Perfectly Imperfect: A Rant About Body Image
Welcome back to my playground, my Lexual friends.
Thank you for joining me for one of my passionate rants.
Have you noticed that whenever Summer approaches, the posts and ads for exercise and diet plans begin to skyrocket? My social feeds are FULL of them, talking about how to get that perfect "summer body" or "bikini body."
I'm fucking DONE with that shit. The perfect bikini body is YOUR body in a bikini (or bathing suit, or whatever swimwear you prefer). You don't have to do a goddamn thing to get yourself ready for the pool or beach.
Just don't forget to bring a towel...
There's More to Being Healthy Than How You Look
It pains me that so many people think that pursuing a healthy diet and exercise is just a means to look better. There’s so much more to being healthy than just what you can look like. Whatever happened to being healthy for the sake of living longer, feeling good on the inside, and enjoying life to its fullest? Whatever happened to the notion of moving your body because it’s fun, feels good, and relaxes you, not because you feel you have to so you can fit into a smaller dress size?
When I was growing up, my parents taught my sister and me about the importance of exercise, and how fun it can be.
They always emphasized health and strength versus being thin, making us feel good in our own skin. Which, as many other girls and women know, is NOT AT ALL easy when all the media around us (and our peers) are OBSESSED with looks, more so than how healthy we are and feel. There is SO much pressure to look good and to fit in.
The Body Shaming Pressure Never Lets Up — No Matter What We Do
And no, that pressure to fit in does NOT end when you get older. All of us, especially women, are body-shamed no matter what we do. Unless, of course, we manage to attain a fictional level of perfection, impossible to find in REAL LIFE, and seen only after multiple filters have been applied, and blemishes and scars and cellulite stretch marks and other imperfections have all been Photoshopped out.
Meanwhile, it’s these imperfections that make us who we are, that show us how much we’ve lived. They’re part of us. Feeling badly about any part of us, shaming ourselves, and feeling embarrassed about our imperfections only serve to fuck with our self-esteems even more.
Social media doesn’t help, especially in that a lot of people spend so much time comparing themselves to others and wishing they could look like / live like the carefully selected and edited images they see on their feeds.
With this extreme pressure to look good, perform, and show-case ourselves… our confidence comes from the wrong place. Confidence is often tied to aesthetics rather than to personality, intelligence, and strength.
Why don’t we as a society talk more about the importance of confidence that is not based on physical attributes, and help others develop a sense of self-worth that isn’t solely dependent on how many likes they get on a photo on social media?
I could rant about this for hours, but I’ll share some personal details with you to give you a sense of where I’m coming from when it comes to my own personal body image.
My Personal Journey with Body Image
When I was an adolescent, I went through a growth spurt, gained weight (and wow, my boobs tripled in size in a year), and struggled to wrap my head around it. Even as I continued to exercise and eat well, my body changed (and continues to change), but it was all-natural and NORMAL. I was an adolescent, for fuck’s sake.
Luckily, I DIDN’T listen to the media (which, at that time, was mostly magazine-based, as the Internet was way too new, and MySpace was the prevalent social media), or my easily influenced friends, when it came to how I felt about myself. I listened to my parents, who reassured me I was beautiful at any size. My wonderful parents (including my mother, Celine The Bra Doctor®) have been running a lingerie company, Now That’s Lingerie (https://www.nowthatslingerie.com/), for over 30 years — priding themselves on inclusive, flattering fits for women of all shapes and sizes. Why? Because all shapes, sizes, curves, and breast cups are NORMAL.
When I worked alongside my mother in their old brick-and-mortar stores (now transitioned to 100% online), I heard and saw it all: women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and walks of life who didn’t feel pretty enough, sexy enough, normal enough. Celine made everyone feel comfortable and sexy, helping them find lingerie and clothing that fit THEM, and not the other way around. They would leave the store transformed and feeling brand new, happy, and comfortable in their body, thanks to my mother.
That’s how she made me feel, too. I learned so much from those experiences and I’m so grateful to her and to all those women for showing me just how normal we ALL are and look.
I am normal. YOU are normal. OUR BODIES ARE FUCKING NORMAL AND BEAUTIFUL!
– Lexi Sylver
The Struggles Can Become Very Real — and Dangerous
Some of my friends weren’t as lucky as I was. They struggled with serious self-esteem issues, several of which unfortunately became eating disorders. I’m not saying that lightly, either. Eating disorders are life-threatening and damaging in so many ways.
These friends are thankfully healthy today, but it took a complete overhaul in the way they think about themselves and their health to get there.
Even with an eating disorder or unhealthy thoughts behind us, we may struggle with our body image as our life progresses. Think about it, do you feel 100% confident in yourself and your body when you look into the mirror? Why do we tend to look at our imperfections instead of the whole beautiful package? Why are we focusing on the negatives and not loving our bodies? What factors / people may have influenced those negative feelings about ourselves and our bodies?
What are We Teaching Young Girls & Women?
IF ONLY we taught girls at a young age that what’s really important is feeling good and making healthy choices that will contribute to a long life.
IF ONLY we taught girls & women that we evolve, change, and flow with our bodies over our lifetime. That these shifts are completely normal, and beautiful! That our bodies aren’t a “one size fits all,” and we are meant to be uniquely ourselves.
IF ONLY we taught girls that “beauty” and fashion commercials consistently make us feel “less than,” so that we think something’s missing that we can feel complete with ONLY IF we purchase said product. That’s how they make money. That’s how capitalism and marketing work.
It’s never too late to have a healthy mentality when it comes to your body image and your self-confidence, and to be a positive role model for young kids, too.
What’s your experience with body image? How do you perceive yourself? What’s influenced that? What are you doing to practice a little more self-love?
Feel free to share with me and my readers in the comments!
Until next time, Stay Lexual!