Wear revealing clothes. Get bigger boobs. Have a thigh gap. Have a long neck. Don’t be fat. Don’t be ugly…duh. Wear makeup. Be skinny. Follow all fashion trends. Lose the prescription glasses. Wear colored contacts. Maintain crayon white teeth. Keep lashes, hair, and nails long and to the extreme. Wear heels even if your feet hurt. Be bald everywhere except your head.
Believe it or not, all of the above are inclusive of how a “perfect” woman should look. Don’t believe me? Just pay attention to the magazine headlines on the cover of every magazine in the checkout line (and look closely at the negative remarks on the women who venture out of the house with no makeup or without their designer gear).
It’s no wonder there are so many confused, hopeless, discouraged, disempowered, and flat out frustrated women in the world today!
We are basically trained from birth to live a life of “beauty status quo” to be accepted and revered by others.
I don’t think I really need to go into how a low body image can lead to numerous undesirable issues including eating disorders, low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, mental health issues, and even death.
Ultimately, we get so hypercritical about our bodies that we cultivate total compulsiveness of what we “should” be/do/have.
On one hand, I love how companies like Lane Bryant are redefining sexy, encouraging confidence, and empowering women to own their bodies as depicted in their #ImNoAngel campaign (love it!). Notable mentions are the Naked Face Project and a 14 year old girl’s petition to Seventeen Magazine for unaltered photos. Yesssss!
But on the other hand, we still have a LOOOOOONG way to go to break free from the old status quo ideals of beauty.
What’s a girl to do in the meantime?
Honestly, I truly believe it starts with one. If you take the time and mental resources needed to make some mindset changes yourself, you can then empower your sisters, girlfriends, mom, and MOST DEFINITELY, your daughters and the confused lot of teen girls growing up today.
5 Body Image Lessons
When was the last time you said something good about and to your body? How about telling one of your girlfriends what you like about her body?
Probably not in a very long time right? I bet you’re accustomed to picking apart your body piece by piece and fat cell by fat cell and searching for flaws every time you look in the mirror. Been there, done that!
Here are some lessons I’ve learned (and still working on quite honestly!) and I want you to work on them with me.
Now, none of the following are by no means easy to do. I get it. We’ve had so many mixed messages thrown at us that we don’t know what to believe as truth nor do we trust our own judgement anymore.
And that’s exactly what I’m on a mission to help change!
So take heed, listen up, and let’s get started working on that body image girlfriend!
- Shut down the media. If it helps you, fast forward through commercials, stop eyeing fashion models, close those magazines, whatever you have to do stop the influx of fake body images. Call it a “media fast” if you will. Sometimes in order to start a new habit, you have to eliminate triggers that keep you in the same mind space. You see, it’s so easy to become preoccupied with external appearances. Feeling bad about how you look compared to others affects your overall emotional health and can have a strong negative impact on your life. Shut it all down and stop the body comparisons!
- Be your own beauty guru. Do you know what your own style voice is without referencing someone else’s? When you get dressed, do you often think “what would so and so wear?” Since we’ve been so conditioned to model what the “gurus” are doing, we lose our own sense of style. I challenge you to get dressed based on how you feel not what someone says is “in” or what the latest trends are. It’s intuitive dressing and trust me it’s fun. It may take you a little while but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your own choices. Show up and show out in your own style!
- Challenge stereotypes. Our bodies are supposed to be a variety of shapes and sizes. The human body is not restricted to a specific mold and everyone isn’t the same height or weight. Accepting this will help you challenge stereotypes related to body image. It’s important to understand that one body type isn’t the correct way to exist. There is no ideal weight, height, or shape on the planet. The stereotype that a stick-thin model (or muscular man for my Uncommon Dudes) is healthy and perfect has to change!
- Focus on healthy living overall. An obsession with the “perfect” body image impacts not just your physical health but your mental, emotional, and spiritual states as well. Think about it: when you are constantly seeking what the media says is the right body weight and shape, you could end up in a depressed state (emotional), be obsessed with what others think (mental), and lose your trust and faith in yourself (spiritual). Do you see how this one thing can affect your life overall, not just your physical self? Take it easy on yourself and be the best person YOU can be.
- Avoid judging others. The judgment you pass on others often transfers to yourself. Instead of criticizing others, focus on positive aspects of their body. This will help you see positive aspects in your own body image.
Have fun. The journey is the reward. Fall in love with the process of experimenting with different ways to love yourself, practice self-care, and do what works for you. After all, letting go of what others think is freeing, fun, and feels pretty freakin’ amazing.
Over to you…
Join me in a Rebel Revolution to take back our truth – that regardless of weight, height, size, skin color, face shape, or anything else, we are beautiful!
What say you? Are you with me? What advice can you share to help women give the middle finger to an intolerant media system?
A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears. ~Anne Roiphe