Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.
For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.
The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".
Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.
Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.
I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.
Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.
People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.
Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".
Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.
Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.
There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.
Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."
Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"
No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?
I hope that you wouldn't
There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.
I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.
As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.
I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.
Is that too much to ask?