Brainwash encounters body woes
It’s pretty rare to find someone completely satisfied with their body. Ask any girl what she doesn’t like and you’re likely to hear any combination of the following negative statements or ‘fat talk’:
– my thighs are too big
– I’ve got tuck-shop lady arms
– I’ve got some extra weight around the middle I’m trying to lose
– my hips are too wide
– my boobs are too small/my boobs are too big
– my butt is too big/small
Alongside these popular arguments, you’ll also hear people complain about aspects of their appearance that you would never have thought that they might be insecure or unsatisfied with. These include complaints about fingers being too stubby or too skinny, ears being too large or too small, noses being crooked, one toe pointing in a different direction to the others, etc.
It seems that there is always something about ourselves that we wish could be better. Whether this is a direct result of looking at images of media-defined ‘perfection’ in magazines and advertisements, or as a combined result of that and life experience doesn’t really matter. What matters is trying to encourage ourselves to feel happier about the person that we are. We can’t change the size of our ears and we have very little power in choosing which parts of the body we burn fat from first. So why do we constantly criticise ourselves for these things that we cannot change?
I’ve learnt that embracing your perceived weaknesses as a strength, or at the very least, trying to not be ashamed or embarrassed anymore can be a really powerful tool in making yourself feel better. During my teen years when, as many girls experience, my confidence took a dive, I established a blog online to record my feelings that I found embarrassing. Amazingly, the process of putting my most embarrassing thoughts out there for the rest of the world to see, helped me immensely. It allowed me to connect with likeminded people and to realise that I really didn’t have it all that bad. It was a great experience that I’ve since taken to applying to other aspects of my life, such as the way I look.
Instead of going to the beach and covering up my belly with a t-shirt while swimming, I make sure to take it off and wear a bikini. I might cringe for the first few moments, but by the end of the day, hour, whatever event I’m at, I feel fantastic. The reality is that most people aren’t scrutinising you to check out how good/bad you look. And the way you look doesn’t affect you ability to have fun or enjoy yourself. By saying goodbye to my shame by putting aside my cover-up t-shirt, I barely give my belly a second thought all day. All those times I did resort to wearing it, I was constantly thinking about whether it was sticking to my belly, whether people were judging me for wearing a t-shirt etc. At the end of the day, putting aside your insecurities and learning to love yourself for who you are is a great thing. If you have confidence in yourself, then the sky is really your limit.
As most of my regular readers know, I’m in the process of putting together Brainwash Magazine. It is a body-positive magazine for teen girls. I’m currently taking submissions and I thought it would be great to put together a piece about body shame and ask readers and interested persons to challenge themselves as part of it. So, I’m asking you, dear reader, to take up my challenge and be brave enough to send me a photo showing the body part that you are most embarrassed of.
It doesn’t matter what size, shape, age, gender, or ethnicity you are or what is is about yourself that you don’t like. We all experience feelings of inadequacy when it comes to appearance and this is an opportunity to challenge ourselves to become more accepting.
Try to send a photo that has a plain background, like the one shown below. If you have the time to describe what it is you feel bad about and why, that would also be great. I won’t be publishing names with the photos so if you don’t include your face in the photograph, you can be completely anonymous if you like. The idea is that you are allowing hundreds of readers to look at your most insecure body part and you are doing it on your terms. It is meant to be an empowering exercise and something for readers to relate to and help them realise that they are not alone in their body woes.
So, if you’re keen, get snapping, tell your friends and send your photos to Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org. High resolution photos in JPEG format preferred.