Browsing Tag:

body image

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Health, Mental Health, Puberty

    What Body Positivity Means to Me

    Three girls smiling at the camera

    Body Positivity In Our Society

    We live in a society that claims to be “body positive’, but doesn’t accept all types of people. I always hear “every person is unique” and I get that. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t celebrated. I don’t mean that we should all get participation trophies or be praised for anything we do, but everyone deserves to be comfortable and welcome without exception. It’s true that we are all unique. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors, but we should feel the same – confident and comfortable.

    I was taught to be “body positive”. What does that even mean? Why do other peoples bodies concern me? That’s just it. Other peoples bodies don’t concern me, and my body doesn’t concern anyone else. Is that body positivity? Not really. It definitely isn’t my place to tell anyone else what to do with their body. Different things empower different people. I don’t think to be body-positive means that you can’t make observations about other people’s appearance, but I believe they do need to be empowering.

    I know that the celebration and representation of all people can be directly related to self-confidence, so why isn’t diverse representation more common? It’s because we, as a society, have become used to a particular image being showcased. Some people cannot see themselves in this image, so they begin to feel inferior. Most people’s first reaction is to be judgemental. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I see someone and think. What are they wearing? but then I remember they can wear whatever works for them. It doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then I won’t wear it. We have to train ourselves not to be critical of others because we are constantly reminded of something that doesn’t really exist. The “ideal body” cannot be captured in one image. Everyone has a different body, and that is enough, we shouldn’t accept or strive for one type of body. 

    On the other hand, we are too harsh on ourselves. I am. You are. We are all hypocrites. We tell others they should be confident, and turn around to belittle ourselves. At the same time, we get dressed, stand in front of the mirror, and pick ourselves apart. This would look better if my stomach was flat…or if my thighs were smaller, I’d be happy. The truth is, I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my appearance, and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that body positivity is for everyone – including ourselves. 

    I decided to write about how contradictory our society is when it comes to body image, because of a song I love. “Body” by Julia Michaels begins with an apology that we should all take notes on. She is apologizing to herself. She knows that she makes herself lose confidence and feel insecure. She knows that she shouldn’t treat herself like that, but she still does. All she wants is to love her body like she loves others’ and they love hers. Why are we like that? Why can we see the beauty in others, and others can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves?

    Personal Relationship With Body Positivity

    My relationship with my body is constantly changing. My entire childhood I was a gymnast. I was short, strong, and could never find jeans that fit. Around the age of 11, I got taller. I was thinner, and the strongest I had ever been. Still, I hated my body. Then came an injury that ended gymnastics forever. For the rest of middle school, I was getting zero exercises and eating terribly. I was depressed. I hated myself, and I hated my body even more. The little bit of confidence I had was gone. I wouldn’t even look anyone in the eye.

    Then high school started, and I was more comfortable with myself. I was adapting well. I was doing everything I wanted to – succeed academically and socially. Spring semester of my 9th-grade year, I got sick. I lost my appetite almost immediately, I was on a lot of medications, and the doctors were running dozens of tests that were not providing any answers. Nothing. I was also participating in swim team, so I was burning lots of calories and not eating any. Obviously, this resulted in rapid weight loss( almost 45 pounds in a few weeks). The sad part is I liked how I looked. I felt confident. Friends told me “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?” Yes, I did lose weight, but I was so unhealthy. I was ill. The time I felt most confident was when I was thin from illness…how twisted is that?

    Remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look. 

    We should live in an environment where every shape and size is not only welcomed but celebrated. It isn’t difficult to be kind to those around us and ourselves. We all need to stop trying to fix what we see and focus on how we make each other, and ourselves, feel.

    Want to read more about body positivity and self-love? Check it out here and here!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Makeup

    The Blessing and Curse of Make-Up

    make up

    Every girl comes to a point when she must decide if she wants to begin the journey of wearing and using make-up or not. Some girls don’t see the point or hate the feeling of practically painting their faces. Others enjoy the whole process and have fun with it. Then there are those who wear it because they are expected to. She might think she can’t impress her crush unless she’s dolled up, or she doesn’t look professional without it on in a workspace. There are also girls who feel like they don’t look good without it. Not everyone is blessed with genes that give them the looks society likes to see.

    Everyone has insecurities about something.

    Some people can hide them well while others become easily uncomfortable because of them. Make-up does a good job of how hiding the things you hate and enhancing what you love. It can give people confidence when they appear in public where they might not be without it. Make-up even covers those pesky blemishes that everyone hates. It does so many different things: give you a smaller nose, the illusion of cheekbone, well-maintained eyebrows. However, not everyone wants these things. They might not know how to do these things, but the more common these things become, the more they want to figure it out.

    With more commonalities in using make-up, expectations are changing. The main trend right now is having perfect eyebrows. Many different products have been made just for this use. There are pencils, gels, brushes, and stencils all dedicated to eyebrow shaping. But even with all this, does it truly matter if eyebrows are rectangular going in and thin out? They are just hairs on your face. Making your eyebrows look nice is something that some enjoy doing, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it. It can be hard to accomplish the perfect brows as well.

    Make-up is a tool to help make people appear nice and well put together. However, it also could make people afraid to ever go out without it.

    Any time you go out, you might be afraid of running into someone you know or you could meet someone. Also trying to look your best makes it hard to know when it’s okay to dress down and not worry about it. This only leads to more insecurities. Never feeling your best unless your face is covered doesn’t make you feel better about yourself as a whole. It could embarrass you more to be without it.

    Beck Lomas got over the fear of having to look good all the time, check out our post about loving our own imperfections.

    For some people, make-up just feeds into the idea that you’re not good enough. If the only way to get a job is based on whether or not you look put together or not and the only way to do that is to wear some make-up then what are credentials or experience even for? The way you look won’t tell an employer the type of worker you are. This also feeds into the idea that women have to wear make-up. It can make something fun become a chore instead.

    Make-up should be something that women actually get a choice in using.

    Make-up can become expensive and start to feel like a necessity. Women shouldn’t be expected to have product on their face to look nice. They shouldn’t be under the impression that the only way to get someone else’s attention is by wearing eyeliner and having boxy brows. Make-up needs to be something that women want to wear because they feel like it not to meet society’s expectations of what a woman looks like. If you despise wearing make-up then don’t put it on. Don’t feel like make-up is something that you absolutely need to have. It is okay to be bare-faced in public. Guys don’t need make-up, and they still can look good. Guys can wear make-up if they want to. Girls should be the same. Do what you’re comfortable with.

  • Articles, Body Image, GirlSpring.com, Health

    Love the Skin You’re in

    Is there really such a thing as the “perfect body?” Even models and actresses who are deemed to be the pinnacle of beauty are judged and insulted on the covers of magazines, the Internet, and entertainment TV shows. Most of the pictures we see are airbrushed or photoshopped, anyways.

    We See the Infatuation with Our Bodies Everywhere… Since Before We Can Remember

    If even our idols are body-shamed, is there any hope for us “normal” people? If stars have to alter their bodies to feel comfortable in their own skin, how are we expected to?

    Allow me to let you in on a little secret: the perfect body doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. It’s a fabrication.

    Nowadays, Instagram models, fitness gurus and everyone in between strives to achieve body perfection with a small waist and big butt. But guess what? The nineties were all about big boobs, long legs, and thigh gaps. Before then, especially during the fifties, the “hourglass figure” was all the rage. Dating all the way back to the Renaissance, you exhibited your status and wealth through your weight; being well-fed was the ultimate test of beauty.

    Marilyn Monroe, one of the most well-known sex symbols, would be considered “fat” by today’s model standards. Let that sink in.

    Marilyn Monroe

    Need help keeping up a positive body image? Look at some ideas here!

    Just because We See what’s ‘Ideal’ doesn’t mean We Have to Be That

    Although society always seems to have its own opinion on beauty, none of it really matters. Loving yourself and embracing the body you’re in is the highest form of perfection.

    Some girls are always going to carry a little extra weight on their stomach, regardless of how much cardio or toning they do. Some girls will have cellulite and stretch marks their whole life, but others might devote their energy towards gaining weight, forever unable to do so. Girls with naturally bigger boobs might save all their money to receive a breast reduction, while others dream of buying implants their whole life.

    No matter the body type, every girl spends years and years trying to come to terms with how they look; some never reach clarity and acceptance. In this era of social media, body-shaming and comparison worsen the issue.

    It may take some time, but we all need to make more of an effort to embrace not only our bodies but everyone else’s as well, supporting other girls whenever we get the chance. There will be some difficult days, but we all need to accept the same mantra: every body is the perfect body.

    body positive

    Everyone’s journey to being healthy is different, check out one girl’s story here.

  • GirlSpring.com, Photography

    An Honest Post on Eating Disorders

    An Honest Post on Eating Disorders

    OK. This is so scary for me to be posting in front of a bunch of strangers. But I feel really passionate about this subject and I can’t let my fear get in the way any longer. So here we go.

    As National Eating Disorder Awareness Week comes to an end, I just want to say a few things. This topic is pretty sensitive for me but it’s close to my heart so bear with me. Eating disorders suck – Period. They are not glamorous and you most definitely don’t choose them.
    I’ve suffered from an eating disorder since I was 14. I’ve been through all of the ups and downs – the calorie counting and restriction, the excessive exercise, and the shame of feeling horrible in my own body.
    Some days, I would eat only one meal with a few snacks and then run or exercise to try to burn it off. I was cold all the time. I lost my period for three years! My brain was also in a perpetual fog. Even though I looked the most fit I ever had, I was not mentally healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, eating well and exercising can be great. As long as you don’t let it consume your life and thoughts – which happened to me.
    Going from 130 pounds to 108 pounds in a span of a few months was not healthy. Especially how I was doing it. I was so scared of disappointing my friends and family by telling them about my problems. I was always trying to fight my body’s natural needs. There were little voices in my head always criticizing me and telling me I was never going to be good enough. And for what? To try to get washboard abs? Or super small legs? Why would you waste so much time And energy over something so vain and futile? Why try to fight something that should be so simple? After all, it is a necessity in life. Why are we constantly letting the world dictate how we feel?
    No one should ever feel like they have to change who they are because someone tells them to. No one should ever let worth be defined by weight. Your. Wait. Does. Not. Define. You.
    Once you realize that you were meant to be on this earth for so much more than to shrink yourself, only then will you find all the joy life has to offer.
    Guest post written originally for Instagram by Claire Rivas of Birmingham, Alabama
  • Articles

    My Relationship with Body Hair

    My Relationship with Body Hair

    Guest Post by Mallory (Mal) of Hyper Feminism blog

    If you’ve seen much of anything on my blog you’ll know how strongly I feel about period positivity – and that, for me is mirrored in all things girls are brought up to feel ashamed about. Periods, body image, sexuality and our body hair (among others obviously) are all things that we learn to surround with shame and silence, where they should be topics coloured with conversation and choice.

    In year eight I was desperate to shave my legs, all of the girls I knew were doing it but my mum wasn’t having a bar of it. She tried to explain over and over again that my blond leg hairs would only grow back dark and spiky and I’d never be able to stop, but I was on a teenage warpath. Eventually it was decided that I could remove my leg hair, but only if I used an epilator, which in hindsight I’m sure was intended to put me off immediately (if you’ve never seen one, it’s basically a little device that you run up and down your skin and it grabs your hairs and pulls them out, it’s not at all pleasant). As you can imagine, I didn’t stick with this for very long and would only use it occasionally, never really doing a great job.

    I’m not sure that I ever actually cared about leg hair, then it was really just a thing I wanted to do because everyone else was. Then as I got older and started to swim more and more competitively my leg hair became a thing I only got rid of when I had a competition I deemed important enough to sit on the edge of the bathtub and wax my legs with the strips you warm up with your hands. Pro-tip: those strips suck and take far too long to warm up to cool back down straight away, but don’t resort to warning them up using a hair straightener, you will burn yourself.

    Swimming is when I started to pay attention to the other hair on my body. I shaved my armpits and bikini line constantly for a long time, I felt so self-conscious being in just my bathers and having hair there, like people would be constantly staring and judging me. Eventually, I stopped waxing my legs myself and started getting them done by a professional (which was much quicker and there were no hair straighteners involved) and only before a major competition like states or nationals. I relaxed toward my underarm hair but kept shaving my bikini line, always resulting in ingrown hairs. I also started shaving my pubic hair, as I’ve mentioned here before ya girl gets very heavy and long periods and I hated having hair down there for that time of the month, but also for competitions because I didn’t like how it felt under my racing bathers. My skin is super sensitive and prone to ingrown hairs and I never talked to anyone about shaving my pubic hair and I had no idea how to deal with it aside from layering on ‘bump eraser’ cream and riding out the itchiness. 

    I shaved my legs for the first time when I was in year twelve. I still rarely shave them, it’s not a thing that bothers me, and for the most part the vast majority of people could not possibly care less and I refuse to feel ashamed about it, even though there are still people (in 2018!!) who feel like it’s okay to try and make me feel otherwise. Last year I started laser hair removal for Brazilian and underarms and I haven’t looked back. I don’t like having pubic hair and I don’t find underarm hair comfortable, so I made a choice to deal with it. A lot of it is a laziness thing, I hate shaving, but mostly it is a choice I made because of my skin sensitivity. I don’t get itchiness and ingrown hairs after laser and it doesn’t take me three days to recover from removing my hair, at this point, I hardly get anything growing back.

    But the thing is, I don’t have to justify my choice, because it is just that, a choice. And that goes for any choice any woman makes about her body hair (and her body for that matter), it’s all personal preference and that’s all it should be. Feel however you want to feel about body hair, do whatever you want with it, but don’t let anyone else dictate what you want to do. Body hair is natural, but you’re no less of a woman (or a feminist) no matter whether you let it grow, trim it or get rid of it altogether. And remember that body hair is not an all or nothing situation, do what you want with the hair where you want to.

    If you are going to learn anything from my experience – especially if you’re younger, you’re going to get rid of hair in your private areas, ask someone if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t just suffer from itchiness in silence. And to my sensitive skinned humans who don’t like to have hair, maybe look into laser, it really did help me!

    What about you, tell me about your experiences! You can comment below or hit me up on any of my socials!

    Love,

    Mal xx

    https://hyperfeminism.com/contact/

    PS- we love Mal’s body positive attitude! Want to check out more about body positivity? Click here for another GirlSpring article on this topic, https://www.girlspring.com/healthy-body-image-why-its-important-for-you-and-others/

  • Photography

    Undressing in Gym Class

    Undressing in Gym Class

    If you’re anything like I was in middle school, you dread[ed] having to change in front of the other students during gym class. It wasn’t because I felt like other girls were “checking me out” or being judgement, most of the problem came from how uncomfortable I was with my body. For some girls, it may be something else, such as a religion or just being timid in general. All in all, the root of the problem is the lack of instruction on how the situation could be handled or avoided.

    I ended up pretending to be sick quite a few times, just so I could go see the nurse while everyone was changing. I even missed the school’s Scoliosis Screening tests each year, because I didn’t want to have to take off my shirt in front of the other girls or adults. As it turns out, I have a mild case of Scoliosis and could have been treated for my pain a long time ago with proper physical therapy. Instead, I played hooky with an ear infection and spent years with unidentifiable pain.

    It wasn’t until high school that I discovered a few solutions to my problem:

    • The other girls are more than likely not going to watch you change, in the same way that you probably don’t notice the other girls changing.

     

    • There are bathrooms available to change in in most locker rooms.

     

    • It is okay to be a different body size than the other girls, just as it is okay to have different marks on your body.

     

    • If you still do not feel confident changing in front of other people, then try putting your gym shirt over the one you are wearing without putting your arms through the holes. Remove your arms from the other shirt’s holes and proceed to put them through the gym shirt’s. Then slip the other shirt either over your head or over your waist until you have removed it.

     

    • If you need to change bras, follow the same routine as the shirt, just add an extra step.

     

    • You can also wear your gym shirts/bras/shorts underneath whatever you choose to wear to school. Just be sure to wash them nightly or twice a week.

     

    • If you have friends, try asking them to hold a towel for you to change behind, and offer the same courtesy.

    I found this video with instructions on how to best change in a locker room for additional help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igbN_rPcwT0