Why Positive Body Image Still Matters

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“We all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it.”

– Kanye West

I have never really been comfortable with my body. I’ve tried starving myself, crazy diets and puking it all up just to feel good about myself. And it never did make me feel better. Even though Dove has been canvassing that we love the skin we’re in for decades now, I never really stopped and thought: “Hey, I have a good butt.”

I was bullied a lot as a kid which forced me to stay indoors as I was too terrified to venture outside. I gained a lot of weight as I grew up as I preferred to stay inside rather than play sports. I was always terrified that no one would think I was attractive or call me pretty. But amongst those who would comment on my weight, there was always one or two who could turn my day around.

And it’s only been a few months down the line since I’ve felt that I’m actually okay with my body. Even though I am overweight, I’m cool with it. I’ll eat noodles on the floor at 3am. I’ll dance around my empty house in my underwear not caring about my lumpy physique. I have to thank the fabulous divas that came before me to make this possible. Most notably; Divine & Lena Dunham. This lady-boy and lady have bared all on the big screen and they are still fierce as fuck.

I used to be the most self-conscious person alive. I would constantly scrutinize every last inch of my skin and cry because I hated myself so much. Nowadays, I am okay with being fat & fabulous. And hey; I have a great butt.

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I don’t have a flat stomach or a tiny waist or perfect breasts but it works for me. I don’t care who is disgusted. This is who I am and I’m happy with it.

Although I’m not alone, being a teenager in Ireland is so difficult. Males and females are examined by their peers so carefully. Only the prettiest girls are plastered on the infamous “Wettest Yuss” pages on Facebook. “If you’re bigger than a size 8, you’re fat,” I overheard one day in secondary school. “Thinspo” has ruined the world. So much so that the tag on Tumblr comes with a warning:

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Beauty, like everything, is a social construct. The idea of beauty constantly changes as society moves forward. But it only seems to be moving backwards as the only things that are considered beautiful are long-haired, skinny girls with a thigh gap and gaunt faces. What is considered handsome is athletic, sallow skinned boys who resemble Hollister models.

Beauty is too subjective for one to try and say that the mainstream perception of beauty is the only way to perceive it. And men and women fail to recognize this and thrive for perfection. Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, made a statement saying that only those who fit the mainstream impression of beauty should where his clothing. He fails to recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.Some girls are bigger than others. Everyone’s body is different and it’s something we can’t really change.

You are only beautiful if you believe it yourself. Hearing it from someone else makes it all the more better.

But young people nowadays rarely believe in themselves. They just yearn to be the thinnest, the most good-looking, the most athletic. And I know it’s easier said than done to tell yourself that you are great. It took me 18 years to feel comfortable with myself. One person could call me fat anonymously online and I’d starve myself for days.

It is so important to have a positive body image in this day and age as eating disorders are still so prevalent despite the constant media attention they get. Being thin and being overweight are both beautiful; just as long as there is no health risks. Don’t let the media get the better of you.

We all have the capability to be better than these labels. No one can tell you that you are not beautiful. Beauty cannot be objective. Embrace who you are instead of celebrating the Victoria’s Secret models. We can all be ideal if we let ourselves be.

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3 thoughts on “Why Positive Body Image Still Matters

  1. Great article, really well written. Bit of a stretch to think beauty is entirely socially constructed though imo. It’s not about looking thin, it’s about looking healthy. Natural selection and whatnot says that we’re gonna want to mate with those who’ll produce good offspring. It’s an inherent part of the human psyche and yes, certain aspects are transitory, but not all. Anyway you’re nowhere close to fat, and fair play to you for saying what you feel. 🙂

    • Well what I was trying to get at was that there is an archetypal vision of beauty which is socially constructed and is ingrained into everyone’s minds but we choose to either accept or oppose it. Thank you for taking the time to read this 🙂

      • No bother at all. Yeah I get what you’re saying alright. Makes me think of Brad Pitt in fight club when he nods towards the picture of the underwear model and says ‘Is that how we’re supposed to look?’ Hypocritical perhaps because he is an underwear model but . . . anyway, if more people could resist the messages on body image we’re being force fed I reckon we’d all be a lot happier.

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