My hair is frizzier than ever, my jumper collection has been packed away and the sun is shining. It looks like summer has finally arrived on the little island of Ireland!
I am so excited to go to outdoor cinemas, to eat ice cream by the sea and to laze about in the garden with the La La Land soundtrack playing in the background. However, one thing I hate about the summer is the ‘summer body’ conversation.
There is a huge pressure on people to slim down and tone up before summer rolls around. Women feel like they need to drop a dress size to look socially acceptable in a bikini. Men feel pressured to visit the gym more frequently to buff up for the summer months. Now, I’m not saying that being fit is a bad thing. Being fit and healthy is something we should all be, but we need to remind ourselves that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body’.
Mainstream media has tainted our views about how we should look. We have given the media far too much control when it comes to our thoughts on body image. Body’s come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s time to ignore the medias idea of what a perfect body looks like and start telling yourself that your body is perfect. You don’t need to be a certain size to wear a crop top. You don’t need to lose ten pounds to wear a pair of shorts. You don’t have to cover up your body because you don’t look like the woman on the cover of Vogue.
Everyone is self conscious about a part of their body, for me it’s my tubby belly and pasty pale legs, but I’m not letting that stop me from wearing my favourite floral skirt this summer. And you shouldn’t either.
We need to ignore this pressure and start to embrace body positivity. Never let someone tell you what you can and can’t wear. It’s your body, not theirs.
“The human body is the best work of art.”
― Jess C. Scott
I’ve got freckles on my back
And pasty pale skin.
I’ve got stretch marks on my stomach
And light grey eyes.
I’ve got curly brown hair
And scars on my thighs.
I’ve learned to love my body, even the parts that make my heart sink when I look in the mirror. I remind myself of it’s strength and it’s power and it’s duty to protect the organs that keep me alive. My body’s purpose isn’t to squeeze into a pair of jeans from Topshop.
It is there to protect the heart that pumps blood around my body and the lungs that are the reason for every breath I take. My body protects my brain, which is full of ideas and memories and dreams. My body protects the bones that are the reason I can walk down the street and dance around the kitchen and hug my parents.
Your body’s strength is mesmerizing, so the next time you start to worry about how your legs aren’t long enough or how your tummy isn’t toned enough, remind yourself that your body is strong, your body is your great protector and your body is your home.
I was chatting to my fifteen year old sister about body image and I was so shocked when she said that she dislikes everything about her body. There’s nothing wrong with her whatsoever, yet society and the media have filled her mind with the idea that there’s something wrong with you unless you don’t have a thigh gap, a flat stomach, perfectly plucked eyebrows and clear, tanned skin. She doesn’t feel comfortable with how she looks and sometimes even finds it hard to be around people because of the pressure to look ‘perfect’.
Back when I was fifteen I had a badly cut full fringe, spotty skin and wore funky t-shirts my mam bought me from Dunnes Stores. I didn’t feel this pressure to contour my skin or to fit into a pair of size 6 Topshop jeans. I was happy and care free about how I looked. To this day I am still happy with how I look. I adore my quirky sense of style, I’ll wear frilly socks and black patent brogues if it makes me feel good. I love my pasty pale skin even though my mam constantly hassles me about wearing a bit of fake tan. I love my legs, even if they are short and bruised, battered and as white as snow. I’ve got stretch marks on my thighs, I’ve got spots on my face, my eyebrows aren’t perfectly plucked, my hair can be short and frizzy and my stomach isn’t as flat as a pancake, but I love my body and how I look. I feel comfortable in my own skin and that’s how we should all feel, no matter what society says.
We need to encourage and empower one another. We need to ignore these articles and online comments fat shaming Selena Gomez, attacking Wentworth Miller for gaining weight or mocking Tanya Burr about being curvy. The negative impact the media is having on people is horrifying and it has to stop. These people pressurising society to look a certain way to not deserve our attention anymore. We need to focus our energy on boosting one another’s confidence. Something as simple as commenting on your friends new profile photo and telling him his hair looks great or complimenting your aunties new dress at your next family event can help. It’s time for us to battle against this idea that if you don’t look a certain way you aren’t beautiful or attractive or appealing. One of the most important things we need to do in life is to accept ourselves and love us for us. As Miranda Hart (my favourite funny lady) brilliantly said “We all have our worries about our bodies and our looks. We just need to make the best of our lovely, wonky selves. The key is to never compare and try be something you’re not.”
Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with being tall and slim or short and curvy. There’s is no such thing as one ideal way to look. We are all perfect in our own unique ways. And if anyone tells you different then they’re not worth your time. We need to fight against this pressure and love who we are. Embrace every freckle, every curve and every spot. Don’t let the media’s toxic words ruin who you are. Be you, because that’s the best person you can be.
p.s yes I did name this blog post after the John Mayer song, I couldn’t help it!