BODY IMAGE | body shape
continuing with the body image series, body shape is a huge issue.
each and every day, images of skinny, white, happy fit people are shoved to our heads through the Internet, TV, ads on the streets.
and the result of that is that we've all become extremely self-aware of our own body shape, of our own imperfections, of every centimetre of 'excessive' fat we have.
we've become unbelievably anxious and frail when it comes to our bodies.
well, no wonder actually.
the cult of the slim and fat-shaming is so omnipresent it's impossible to escape from it.
but, i believe, it's about time to change that now.
again, here's a personal story of mine.
as a kid, i had a pretty regular weight. then i started attending grammar school when i was 11 and i gained some weight, but i wouldn't say it was anything significant. then, when i was 13, i suffered from mononucleosis and literally slept for one week straight without eating and had to follow a very restricted diet for a few months. naturally, i lost a lot of weight. i still remember how i went to a school trip that year and my class teacher, who wasn't 'the skinny ideal' herself, said something like 'woah, you lost a lot of weight! it had already seemed like you would be a bit chubby but this is a lot better.' i was fucking 13. i never said it to anyone until now, but i still remember the scene to the last detail.
then, when i was 15/16, i got pretty crazy about getting really skinny. maybe it was still this school trip memory, maybe it was the influence of all the pale underweight girls on tumblr and Lookbook at that time. either way, i developed real bad eating habits. let's face it, i was suffering from anorexia. i would eat one piece of fruit or one 'light' yoghurt a day and that would be it. luckily, i soon became sane again and started eating regularly. this was all around the time i started this blog.
posting outfit pictures was however just another element of pressure put on my body. even though i was eating quite regularly by then and my body was completely fine, i would suck my stomach in, obsess over not posting my thighs or my rabbit-like teeth and what not. even though i was pretty skinny at that point, i got some mean comments trying to shame my body. on the other hand, i remember how popular one of my posts, the one where the way i was standing created an optical illusion of me having a thigh gap, was. when i think of it now, i feel really sick.
as the time went, i would stop obsessing so much about what i eat and how my body looks, but i would still suck my stomach in and so on. however, when i moved to Denmark, it changed rapidly. even though i gained a lot of weight from all the stress and was at my 'thickest' (jesus), i actually felt much more comfortable in my own body. we discussed it with a couple of friends who experienced the same and we came to the conclusion that it might be because of the Scandinavian mentality of not-giving-a-fuck-about-you. i've never felt such strong shallow body shape pressure from Scandi boys as i do in CZ (sorry for being so heteronormative now). also, since moving to Denmark (2 years now), i only had a full body mirror for 2 months in my Berlin room, which cured me from checking my stomach, my thighs, my arms etc so often very easily.
nowadays, i don't actually even think of my body shape most of the time. i don't have the need to examine it all the time, to compare it with other people's bodies, to adjust it. it just is the way it is, and as long as it functions well, i'm happy about it.
of course, every now and then, there are moments when i'm not super-excited about my stomach or thighs, but i'm always trying to realise how stupid that is.
i refuse to get upset about comments on my 100% Slavic hips or my food belly after eating 3 plates at an all-you-can-eat.
the thing i do get upset by is however how many people, especially young girls, perceive body shape as an issue.
all the envying comments on Instagram or on Facebook.
posts about new diets or exercises.
bloggers doing exercising challenges, writing about being unsatisfied with their own bodies and using a photoshoot in swimwear as a threat of sorts to not omit the healthy lifestyle because 'if this doesn't force us to exercise, what else will'. (sorry girls, i love you all and your blogs too, and i fully support you in trying to pursue a healthy way of living, but you don't need to do it to have 'a better body', your bodies are just fine. plus, imagine how many teenage girls could get influenced by that, by seeing completely okay bodies being called not okay. imagine.)
so, what to do now?
i would have some advice for you:
1) stop listening to anyone commenting on your body shape
2) stop commenting on other people's body shape
3) stop defining people by their body in general
4) stop comparing your body to those photoshopped bodies in ads; ideally work on not being influenced by all those ads at all
5) stop punishing your body for not being the way you would want it to be
6) embrace your body for being able to function every day, no matter of what shape it is.
sure, it's not easy.
but i believe that it is something that needs to be done.
loving yourself, or at least coming at peace with yourself, is essential.