Our ‘Big’ Issue

As simple enough as it sounds, a lot of us know it is not easy to feel comfortable in our own skins, to look in the mirror and think ‘Yes, I’m happy with that.’ I’ll admit that I do envy those who say that and actually mean it.

As a child I never worried about weight or how I looked. Or so I thought. A few days ago I found my dusty old diary in our attic and an entry I’d written as a young teenage girl really surprised me. I wrote that I was not happy about my weight and even added “must lose weight immediately!” I thought back to that age and realised that was actually a little underweight back then. That entry actually made me feel really sad – clearly body image has been a personal issue for me since I was a young teen, a time when it shouldn’t have been an issue at all!

The perfect body?

I was never the slimmest, the quickest,or the prettiest in my school, but I worked hard and was happy with my grades. At the age of thirteen I thought the perfect body were those of Kate Moss and Rachel from Friends. Women like them were always plastered on the front of magazines full of articles promising that you, too, could lose weight in eight weeks and feel so much better for it!  When I was growing up I can’t ever remember seeing a front cover girl who wasn’t stick think, blonde with a perfectly tanned and toned body. Of course, at the time it didn’t occur to me that these women had to look like this for their jobs, or had personal trainers to keep them in shape, that they felt the pressure to look good when the paparazzi unexpectedly turned up.

If these images are embedded in our minds from such a young age how are we meant to know what a good body image is? How are we meant to feel good about ourselves when the media is telling us we need to look a certain way to feel good?  Is it these women in magazines or is it normal, real-life women that we should look up to? It’s no wonder we are a nation obsessed with our bodies!

According to UK Feminista online, a recent Ofsted survey revealed that 1 in 3 girls said their bodies were their main worry by the age of just 10 years old.

I often wonder if these perceptions will ever change. If we’ll manage to ignore the media messages telling us to look one way, and feel good and happy about the way we are.

Saying this there are many sportswomen, singers, and actresses who do believe that our body image is not the most important thing in our lives. These women are trying to tell us to be ok with who we are, and to ignore what the media perceives as ‘perfect’.

“I want women to know that it’s okay. That you can be whatever size you are and you can be beautiful inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful, and what’s not, and that’s not right.”

 – Serena Williams, Professional Tennis player.

“You shouldn’t be pressured into trying to be thin by the fashion industry, because they only want models that are like human mannequins.”

– Rihanna, singer.

These women refuse to let others dictate how they should look and are a brilliant inspiration to everyone who feels insecure about themselves.

90% of women see their bodies as 25% bigger than they actually. It’s shocking but believable, but something needs to change.

We may adore these famous women, look up to them, but can we really take their advice and believe in what they are saying? Will we ever realise that we are OK as we are and do not need anyone or anything telling us otherwise?

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