This is a problem. One that needs to be addressed.
I have an unshakeable memory of a moment in my life. A moment when my ObGyn suggested I see a therapist because she thought I might be depressed. The therapist was a woman in her late 50’s. And I’ll live a million years and never forget the way she looked at me as she spoke the words no emotional healer should dare utter to someone that might be on the verge of depression – “Imagine being at an interview. You and another girl are the last two contenders. You’re both equally talented. There’s only one difference. She’s thin and glamorous. You’re.. Well, you. Who do you think they’ll choose, sweetheart?”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wondered if that was true. I’ve wondered if I’d lose my dream job because of the way I look. I developed an inner fear towards interviews because of her. And you know what the problem is?
She’s just one of the many, many people in this world who, everyday of their lives, continue to make girls feel this way. Like they’re not enough. Like their physical characteristics are flaws that will haunt the dreams they’re building in their minds.
Why does a size 0 swimsuit model still feel fat? Why does Queen Bee feel the need to photoshop her thigh gap? Why does the covergirl on a magazine claim to be make-up free when every inch of her skin is carefully airbrushed?
Have you ever been so uncomfortable in your own skin that you’d pay a man thousands of dollars to alter it? To look in the mirror and want features that aren’t yours. Her nose. Her hair. Her cheekbones. For what?!
The 70’s boasted women who are now considered too fat to have a life. Bigger women were considered beautiful then. A new mother’s pregnancy fat is considered a disgrace now.
I was having a conversation today and suddenly, something struck me as ridiculously abnormal. When taking a picture with a friend, it is no longer important that only you look good. The person with you has to look that good as well. A human being no longer makes a friend based on emotional attitudes. They’re solely formed on the physical characteristics. He looks decent. He’ll make it look like I have decent friends. She looks hot. She’ll make me look so cool. If I take pictures with them, I’ll get more Instagram followers. This narcissism fuels the concept of “Look Good, Feel Good.”
Fifteen pictures later, there’s always that one person who comments, “Who’s your friend? She’s hot!” And just like that, out of nowhere, your insecurity appears. You stare at your mirror and you see flaws. The girl with a happy-go-lucky smile finds that nonexistent flab and picks at it. Workouts. Fitbits. Walk more. Eat less. Smoothen your hair. Get side bangs. Curl it in the bottom. A Brazillian wax. Inch after inch, your body is carved to the world’s concept of perfection when it is anything but. Only, it’s no longer called an obsession. It’s called “Being Healthy.”
Have you ever stopped long enough to wonder why the men, who’ve always spoken about a “thinner” woman, are suddenly asking for more meat in their women?
It was a few days after the floods hit my city. We were finally out of our houses and in a safer, more drier part of the city. My mother looked at me and said, “I realize now that maybe it’s okay for you to be fat. Some people are meant to be the way they are. You’ve really helped at a moment of crisis. I think you should stay as you are. You’re a nice person.”
I smiled. Not because I’d received a compliment. But because my mother had finally understood something the world is teaching girls to forget.
It does not matter how you look. Nobody cares if you’ve got a thigh gap. Kylie Jenner’s lips are NOT real or natural. Who you are to the world is not about promoting the beauty you possess on the outside.
It is embracing who you are within. It is feeling like a million dollars on your worst day. It is knowing that you’re worth something because you’re kind. Because you’re caring. Because you think and act with your heart.
I don’t want to raise a daughter in a world where the person she turns to for help is going to teach her what that person believes are her flaws.I don’t want to let my sister live in a world where she feels the need to walk up and down the stairs because she ate a slice of pizza. I don’t want my mother to know that the world she’s leaving us with is polluting our brains with everything we’re not. I don’t want my grandmother to ever hear about how, if she were twenty today, she wouldn’t make the cut. Because her beautiful soul will never make as much sense as the perfect winged eyeliner, the close to nothing stomach and an unhealthy waistline.
Who you are today is everything your daughter will live through tomorrow. Is this really the world you want to create for her? Is this the example you want to set?
Because I’d like to believe that somewhere behind those fake eyelashes are eyes filled with tears at the inability to be who you are. And I’d like to hope that this post is telling you it’s okay. It’s okay to not fit in. It’s okay to have thighs that stick together. It’s okay to not have an hourglass figure. It’s okay if your nose looks weird. It’s okay if your cheeks are chubby. It’s okay if your chin looks doubled.
It’s okay. Because that imaginary standard they’re setting? That will go out of fashion within the next decade and all this energy you’ve spent fitting into that stereotype will become pointless. But a good heart? A kind soul? That will always matter. That will always stay in fashion.
So take a deep breath and wipe that makeup off. It’s time to stand up for who you are.
#IStandUp for You.
Who’re you standing up for?!