My Body Image Issues
I cannot remember ever really liking my body. I always had an issue with the way I looked. I was pretty slim growing up, and I was super conscious of that. As I approached adolescence and my body started changing, I became even more self-conscious if I wore certain clothing, I would have my hands defensively folded in front of me. It’s like I was guarding myself, which made the situation worse because it would generally draw more attention.
I am not sure where the whole body image thing came from for me. I cannot remember my household ever making a big deal about it. So maybe, it was an external force like the TV or magazines. As a teenager, I remember being a major fan of seventeen magazine, and most of the girls in the magazine were stick thin with the cutest belly buttons that they sported so confidently. Their hair and makeup were always in place. I always wanted to be like those girls. What’s strange is I had the same size as them, but in my mind, I could get slimmer to be more like them.
The Responsibility of Media
Movies, commercials, magazines, and most media outlets are responsible for the insecurities women have about their bodies. I know some people would disagree but if that is the dominant image in your mind of what the perfect body image should look like and you don’t think you fit into that category, therein lies insecurities.
My New Body Image Outlook
I started loving my body after having children. It took me a while too. I would look back at pictures when I was younger and long to have that body I was so insecure about at that time. After each pregnancy, I would work hard and get back into clothing that fit me prepregnancy, but I was still not satisfied. Then one day, I looked in the mirror and decided to accept this vessel that houses my essence. I am a mom of four, and I have changed, and change is inevitable. I felt like I lost so much time hating myself when I was younger, so now the rest of the time I have, I will love the aging me and all the stretch marks that are in tow.
There is NO Perfect Body Image
There is no such thing as the perfect body image. We have to learn to love the skin we are in; we are all beautiful. There are so many different body types, and what is classified as beauty changes from era to era. There was a time when a curvy woman was highly sought after, then it changed to thin, and then back to thin with a mix of curvy. How can we keep up with these so-called benchmarks of beauty? I am happy to see more representation of every body type on the runways, advertisements, and TV; representation matters.
I have three daughters, and I do not want them to have these insecurities. There is so much living to do; I want them to do all of it without worrying about belly buttons, waistlines, butts, thigh spaces, and all the other crap that comes with what society deems as beauty. When they look at their mama, they must see a woman who is comfortable in the skin she’s in, and they hopefully will emulate that.
A Few Tips
To all my womenfolk out there, remember this:
- You are amazing just the way you are
- Many of the images on social media are airbrushed
- Do not use superficial beauty standards to determine your worth
- Make healthy choices and exercise as much as you can rather than dieting and crashing
- Wear clothes that you are comfortable in
- Tell yourself daily something you like about you
- Avoid comparing yourself to others
- Beauty is more than physical appearance
- Spend time with people who are comfortable with their appearances
- Focus on something else other than what you do not like about yourself
In a world of selfies and filters, there is much more to you than meets the eye. Body image issues can lead to eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Most people highlighting what is wrong with us have tons of insecurities themselves. Shut out the chatter and start the process of learning to love yourself. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; the perfect body image, according to the standards that are force-fed to us, does not exist.