Celebrating Our Bodies
Don’t you hate it when you see another girl and she looks perfect? You know, the way you want to look but can never seem to pull off. She has the perfect outfit, or the perfect face, perfect hair, perfect body. Usually, when we get this feeling we are standing in front of a billboard with the picture of an actress, or we are looking at a fashion magazine and we see a model in an ad campaign or an editorial. You get that twisty feeling in your stomach, and maybe you feel a little jealous. Maybe you think, “Why can’t I look like her?” But guess what? That girl that you’re staring at, whether she’s an image, a mirage or maybe even a real girl -- she has felt the exact same way.
When we see these images, maybe we think to ourselves: I have to work out more, or I really shouldn’t eat so many carbs. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t good enough, as if we aren’t worthy because we don’t look like “them”, those perfect girls. Sometimes it spirals out of control, into illnesses like anorexia. But more often than not, it just constantly nags us. We have to examine the nutrition labels of everything, we have to exercise for a certain amount of time, eat a certain amount of food.
Model Crystal Renn was no exception. She too, felt the societal pressures of being perfect. However, she is a highly successful Ford model and has been in many ad campaigns such as Chanel and Dolce & Gabana. But before her success, she had an extreme case of anorexia and exercise bulimia. She wrote a book, Hungry, about her struggles with her body. When she finally became as successful as she always dreamed of being, she wasn’t a size zero but rather a size fourteen. She is a plus size model. She is my personal favorite model, and I think that she is one of the most beautiful women in the world, but she too struggled with what we all struggle with, our body image. It doesn’t matter if you’re Helen of Troy or Giselle, sometimes we just feel awful about ourselves. That has to change.
Hungry is one of my favorite books. My other favorite book is A Little F’d Up by Julie Zeilinger. This is the book that led me to epiphany that I am a feminist. My favorite quote from A Little F’d Up is “envision what our world would look like today if equality had always been around. Take a moment to think of the art and music that might have been created. Imagine the wars that might not have happened, and the people who might not have suffered. Of course, we’ll never know for sure what would have happened had women truly been part of the picture.” This quote is the reason why I am a feminist, because we are still not completely “part of the picture”. One reason, among others of course, is that we are still in chains, invisible chains of self-hatred and insecurity.
When we have such low self-esteem, we are stunting our growth as people, and not letting ourselves blossom into our full potential. We need the strength to utilize what women before us fought so hard to give us. In order to do that, we need self-confidence and self-acceptance. We need to celebrate our bodies, and the bodies of our gorgeous fellow women, because we are ravishing! We need to honor our bodies, treat them like a temple. We need to fill our bodies with healthy food and healthy amounts of physical exertion. But we also need to indulge, because we are worth it! We deserve the occasional ice cream or chocolate cake or whatever we want. We need to love ourselves, and love our daughters and sisters, because when we nourish each other, and ourselves we grow stronger as women -- and that is what feminism is about.
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