I’m writing this for me as much as for anyone else out there. It’s spring, the weather is pretty nice, and Foss Hill is teeming with people sporting bathing suits and bare skin. Like holidays, springtime tends to be a period during which, while most people seem happy and celebratory, a growing number of people feel depressed and completely unsatisfied with themselves. A curious person checking our Anonymous Confession Board (ACB) will doubtless notice the trend of posts relating to self -image, body image, thoughts of suicide, and questions about the future, as well as posts that criticize people who have certain body types. I want to write my own post to address some of those issues.
There is a ton of pressure on us to look our best when we go out in public, especially during spring or summer when people are supposed to take advantage of the weather and wear clothes that show off the beautiful parts of their bodies. Advertisements pressure us to try to lose weight or improve our bodies so that we can look good. I’ve seen ACB posts that denigrate women with “fat” bodies or women with “tiny” breasts, and frankly, I’m sick of it. You should celebrate your body and wear what makes you feel attractive, and whoever is worth being your friend or being your significant other will recognize how beautiful you are.
I’m body-conscious; I have never had an eating disorder, but all my life I’ve been told that I am thin and underweight. I eat healthily and heartily, but I’ve always had a high metabolism rate, and people used to ask me often whether I was anorexic. Earlier this semester, my metabolism changed, and I developed curves; my doctors celebrated the fact that for the first time ever, I had a normal body mass index, and I was looking healthier and happier. I’ve poked at “fat” on my body because I’ve had trouble adjusting to the new me whose ribs don’t show through my skin and who can no longer fit into size zero clothing, whose belly is no longer flat and whose rear end is finally noticeable. Sometimes, I glance at myself and I notice how clothes flatter my body more, or how nice my silhouette is. We all worry about our body image and pay attention to our appearance, but now more than ever, it is time to celebrate our shapes and our bodies and rejoice in ourselves.
Don’t ever pay attention to the people who say that you don’t look good. Maintain the weight that is healthy for you, not the one that society and the media say you should have. Wear clothes that flatter you, not a mannequin, and if you genuinely look like a mannequin, don’t worry about maintaining that slender body image but rather about embracing your body. Recently, there have been reports of modeling agencies trying to recruit at one of Sweden’s premier eating disorder clinics; it’s a stark illustration of the priorities of the fashion industry, and of popular media culture. You should not become a victim of that culture.
This spring, I’m urging every single one of you, regardless of gender or appearance, to go soak up some sun in your favorite clothing; fight the end-of-the-semester blues and breathe in some fresh air. Get off the ACB and away from other negative influences; grab a nice snack and a towel and make some new friends. Don’t worry about what you have to do or feel you need to accomplish with your life; success comes with confidence, so take the time to gain some self-esteem. There’s no need to be body-conscious, and the only way to fight it is to prove to yourself that you have a great body. I promise to take my own message to heart, too; see you all on Foss!