After 24 years of life, I’ve heard just about every complaint a woman can have about her body. Whether it was from my best friends, girls in my sorority, family members, or complete strangers, I’ve heard women say a lot of terrible things about themselves – myself included. A vocabulary of hate/disgust/shame is practically handed to us on a silver platter as girls, and most ladies will – at some point in their lives - use this dialog to bring themselves down. Self-degradation is so ridiculously common; even some of the strongest, most confident women I know berate themselves for not being skinny enough, having bad skin, having weird boobs…the list goes on and on and on. When we don’t live up to the images we see online, in movies, in magazines, in our own minds, we become destructive – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A few things I have a history of beating myself up over:
My figure - I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for the bodies of my curvier friends!
Things I’ve watched beautiful, wonderful women beat themselves up over:
Their thighs, hips, and booty
Their skin, freckles, and birthmarks
We then take these traits and smash them together with things viewed as “negative.”
Thin, bland hair
Boyish, stick-like figure
Thighs that touch, large hips and a big booty
Dark, mousy brown hair
You get the idea.
But my question is – why the hell are all of these attributes (and other traits) seen as negative? Because some super model on a magazine cover has thick, blonde hair, a tiny waist, ginormous breasts, and perfectly tanned skin?
Who made that the ideal image of beauty? Who decided on that? The consumers? The male population? Women? The magazine’s editor?
I don’t care who it was/is. What matters is that WE make the decision to stop viewing a very narrow selection of attributes as beautiful. Big hips are just as positive and beautiful as a more boyish frame. Blonde hair, brown hair, purple hair – it’s all fucking rad.
It devastates me that women attach so much negativity to the very things that make them beautiful. I hate hearing girls lament their so-called “flaws” – hell, that self-degradation makes up a good portion of most gals conversations. If I had a kitten for every time my girlfriends and I sat around and mourned all the things we hate about ourselves I’d be a crazy cat lady by now (which would actually be fine since I love cats). Besides, shouldn’t we be putting a heck of lot more emphasis on what’s on the inside? Why can’t we sit around and talk about how emphatic, hilarious, and quirky we are?
So, along with my mission to make February a month of self-love, I also want to make an effort to stop the trash talking. Whenever I feel the urge to say something bad about myself (or anyone else for that matter), I’m going to stop myself and replace it with something positive.
I’m hoping that – by the end of the month – I’ll have replaced the hurtful habit of berating myself with a new vocabulary of positivity and confidence.
I’m going to start right now and list three fabulous things about myself:
My pink hair is totally fun and cute and suits my personality.
My legs have gotten super strong from working out and taking barre classes.
I’m opinionated and sweetly fierce – I’m not afraid to stand up for my beliefs!
Okay, your turn!
(The following photos are actually from several different shoots. I did a whole photo spread called "Glamour Kills" in college, and when I stumbled across those photos earlier, I realized that they'd fit together perfectly with several pictures I took earlier this year - and this post. I think they capture the desperation we, as women, often feel to fit a certain "desirable" and "beautiful" mold, and the sadness and self-loathing that occur because of such permeating, damaging ideas.)