You're gorgeous, what the heck?
Over 91% of women feel unhappy with their body. Over 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat. (Based on an article found in Psychology Today)
Wonderful. Well done World. Why not pick something obscure, blow it out of proportion and create an epidemic of women with issues?
Jazzy and Keenan
I recently read an article which highlighted this strange relationship we have with body size that has become the norm in the Western world. It was about a couple called Jazzy and Keenan.
Jazzy shared a picture of her and her husband at the beach on Insta and stated something along the lines of: “can’t believe he went for me.” (I’ve added the picture so you have some context and here's the article).
The photo and caption went viral. Of course. People told Jazzy, “You’re gorgeous, what the heck?” Other people told Jazzy, “Girlfriend, you’re not healthy!”
In an ideal world, Jazzy would post a picture without feeling like she had to rationalize why someone loved her; and in an ideal world, we wouldn’t think twice when we saw these two together.
We don’t live in this ideal world. We live in a world overly attuned to what our bodies and the bodies of everyone around us; we live in a world where the majority of women are unhappy in their own skin. Having a healthy body image has become the exception, not the norm.
Fran, do you have a healthy relationship with your body?
If someone were to ask me: Fran, do you have a healthy relationship with your body, I would probably say… yes-ish, but it hasn’t always been that way and I’ve had to grow through this process similar to many of us.
I was a farm kid. I grew up barefoot catching crabs in the river. I didn’t think about what my body looked like. I thought about what I was going to do that day. I was a small kid. I shopped 3 age groups below my age, I weighed 28kg at the age of 13 and the school nurse didn’t know what to do with me. I’m still small (my friend Stuart says short people are further down the evolutionary chain because we require less from the planet)
My smallness was never an issue for me until I went to High School 3 hours from my home, and became aware as most teenage girls do that I wasn’t up to standards. I didn’t look like J Lo (J Lo was the thing back then). I came up short (pun intended) and my fragile teenage self decided nobody would ever want to date me.
I recall a conversation which contributed to my fragile self-esteem, “I don’t think I can go,” I told them- we were discussing an event that was on that weekend- “I don’t have any clothes for it.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” someone responded. “I have some doll’s clothes upstairs; I can find something for you there.”
Body love is a long journey which we all have to figure out.
I’ve taken a while to be ok with being small. People assume body issues belong to bigger people. This isn’t true. Body love is a long journey which we all have to figure out. We all have different body shapes and sizes- if you look hard enough you can find issues under every freckle.
The media will always tell us what is beautiful. In the 90’s you had to look like an elongated starved nymph, in the 2000’s you had to have big butts and lip implants… Now, all of a sudden, Athleisure has taken off and if your arms don’t look like Serena Williams', fire your personal trainer, take out a lifetime membership with Crossfit and spend your entire paycheck on protein powder.
What could be next?
Telling myself “you’re hot,” hasn’t helped me reach a healthy body image. And my guess is, it won’t help you. What has helped, and perhaps this is not as trendy as a Dove commercial, is acceptance (I wrote a whole article on this).
We can’t always change years of media pollution and ingrained thinking, but each and every one of us has the ability to accept written into our DNA. We have the power to accept, and we have the ability to focus on good stuff or bad stuff. Either we focus on our body issues, or we focus on contributing something of value to the planet. It’s that simple and that complex.
At the end of the day I’m convinced that I’m convinced that I’m convinced that how beautiful you are, has very little to do with the shape of your body and a whole lot to do with the stuff in your heart. Let me leave you with this video and encourage you to “stop looking at the exterior of a woman and start looking at her for what she is doing and who she is.”
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