How many of you like your body? I’ll guarantee at least 80% of you would change some part of it.
I took a few shameless selfies for Instagram the other day, to show off a skirt I’d made (I’m still in shock I didn’t sew the damn material to my leg, to be honest!). I’ve never been comfortable posting my face on social media, but I’m trying to force myself to get over it. Regardless, I went through all the photos I’d taken of me wearing my new skirt, hitting delete, until I realised I’d deleted them all. This one made my arm look too thin, this one caught my teeth at the wrong angle, this one showed my face too much, this one made my eyebrows look patchy, my hair’s bad, my top’s falling wrong, and on and on and on and on…a never-ending tirade of abuse.
Women are taught from such a young age, through marketing and by every other woman around us, to look in the mirror and analyse every cell. Taught there’s always something we can fix, something wrong. The last time I got my eyebrows threaded I got asked if I was aware my eyebrows were wonky. Well, now I am! We see our mother’s picking themselves apart before a looking glass and so we grow up and follow suit—constantly comparing ourselves to every other woman around us.
Even the body positivity movement is only for certain bodies, apparently. This was communicated to me very sternly when I tried to comment on a body positivity Instagram post. It would appear I have the wrong type of body to be involved in a body positivity movement.
When even our acceptance into positivity movements is being judged on what type of body we have, we know something is SERIOUSLY wrong.
We all need to feel positive about the way we look, otherwise we end up like…well like me. Avoiding mirrors when out of the house, grimacing at reflections when the mirror-avoidance fails, and not even remembering the last time you liked the way you looked.
Photos are a new beast entirely.
My profile picture on all my social media accounts is actually a picture taken from a distance because I got so sick of seeing my own face each time I logged on.
Take this photo for example.
It was taken on holiday in Poland a few years ago. I was feeling good about how I looked throughout that holiday…until I saw this picture. I was mentally at one of the worst spots of my life, and I knew I’d lost weight, but this picture made me feel physically ill. I look physically ill. I still hate looking at it. I couldn’t help, still can’t help, thinking: Is that really how people see me? Ew. (And before you launch into the ‘but you’re skinny’ rhetoric…just don’t.)
When I returned home, I went through my social media feeds and deleted a huge portion of the photographs I had of myself. I also died my hair attempting to look as different from the girl in that picture as I could. (Side note: I tried to take full body pictures for this blog, but ended up deleting them all…)
Some people like to laugh at the idea of a woman fussing over every photo after it’s taken. When really we should be analysing why so many women are terrified of looking less than perfect all the time. Social media obviously plays its part in this, but it tends to unfairly get a larger portion of the blame than it deserves. Women were expected to look perfect long before social media became a thing.
It’s such an accepted part of society that women hate how they look. How is this right? And more importantly, how do we make it stop?
From a personal point of view I’m trying to dress with more colour, wear less baggy clothes to hide beneath, and post some outfit of the day pictures on Instagram. It’s small, millennial steps, but I think they’re doing something.
All of this to say, yes body positivity is for me. It’s for everyone with a body. That’s literally the entire point. And one day let’s hope we all start to realise the incredible things our bodies really are. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes we’re just fine the way we are.