Girls, Women and the Battle Against Body Image

I AM compelled to write on this subject after hearing conversation of my 17-years-old niece Sarah with her parents.

Besides, I did overhear her conversation with her younger sister Ika where they discussed about body and image.

And I think I need to talk about body image. 

As someone who was so insecure about my body as long as I can remember, I would be able to talk about it from my own perspective. As I was growing up…there’s always something that I wasn’t happy about.

It could be my big breasts…or big thighs or chubby cheeks…round face…or even my long lustrous black hair!

When I know many would love to have my beautiful long black hair, or my flat-chested girlfriends who would love to have my boobs…I have always found something to complain about.

When people said I have sexy lips I found them to be too thick for my own liking…

Though there were times when I was happy and secure about my body. But I guess the negative moments outweighed the positive ones…

As if I was born with that innate ability to complain and whine about my appearance and body…

In a world obsessed with women’s bodies, we women are bombarded with images of them, usually undressed, at every turn. But though we see women’s bodies everywhere, it’s only really one body that we’re seeing, over and over again. Usually a young, thin, white, toned, large-breasted, long-legged body.

Funnily enough, we are fully aware that’s not what most women’s bodies look like. But we ended up finding ourselves comparing our own bodies to it anyway, and finding ours wanting.

This insistence on subconscious valuing and judging women’s bodies first and their careers or personalities second is insidious and powerful. In a world that holds up ridiculous and unrealistic standards as ideal, it means they are always doomed to fall short.

But as I grow older and a bit wiser, I stop demonising my own body.

When someone asked me to describe my body, ‘curvy’ is my answer. And proud of it too.

And having a partner who accept you as you are does help. A lot!

Indeed, by telling us curvy is was better, however, patronising us by suggesting we are our own worst body critics and should magically “snap out of it”, isn’t going to help. Women will stop worrying about their looks when society stops telling us that they’re all we’re worth. 

And I have the luxury of watching three girls (17, nine and three) growing up in front of my eyes, all I want to tell them that people do love them and will love them no matter what size they are, if they can be true to themselves and not chasing acceptance from the wrong people.

I want to tell my precious Sarah, Ika and munchkin that they should keep trying to express themselves, even when their peers are trying their hardest to assimilate, because one day it will be what makes them extraordinary girls and stand out in the crowd.

Take it from me, their aunt who loves them to death and will always be there to love and guide them.

The truth is that we all carry some kind of sadness with us, for whatever reason, and that we should keep that in mind and be a little kinder to one another as we move through the world together. Because we’re all doing the best we can and inside of each of us, there is a little child who just wants to feel loved…A