TO MY CLOSEST FRIEND,
I’m sorry for the way you grew up, for the way people closest to you hurt your self-esteem. I’m sorry that your mother wanted to control your every move, and your whole family commented on your body weight every chance they got. It’s not your fault. They wanted to control you, you were just looking for a way out. I’m sorry that you felt trapped and that bingeing and purging was the only way out of a hectic life.
“Wow, looks like you’ve lost a lot of weight, are you eating?”
“Looking a little chubby there, you should stop eating so much.”
These are just some of the statements girls around the globe hear over and over again. Comments about their bodies are constantly being thrown around by people they know and by strangers who feel the need to share their opinion. The media tells us what beauty is supposed to look like. They say that if you wear this certain perfume, lose 10 pounds, or put this wrinkle cream on your eyes, THEN you’re more beautiful, that you’ll be your best self.
Let’s take a look at some of these exacting standards.
SOCIETY’S BEAUTY STANDARDS
- Shiny, long, & strong hair
- Makeup covered face
- Stick thin body
- Soft, hair-free skin
- Acne-free face
- Wrinkle-free body
- Long eyelashes
- Thick lips
- Big boobs
- No cellulite
- Uplifted Butt
What they don’t say is how real and authentic natural beauty is, that it’s fine if you aren’t a size 0. The media doesn’t stress the importance of self-acceptance, healthy living, and individuality. They tell us to lose weight because we’ll look better and guys will be more attracted to us.
Eating disorders are the result of this pressure. People are either eating or starving themselves to death. Binge eating, Anorexia Nervosa, and Bulimia Nervosa are the top 3 eating disorders.
- It affects 20 million women and 10 million men
- 4 out of 10 people either have struggled with an eating disorder themselves or know someone who has
According to Nationaleatingdisorders.org, 42.1% of 1st-3rd-grade girls want to be thinner, and 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. 69% of elementary girls believe the magazine pictures are what beauty is supposed to look like. In other words, we are slowing killing each other.
The rates are on the rise. This is not OK. It’s never OK to body shame. When are we going to realize that something needs to change?
My two cents:
- It’s not your place to tell me how to live my life.
- What makes you think I need to look a certain way to please your standard of beautiful?
LET’S MAKE A CHANGE
How about we start celebrating and stressing health and positivity at a young age. Let’s celebrate the energy, the glow, the vitality within each and every one of us. Start to encourage activities that promote wellness, that bring out the best in each other. We need to motivate one another and lift each other up instead of making negative remarks about appearances. Once we turn to positivity, we can bring out the beauty within.
TO MY CLOSEST FRIEND,
It kills me to see you hurting. It haunts me to think of you alone, in secret trying to find a deserted bathroom to relieve your full stomach. I ache thinking about how guilty you feel for eating a slice of pizza or enjoying a piece of chocolate. The fear of becoming fat is plastered in your mind with skewed images of perfection.
But from friend to friend, let me tell you something. You’re beautiful exactly the way you are. Your weight DOESN’T define your worth. No matter what people say, you are wonderful, loved, and cherished. The way you FEEL about yourself is more important than the way you look to the outside world. Forget the media, forget the harmful opinions of those around you. Love yourself, start to see yourself for what you truly are- a human who always was and always will be beautiful and perfect just the way she is.