Be Body Positive

Jadyn Oates, Staff Writer

I started worrying about what my body looked like in 8th grade. I was 14 years old comparing my body to those of models twice my age. But that was normal, we all did it. We all worried that our boobs were smaller than someone else’s, or that we were too curvy or too skinny or too tall or too short for what “perfect” girls were supposed to look like. Looking back on it now I realize we were quite literally children, but we were children who felt pressured to look perfect. In her New York Times article “City Unveils Campaign to Improve Girls’ Self-Esteem,” Anemona Hartocollis noted that “more than 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat.” That’s a seemingly shocking statistic for such a young age, yet it doesn’t shock me at all.

As a society, we put far too much pressure on women, particularly young women, to look a certain way. Mothers tell their daughters to watch what they eat, fathers tell their daughters to watch what they wear. Boys rate girls’ bodies in the locker rooms, girls whisper about each other in the halls. Everyone does their part in making sure that nearly every young girl is ashamed and insecure of her body. “Girls and young women are under more pressure than ever to achieve the perfect body in an oppressive social media-driven world that could never have been imagined by 1970s feminists,” says psychoanalyst and bestselling author Susie Orbach.

As a society, we need to band together to support our women. Stop telling her she shouldn’t have that burger or stop telling her she needs to eat one. It is never your place to comment on a woman’s body, or a man’s, or anyone’s for that matter. Societal pressure to look “perfect” is becoming known to cause depression in a lot of women. In an article relating the stories of 5 women about their struggle with their own body image, Anna Robertshaw, a mother and one of the five, said “I felt lost and had no confidence…Depression and anxiety came on thick and fast.” She then went on to describe her journey towards self-love, and how happy she is now.  But in the article, she states that she was previously put on antidepressants for a short while. Women’s mental and physical health is deteriorating because of the pressure society puts on their bodies.

Next time you want to comment on someone’s body, think. Think about the physical and/or emotional toll it might take on them.  We don’t want a world full of depressed, unhealthy women who are trying to be perfect. We want a world full of confident, happy women who all know how beautiful each and every one of them is. So don’t be the one to set us back. We need to become more sensitive and kind as a society in general, or our women will continue to suffer.