Society plays a huge role in defining who we become as a person. I never really believed or understood this till I experienced it myself. Growing up, I was the chubby kid. It never really bothered me till I moved. At age 11, I moved to Irvine, California, but it wasn’t long till the excitement died down. When I first got to school, making friends was exceptionally hard. At first, I thought it was because I was a foreign student and maybe I had a weird accent, but it wasn’t till my classmates started teasing me because of my body shape.
The teasing started just as I started my freshman year. At first, I wasn’t so bothered by it since I was always teased for being a chubby kid but as time passed on, the teasing turned into straight up bullying both in real life and online. I was teased for my body shape, my skin tone, my teeth, and any other flaw they could spot. Though I had a close-knit group of friends, it was still tough when the rest of the school was sending me mean, anonymous messages online.
Just because I wasn’t skinny or fair enough, I was made fun of. I was constantly ridiculed for the way I looked. Everyone had their own idea of what a girl should look like and even at such a young age, my peers gave me a hard time for not fitting into that image of the "ideal girl."
The first year in school, the bullying didn’t really faze me. I didn’t tell anyone about the bullying except two of my close friends. Stepping into my sophomore year with the bullying just getting worse, I started to hate myself for the way I looked. I got my parents to bring me to the dentist to get my braces fixed, but that help either. I fell into a dark hole and didn’t come out for years after. I was clinically depressed and not long after, I developed an eating disorder. I hated my life and myself. By the end of my fall semester of my sophomore year, I had dropped ten pounds and my teeth were decent looking, and finally the bullying ceased.
What I realized though was that even though I weighed 109 pounds and puberty helped me glow up, I still hated the way I looked. I constantly starved myself for days in a row, and if I did end up going out for dinner with my family, I would either throw it all up or vigorously exercise when I got back home. I craved to loose more weight and end up looking like the skinniest girls in my class. What I also realized was after my teeth were fixed and I lost a whole lot of weight, I started to have way more friends. More girls and guys from school approached me and wanted to be friends with me.
Growing up with kids my age teasing me for not looking like them honestly drove me to my depression, anxiety and eating disorder. All these disorders started my sophomore year in high school. I am now a sophomore in college and I still haven’t fully recovered from these disorders. I still feel the pang of guilt when I eat more than my ‘allowed’ number of calories per day, I still get anxiety attacks and I’m still uncomfortable eating in front of people.
Thinking back now, I cannot believe my peers made me feel like an alien for being slightly different. I was ridiculed for the way I looked, by 13 year olds. Luckily for me, my parents realized the red flags and helped me get the help I need. Many girls out there go through the exact same thing I was subjected to, maybe even worse but they don’t have a supports system or a source of help. Even 13 year olds have a perception of what a girl should look like, which is why every generation coming into society has never gotten rid of this image of the ideal girl. The media constantly portrays skinny, flawless women in commercials and sitcoms that children grow up with the perception that that is how every girl and woman should look like. Even so, I wonder why kids and teens feel the need to shame those who don’t fit into the image.
It is challenging for women to grow up and be proud of who they are when people are constantly comparing them to this unachievable beauty standards. Women try so hard to change the way they look to be more appealing to other people’s eyes. Women, especially now, shouldn’t be subjected to things like these anymore. Everyone should be able to grow up without having to conform his or her body into something else. Everyone is great just the way they are and it is completely ridiculous that it is so big of a problem in today’s world.