DAY 10 – Write about something for which you feel strongly
I feel strongly about lots of things in life from helping prevent poverty, animal cruelty and homelessness to the more mundane things in life such as cyclists not being allowed on main roads and older drivers having to retake their test every 10 years.
Something I feel really strongly about though has got to be positive body image. I know some people might say ‘yeah but you’re slim, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ but there’s still so much pressure. Not just pressure to be slim but to appear ‘attractive’, whatever your version of that may be.
There are so many young girls and guys who aren’t confident about their body shape because their stomach isn’t flat enough, they have bad acne, wide hips or big thighs. We see these as flaws because the typical image portrayed in the media of us is one of perfection. Men and women in magazines don’t have even a hint of a stomach, their skin is flawless and their body is in great shape. These people aren’t real, they’re just there to look good. The so-called ‘flaws’ I mentioned above are what makes us human.
Pressure also comes from looking good for other people. There are young girls out there who are obsessed with getting a boyfriend. They think that unless they look like a Kardashian and fit in with the persona of the online world, then boys won’t be attracted to them. Boys won’t mind if you turn up in your trackies with no make up on. It doesn’t make you any less attractive! I get that physical looks are what draws people to like one another but it’s not the only factor.
Make up is a confidence booster. I get that too, in fact I think that’s great. I love how creative people get with make up and am in awe at how well some people can apply it. I just don’t think we need to use it to cover up imperfections.
Then there’s comparing yourself to others who are more ‘beautiful’ than yourself. I think there’s pressure for girls to have good fashion sense and I know we occasionally think that our friends wore it better but why can’t we just accept that maybe we do look good? We always want something we don’t have; that’s why. I’m definitely guilty of it. We’re all so used to the instant gratification of going ‘I want that so I’m going to have it’. (Well most of us are) that the ability to transform ourselves seems limitless.
For example, I dyed my hair because I wasn’t happy with the way it looked. I probably shouldn’t have because I now have to redo the roots at least 5 times a year. I could have kept my original colour. It really wasn’t awful but I felt pressured to look good. To be attractive, to have boys say ‘yeah, she’s hot’, to have my friends and family compliment me on how nice it looked and to have strangers secretly thinking they could have it like me. Shallow I know but I bet I’m not the only one.
I’ve started going to the gym this year. I’ve kept it up so far but I can’t help wondering that maybe on some unconscious level, I’m going because I think I should. I do actually enjoy it most of the time but I, like many others, focus on parts of my body I want to improve.
Let’s not be so hard on ourselves and maybe not learn to love, but like our bodies. To not compare but empower others and accept what we’ve got. Here’s to giving yourself a break.