Throughout our educational years, students undergo pressures and conflicts caused by our peers, teachers, and family. One of the main issues we face has to do with the building of our character and how it might affect others. We are taught to be kind and to be cautious of our words, but who teaches us the limits? Where do we draw the line between a simple joke and an insult? These questions are especially relevant when we publically open up about ourselves. Whether we’re meeting a new person, talking to the people we’re most comfortable
These questions are especially relevant when we publically open up about ourselves. Whether we’re meeting a new person, talking to the people with whom we’re most comfortable, or presenting something in front of our peers, it is important to be confident and proud of who we are and what we’re saying in order to leave a lasting impact on others. The truth is, there are so many people in this world, and each individual is very different from the other. We oftentimes make comparisons with ourselves and other people, seeking out ultimate beauty and strength that we believe the world around us possesses. We judge people, people judge us, and we are left feeling self-conscious of ourselves. I wonder though, why do we choose to listen to those who hate, and not those who compliment? Is that just built into humanity? If we have the ability to show passion and kindness toward others, why can’t we direct those feelings toward ourselves?
I wonder though, why do we choose to listen to those who hate, and not those who compliment? Is that just built into humanity? If we have the ability to show passion and kindness toward others, why can’t we direct those feelings toward ourselves?
Last year I was introduced to a new movement that is slowly becoming more popular within our society called body positivity. After some thinking, I was left sincerely torn between loving and understanding the movement’s purpose and hating the entire idea of it. Now, as a student and still-growing person, I believe it is healthy to find public issues or opinions like this to inwardly debate, Especially if it directly impacts you.
According to my friends and family, I am the strong and determined student-athlete that usually has her life put together (or so it seems). But I am just like most other people; I struggle with self-confidence and am terrified of public criticism. I find myself being jealous of the taller, prettier girls in the hallway. I compare myself to the more focused students at school, and I am constantly feeling the pressures of society telling me what I should do, say, and feel. One of the biggest lessons that I have thus far learned from high school is that it is okay to be yourself. It’s okay to wear that outfit to school, to voice your opinion, to set goals for yourself. That doesn’t make you egotistical; it makes you human.
One of the biggest lessons that I have thus far learned from high school is that it is okay to be yourself. It’s okay to wear that outfit to school, to voice your opinion, to set goals for yourself. That doesn’t make you egotistical; it makes you human.
I first heard of the body positivity movement from one of my classmates when we were talking about personal interests and she spoke a little about the topic. I wanted to ask her in person what it meant to her and had the chance to talk to her about it recently. Senior Madison Thomas said that body positivity “is about not being afraid to wear certain clothes. A lot of people feel that girls who are heavier shouldn’t wear them because it shows their body parts. And also for guys, because everyone forgets about guys feeling body positive. I think that if anyone wants to wear anything, just go ahead. It’s just an article of clothing.”
It’s interesting how well our clothing can express our characters and personalities. But I think that body positivity goes beyond what a person wears. It means being comfortable in your own skin. I think that girls struggle with beauty because of society, and therefore wear makeup to battle those pressures. Guys are told to be strong and muscular, despite their body type or abilities. My dad has always been the person in my life to remind me that I am beautiful. He asks me to wear makeup, not because he thinks I need it, but because he says it enhances my natural beauty. And I think that if you take away society’s pressures, girls wear makeup because we want to. Because it makes us feel beautiful. And when you feel beautiful, you become more confident in everything that you do. That’s the part of body positivity that I appreciate and support.
Then we get to the issue of the movement. I feel that body positivity is an abused phrase that people use as an excuse to let themselves go. People either stop taking care of themselves, or don’t know how to, and use the idea to convince themselves that it’s okay to be that way. They look in the mirror and are unsatisfied with their reflection. But instead of doing something about it, they claim they are positive and go on lying to themselves and continue being unhappy with who they are. I don’t see this as truly living. You’re only given so much time here, so why are you wasting it being unsatisfied with something you can change?
My philosophy is this: take care of yourself and work hard to become the best version of yourself that you could possibly be. Don’t live an unsatisfying life. Whether you’re a girl or a guy, we all feel self-conscious sometimes because we are human. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, put in the effort and make the change. No one can do it for you because your body is your own. I may never be the tallest, nor the prettiest, nor the smartest. But I can climb ladders. I can wash my face and put on makeup. I can study hard to get good grades. I do these things because they make me happy. I do these things because I can. When I look in the mirror and am unhappy with myself, I don’t abuse the idea of body positivity and pretend that I feel beautiful. I get up and move. Nothing in life will be given to you on a silver platter. If you learn to tune out the world and work hard to become who you want to be, you will find ultimate happiness. I know I did.