*Today’s post is a guest post by Midori, a fashion and beauty blogger who focuses on budget conscious, apple shaped women. You can check out her site here.
The story of how my negative body image started
Ever since puberty, I’ve struggled with having a positive body image and having body confidence. At the tender age of 13, I went back to the Philippines for school and everyone told me I was fat. Relatives would say I was fat the moment I met them! It was crazy to me. I guess in the Filipino culture it’s not as taboo to say that and not as big a deal like it is in the states. Some may even say it’s a compliment. I was told this when I was only 105 lbs.
Before that time, I don’t think I ever thought about my body as being anything but mine. I didn’t think about how it looked to other people. After feeling self conscious about my weight and the fat comments I received from so many relatives I just met, I started dieting, which unfortunately for me, led to me struggling for years with an Binge Eating Disorder (BED), a pretty common but not as talked about eating disorder.
The common message
It didn’t help that at the same time I was being told I was fat by so many people, I also started really noticing boys. I’d watch tv shows and see billboard ads and notice all the women. I’d look at magazines because I love fashion, and it seemed like the whole world was telling me one message.
Skinny is beautiful. Skinny is the only beautiful.
This was very unfortunate in my eyes because I was naturally not the gangly svelte type. I had an apple shaped figure. Even at my thinnest, I had a wide face, short neck, small hips and wider shoulders. I was more muscular and strong than skinny. My butt was round, my thighs were shapely. Nothing about me matched what society and everyone was telling me about what beautiful looked like.
The only way to change your negative body image is to change the message.
Looking back on my life now that I’m in my mid thirties, I realized that I just accepted this message my entire adolescent life. I didn’t fight it, nor did I try to prove it wrong. I just tried to shape myself to fit that mold. It didn’t work because I could never change my natural body type. Looking back in my life, I wish I had rebelled against this message in my own way just for my own sanity. I wish I had at least questioned it.
During the process of my recovery from my eating disorder, I heard from many women who were telling a different message about body positivity and body confidence. I learned one important lesson.
The only scientific way to change from having a negative body image to having a positive body image is to see body diversity. See a range of body types. And even more beneficial, see body types just like yours. The more bodies you see in the media, in your Instagram feed, on Tv, and in magazines that are like yours, the more likely you will come to accept your own as beautiful. Your subconscious says “Wow she is beautiful. My body is like hers. I must be beautiful too.” Before the influx of body positive models, fashion bloggers, and influencers, when we were only seeing one type of body in the media, the message before might have been, “Wow she’s beautiful. My body is nothing like hers. I must be ugly.”
So basically, the only way to change the message is to change the bodies you look at.
The positive body images are out there. We just have to be proactive about making them front and center. It’s the only reason why I started and finished all the seasons of the HBO series, “Girls.” You can read about that post here if you are interested.
Do you struggle with negative body image or lack body confidence? Is it something you’ve struggled with but overcome? I’d love to know how you did it!
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