Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great hump day so far!
Today I thought I would talk to you all about something near and dear to my heart: Self-love and healthy body image. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot the last couple of days. This past week, I was at my bae Target picking up a few groceries (I went in for milk, just milk mind you, and left with a pair of pants, a sweater, a package or Oreos and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But forgot the milk. Every. Time.) when I ran into a mother and daughter who were also doing some shopping. As I was perusing the clearance rack, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation that this mother was having with her young daughter. On numerous occasions, the girl would pick out a super cute top or a pair of pants, asking for her mother’s opinion on how it would look or if she should get it, and numerous times the mother would reply with remarks that truly made my heart sink.
“Are you sure you want this shirt, honey? It’s really not all that flattering on you.”
“You might want to hold off on those skinny jeans until you lose those last few pounds.”
Um, excuse me. WHAT?!
First of all, this young girl was absolutely beautiful! She had a smile that could light up a room and a sparkle in her eye that was undeniable. Secondly, no one should ever, EVER talk to another person like this, especially a mother to her own daughter! EVER! As a parent, as a human being, we should strive to bring each other up, to build our confidence and teach self-love and respect. That we are more than the number on a scale, the size of a pair of pants or the shape of our bodies. I really wish I would have had the courage to say something to this lady, to tell her the damage that she could potentially be doing to her amazing daughter, but in that moment, I was too shocked to really formulate a complete thought.
Body image issues have been prevalent in our culture for a very long time, but I think it has gotten a lot worse within the last few years, especially with young girls and women. Everywhere we look–whether it be in magazines, on television, in the movies or even opinions from mother’s who are uneducated, insensitive and naïve– there is this ideal, this crazy, unobtainable and unhealthy ideal that is continuously getting shoved in our faces. The terrible thing is this “ideal” is perpetuated as something we all should strive to obtain if we want to be successful, loved, happy.
Young girls see these images and hear these messages. Some stand up for who they are, not giving in to this warped mindset of what beauty is, but sadly, a lot of girls and women (and even men) fail to recognize how truly amazing they really are. They start picking apart the color of their hair, the freckles on their face or the size of their waistbands. They begin to work out hours everyday, restrict what they eat and begin this dangerous comparison trap, asking themselves if they are or will ever be good enough. As someone who has struggled with my self confidence and body, I know that finding a healthy balance and learning to really love, respect and accept myself for the amazing and kiss-ass young woman that I am was and still is not an easy process. It’s something that I have to continually work on, reminding myself of all the things I love about myself instead of focusing on the things I don’t.
I have been following Katie H. Wilcox now for a while and am continually amazed and inspired by her messages of self-acceptance, positive body image and health. She is the founder of Healthy is the New Skinny, a campaign that is challenging not only how the media portrays beauty, but also our own motives and mindset. This campaign actively reaches out to high schools across the country through their PUP program (Perfectly Unperfected Project), challenging the way our culture views beauty and building self-esteem and self-confidence in these young and impressionable girls. I want to give miss Wilcox a giant bear hug for the work she has done, and continues to do, raising awareness about how skewed our cultural ideals are and sending messages of how important it is to be kind to yourself, be proud of who you are and to love every inch of who you have grown to be.
Sure, there are some days when I look in the mirror and do not think, “I woke up like this.” There are days where my hair decides to have an attitude of its own, days where I feel fat and bloated, days where I just am not feeling good about myself. But you know what, it’s days like these that I have to think the exact opposite! We are all beautiful, strong and have so much to give this world, give to each other, and more importantly, to our selves.
It’s high time we, you and I and that dude sitting across the hall from you with the very nice green tie eating a chalupa, we have to start throwing some serious shade to all of these ridiculous ideals of perfection and beauty, and start making our own!
We should “wake up like this” every damn day.
And to that mother at Target, I would just like to say to you that your daughter is beautiful. She is strong, unique and perfectly imperfect. I hope she bought that pair of skinny jeans and super cute top because she would’ve rocked them out!