel bad for the young girls growing up in it. Thanks for posting!

  2. Wow. This is what I needed to hear, especially on a day where I’m feeling too skinny. A comment on Sophia Bush’s ad campaign: at first, it made me really mad to see that what she’s promoting may make skinny girls feel unnatural, but my mom reminded me that clothing sizes have changed over the years. The fashion industry has made things so hard on women. In actuality, 20 years ago 0 was not a size. While I don’t support the “0 is not a size” campaign, that gives me some perspective… And that’s coming from someone who wears a size 0 today.

    1. Phebe – I had that conversation with my mom too! Small world. (: She said all the sizes went down numerically by 4 because they thought it would make people feel better to wear smaller-sounding sizes. Knowing that definitely made me less annoyed about it in general.

  3. Thank you!! Also, the wave of strong not skinny ads are hard for me… Some of us have other priorities than working out an hour a day. The standards are rocket high, and little emphasis is put on cultivating the heart.

    I wrote a post a while ago about some things I had been learning that helped me sort through ads/photos online: http://causeforjoy.com/2012/08/13/beautiful-disinformation/ Trying to appreciate beauty when you see it, but also putting it in it’s proper place. Thanks for adding to the conversation 🙂

    1. Marli, you’re welcome! I agree, those ads tend to get to me too…while being healthy is important, sowing love should definitely take precedence.
      I will definitely read that! I so enjoy your blog. (:

  4. Reblogged this on "As you wish" means "I love you" and commented:
    This is a post from one of my friends with incredible things to say. I think we are influenced so much by Hollywood and the media in general, and we can’t seem to go anywhere to escape that influence. We get the message: skinny = beautiful, not skinny = sorry keep trying. But God has created us in His image, and made us each special with our own personalities and interests and bodies. While I believe that skinny is not the goal, being healthy is important so that we can live our lives in a way pleasing to the one who made us. Enjoy!

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