Hello friends! A month or so ago, I started a series, if you will, called “A Teen’s Take [on…]!” It’s relatively simple. In these posts, myself, or another teen blogger, will share their feelings and experiences with/on basically anything. The goal/mission of these posts is to relate with fellow teens and to give adults an inside perspective on modern-day youth. With that being said, the following content is just my personal experiences, as I cannot and will not speak for teenagers as a whole. Today, I will be sharing my feelings on body positivity and the societal standards we face, specifically teenage girls, about our bodies. Before we jump in, I want to mention that this post touches on body image, so if you are someone who is susceptible to this topic, please click off (or read my latest post!)
I am genuinely so proud and honored to be a part of a generation who questions society. The amount of young people who feel at home in their bodies and are normalizing normal things, like stretch marks, and bloat, is truly astonishing. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally aware of the millions of teenagers currently at war with themselves because they have been given an impossible mission: Be the ideal shape, size, weight, and color. I am also aware that my generation isn’t the first to go through a movement like this, before us came women who boldly wore pants in place of heavy and impractical skirts. It seems as if every time we can clear a hurdle, another one lies ahead. Moreover, it’s clear that we have been chasing an ever changing standard; it’s almost impossible to keep up.
Being “body positive” seems like a radical idea, and in some ways it is. I can imagine becoming truly in love with your body would take a good sum of years and many a mental breakdown. The funny thing is that it shouldn’t be this way. We, as humans, shouldn’t be seen as brave or inspiring, for simply accepting ourselves as we are. Unfortunately, generations upon generations have stacked these expectations on us. Naturally, some will clash, and that shows the purely unrealistic foundation on which the fashion and beauty industries were built upon. Let’s take a look at one of these contradictions: a person who doesn’t work out regularly is often faced with bewildered friends and relatives inquiring, “aren’t you afraid of gaining weight?!? When are you going to work that off?!?” On the other hand, someone who frequents the gym, for example, can be faced with the comment, “boys/girls won’t like you if you are too muscular!” Both comments are utterly ridiculous and horrid, but somehow, they have become normalized.
I can certainly attest to the fact that I hear (and say) more negative comments about someone’s or even my own body, than positive ones. At some point of the evolution of body shaming, it’s become more apparent to criticize someone for their appearance, rather than shine a light on their most normalized and valued aspects. See? Right there- This “look,” that we are all chasing after; what is it all for? To attract more people? To get praised for how you look? To feel pretty? Well, when most of those things happen, you are then seen as egotistical or bitchy. Our appearances will never truly grant us the happiness we believe it will if we hold them to societal standards.
I know that this piece is far too one sided. I can only write from my own experiences. I do, however, know what’s like to have people critique your appearance, and to feel extraordinarily uncomfortable in my own skin. I look up to those who embrace their bodies, as they are the trailblazers for generations to come. Although it is almost impossible for this phenomenon to disappear, almost as impossible as being seen as “perfect” to those who dish out approval, we can all do our part to fade it.