Society tells me to change my body? I say change your attitude.
So just as we’re all getting over the fact we have to make our bums perkier, jawlines more defined, try and miraculously remove our cellulite and have no trace of a roll whatsoever when we sit down/bend over, there’s yet another thing we have been told to change about our bodies – yasss! Oh to be a woman in 2018!
Scrolling through Twitter and watching Snapchat stories, the same ad popped up twice in the same day telling me “how to get rid of hip dips”… amazing! Just what I wanted to do! Not. Now, if you’re anything like me you’ll be thinking, “what the hell is a hip dip!?”. Let me tell you, it’s basically the shape of a woman’s pelvis that causes indentations in her hips. So in other words, something we can’t change. It’s where the skin is attached to part of your thigh bone and causes a wee indent due to your body structure. So, something completely natural. Hips dips can be more or less prominent depending on what clothes you wear, the width of your hips and the shape of your pelvis as well as the distribution of your body fat and muscle. So, something you can’t change. And yet we are being told to get rid of them. HOW is that meant to make any woman feel comfortable about herself?
This article was aimed at woman, so for the record I am going to speak about this from a woman’s point of view. I completely understand that men also feel pressures and worries about their appearance from society, but because I can’t speak from a male perspective, this post is solely focussed on women.
The first thing I thought when I read the article on ‘hip dips’ was “wait… I have them… is that something I should now worry about?” I looked in the mirror and they instantly became more prominent, uglier even than they had been before, because before I barely noticed them. It’s never something I have had to think of. Now let me say, I am a small-framed petite female and I only weigh 46kg, but I still have rolls of fat on my tummy and those so-called ‘hip dips’, that before today I hadn’t thought twice about. And do you know why I have them? Because I am normal. Yet all of these normal things are becoming abnormal to us because of what we define ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’ as today. Now and again I have a takeaway (okay… at least once a week!) but I exercise regularly and I’m really active, always try to have my 5 a day and live a pretty healthy lifestyle, reflected in my body. So, for someone like me who doesn’t have to worry about their weight to now be so concerned about something else society tells me I should be worried about makes me look at the bigger picture.
I am now not only worried about myself, but I am becoming increasingly worried about our girls, our younger generations, and girls that are close to me such as my niece and my little cousins. For me, that’s why I want to see a positive change in the way we speak about bodies, because I cannot bear to think of the girls we are raising self-criticising, hating, loathing, comparing and constantly wanting to change. When I was about 14 I was so worried about calories and putting on weight. I was obsessed with limiting myself to about 800 calories a day, which is crazy and so unhealthy. I feel like for a young girl I was too aware of calories and was too scared of putting on weight that I would be really careful with what I ate, and at one point in the school Easter holidays when I was 15, I weighed myself in my auntie’s house in Inverness and I was 5 stone 10, but still hated my ‘big hips’ and ‘big tummy’. If that was me then influenced by beauty magazines, without apps like Instagram and Snapchat, how are our young girls going to deal with having a unique body shape that doesn’t fit society’s perception of ‘normal’ with smartphones, tablets and articles being much easier to access than ever before and promoting low self-esteem. As I am becoming stronger (and although it can be hard), I am becoming more able to accept and love my own body – because our bodies are amazing, ladies! Yes I have down days, we all do. And I can almost guarantee you that that woman who you idolise and think has the ‘perfect’ figure has something about herself that she hates, that she looks at in the mirror and get’s upset about, something that she wishes she could change. Because we all do, and I really want to see this change coming from us all to show that we are all unique with features we should love about ourselves and we don’t have to fit the mould.
I did a little experiment to see if beauty magazines still promote the low self-esteem I felt they did when I was younger. I had a look in a local shop and took four popular woman’s magazines, which I’m not going to name, but I just wanted to see how many of them were ‘body shaming’ or commenting on females bodies on the front covers alone. The results? Every single one. Yup, every magazine included words like (to name a few); weight loss, in shape, 30 day plan, bikini body, baby body, dream body, new body, pregnant body, calories, diet. On one of the covers, THREE out of the FIVE stories on the front were about women’s bodies – including a lady who has ‘put on weight’ during pregnancy. And what is wrong with that? She’s having a baby! Her body is nurturing a real-life human being, providing a home for the baby to grow and develop. Women’s bodies are a miracle, designed to have children in a world that focuses on the weight a woman puts on during said pregnancy instead of the completely amazing concept of actually creating, carrying and giving birth to a child. THINK ABOUT IT, A WOMAN ACTUALLY GROWS A HUMAN INSIDE HER AND GIVES BIRTH – HER BODY IS AMAZING! So what if she has bloody hip-dips or stretch marks or a tummy or anything of the sort? She should be made to feel amazing because that’s what she is! I am completely and utterly sick and tired of it as a young female who feels pressures every day. What do photographers gain from snapping a picture of a celebrity on a beach sitting down with a bit of a tummy, or munching a burger? Does that make them feel good? If so, that’s a real shame. We are now at the point that we can’t get that perfect Instagram picture without looking like we have absolutely no back fat, lumps or bumps, bloating or anything that is completely acceptable and normal! I have seen a few girls recently posting unedited pictures and I am LOVING it because they are embracing how wonderful they are! I have been in the position before, where I wanted to get a bikini picture on the beach on holiday but was then disgusted and refused to post it on Instagram because the light was bad and it made my tummy look big or my boobs look out of proportion. Why do we care so much? Why are we now at the point we can’t enjoy ourselves without constantly looking at what we can fix and change about ourselves? This is when we have to see a change in the world that is going to lift women up instead of shutting them down.
I’m going to finish this with something I saw on Facebook, a list of 10 things every woman should know, by Austin Blood.
1. Everyone has rolls when they bend over.
2. When someone tells you that you’re beautiful, believe them. They aren’t lying.
3. Sometimes we all wake up with breath that could kill a goat.
4. For every woman unhappy with her stretch marks is another woman who wishes she had them.
5. You should definitely have more confidence. And if you saw yourself the way others see you, you would.
6. Don’t look for a man to save you. Be able to save yourself.
7. It’s okay to not love every part of your body….but you should.
8. We all have that one friend who seems to have it all together. That woman with the seemingly perfect life. Well, you might be that woman to someone else.
9. You should be a priority. Not an option, a last resort, or a backup plan.
10. You’re a woman. That alone makes you pretty damn remarkable.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
Amber Zoe x