Dear ladies,

It’s okay.

It’s okay to take that last bite.

It’s okay to wear anything you want.

It’s normal to have stretch marks.

It’s normal to have cellulite.

Those extra pounds do not define who you are.

The size of your clothes do not define who you are.

Become the confident woman you were born to be.

We are in this together

You are not alone in this scary world. No one is perfect, and no one can tell you how to live. You are in control to be who you were born to be without any judgment blocking your way. The way you see your body should be influenced through the pureness of your own self-love. Furthermore, don’t allow others to negatively judge and influence your decision on how you want to live your life. Don’t be afraid of what others think about you because at the end of the day, this is your life, and they are just living in it. Besides, loving yourself is the best way to keep your mind and body healthy and happy. 

Perfection has been your anthem, and you live by that. For instance, every time you pass a mirror, you only see your flaws and always try to correct them by either sucking in your stomach or changing into a different outfit. Every time you eat, you look at the calories and never enjoy it for what it is. After, you get a sense of happiness for a short amount of time because you were able to take control of your “flaws.” However, to achieve that, you have to put yourself through hell.

Is restricting your whole diet or being unhappy in the skin you were born with, worth it? You shouldn’t have to live your life through someone else’s expectations. Who cares what everyone else is doing. Just focus on your own happiness and well-being. Don’t spend the rest of your special life worrying about what you look like to others in the world. 

Although it may seem hard to overlook now, it will get easier down the road. As you grow and experience life, you will start to forget the “flaws” you’ve once become fixated over. Those insecurities aren’t seen as flaws, but they are what make up your own unique self. Above all, if you focus on the greater things in your life, those negative things will soon diminish and become a thing of the past. 

Society and media’s harmful impact

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok. Within these platforms—to name a few—have played a harmful role throughout our lives. Whether you knew it or not, the content posted within social media has influenced the minds of young girls and women. It contorts their minds into thinking what the accepted body type and weight every girl should weigh or look like. From browsing through Instagram posts to scrolling through videos on TikTok, I saw that most of the publicly-posted content might play a hugely influential part in the stereotypical “perfect body” for women. 

Videos titled “How to lose stomach fat in 10 days” or pictures of “before and after” photos have been repeatedly posted throughout my social media feed. Not to say these posts always have a negative connotation. But it is the message behind it, stating: “Your current self is not enough now, so let’s change it.” And within these posts, there are thousands to millions of likes that reward this type of content. As a result, this is where the harmful influence comes into play because when comparing an image to a not-so slim figure, there just aren’t as many likes or attention given to it.

This is purely because society has deemed the slimmer figure with a cinched-in waist, consisting of no body rolls to be the ideal body type for women that is the definition of being beautiful. On the other hand, although these posts may seem to be harmless, to some, it may trigger a fight they have been battling with for their whole life or even recently. 

Art by Camille Bourbonnais and Karina Chan

Let’s get rid of normalizations

Throughout society, there is a normalization that having body rolls or cellulite is something to be looked down upon. It suppresses young girls and women by forcing them to think that having these certain features are socially unacceptable. Therefore, when younger girls and women notice this pattern of normalization, they look down upon themselves because they want to be part of the rewarding life of receiving “likes.”

We are even given tips and tricks on how to get rid of these normal body types. We, as a society, need to start normalizing that female bodies are unique and don’t just follow one mold. Some may have body rolls, cellulite, or sagging skin. And that is okay because that is all normal due to the fact that every women’s body is different.

In addition, the pressures that girls and women are faced with, in order to keep up the ideal body type, has been harmful to their own mental and physical health. The pressure may lead to self-hate, lowering of self-esteem, and feeling unaccepted. And in the worst cases, it may lead to anorexia, binge-eating, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

As a society built up with strong and empowering women, we need to come together and eliminate these self-harming expectations. We need to express love for ourselves and each other, no matter the weight, size, or unique look each of us has. 

Art by Helmium

Ways to love and empower yourself

  • Find things you love about yourself and focus on that
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Don’t worry about other’s opinions
  • Allow yourself to let loose and be comfortable in your own skin
  • Accept your failures and see it as your own personal way of growth
  • Treat your mind and body with kindness
  • Let go of toxic people who are trying to push you down
  • Know your own worth and how far you’ve come in life
Art by IG: @danisheriff

Check it out: 5 Instagram accounts that support self-love and women empowerment

Stephanie Yeboah

Dani Sheriff

Hannah Neese Goff

Bishamber Das

My Self-Love Supply

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Body Positivity In The Time Of Social Distancing
How Being A Fake Scientist Taught Me The Importance Of STEM
For The Mother Who Spent Her “Childhood” Raising Me