Contrary to popular belief, the size zero in women’s clothing is not a realistic size for over half of the women in the United States. It is an unrealistic, unhealthy, and manipulative size that females from middle school to middle-age think they need to be in order to think of themselves as beautiful and healthy. For starters, I understand some girls are just born tiny and cannot help being a size 0 or 00, and I am not targeting them. Today’s society has put such a strong pressure on women to look a certain way that they forget what it means to feel truly beautiful.

Growing up in southern Mississippi, I learned quickly I would never be a size zero because my family knows how to eat and only the good Lord knows when it is my time to go, so I might as well cherish the wonderful meal that is placed in front of my face. Living in the South, you know firsthand what it is like to be compared to other girls around you. You compare yourself to girls you go to school with, celebrities you see on TV, and models in the teen magazines that you cannot stop reading. I started comparing myself to other girls in middle school and would beat myself up on the inside because of the way some girls, or guys, would look at me. I was all too familiar with the “You are not good enough” look. Guys would not give me a second look, but they would give the girl who just stepped out of Teen Vogue as many looks as she wanted. I did not realize what it meant to be truly beautiful until closer to my senior year in high school. I learned what looked great on my body, how to be comfortable in my own skin, and, most importantly, how to be happy with the person God made me to be. What amazes me is the change in society and how they expect not only what women should look like, but teen girls who have not even fully matured yet. It scares me how some local department stores carry t-shirts that say “Eat Less” and “The Size Zero is Beautiful.” Society is so harsh on women’s weight that not even 20 years ago, a normal size model was a size 6 or 8, and a normal everyday woman was a size 12 or 14. Today, to be considered a model, you have to be a size 0 or 2 and if you are a size 6 or 8, you are considered a plus size model. Most department stores stop carrying sizes over 12 and you have to find plus-size clothing online. People try to figure out all the time why eating disorders are so common among women; society and men play a huge role in it. When a new company or advertising business, like Victoria’s Secret, for example, puts out an ad or commercial, it shows men what women could look like, while killing the self-esteem of some women.

Coming to terms with the unrealistic goals that society has on women’s weight is a hard realization. When you finally realize that God made you in his image, then you realize your body is already perfect. God made you the way he wanted you to look, and that is the biggest compliment a girl in this society could wish for. Eating healthy and exercising daily are easier ways to feel more comfortable in your own skin than turning to an eating disorder. One of my favorite actresses, Sophia Bush, once said, "Anorexia is a disease, not a fashion statement. Beauty has nothing to do with the size you wear; it has to do with what's in your heart." Every woman is beautiful, no matter what she looks like, as long as she is happy and healthy. God made you perfect in His image. What more could you ask for?