Body Image, Weight and the Internet

Last week I read Ashe’s post 5 Quotes from Adele on Style, Beauty, & Body Image. Ashe’s post sparked a discussion about body image, self confidence and then Internet. We decided to take on this topic today on our blogs; you can read Ashe’s post over at her blog.

Caught In Between

Though I’ve been an average weight my whole life, as a teenager it became painstakingly obvious that the cultural ideal was the skinny, pale skinned beauty queen. And, minus the paleness, I would never be her.

However, somewhere down the line, the norms online swung another direction and not toward beauty or thinness, but on self confidence and positive body image. And that self confidence was only attainable to women who were overweight.

As someone who is an average size, I feel caught between two warring beauty norms. I know that this new shift is very empowering to many women, but it initially left me feeling like I would ever feel positive about my body.

The first time I remember feeling this way was after watching the film Real Women Have Curves. I was a Resident Assistant at the time, and I remember sitting in a Hall Director’s office and telling her how I didn’t relate to the movie at all because I wasn’t overweight. And even more so, I felt so left out by a film that was supposedly wanted women of all sizes to accept themselves. I fell through the cracks as an average woman.

I’d be lying to say that I’ve made some sort of revelation and I have a 100% positive body image. But what I can say is that like most things in life, it’s a work in progress that I am willing to do.

I believe any woman can feel confident at any size. She doesn’t have to be ideal whether that ideal is stick thin or more voluptuous. Or maybe she’s in the middle just like me.

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  • Jamillah

    I haven’t watched RWHC but I know the discourse you’re talking about and saw Ashe’s post as well. The thing is I really try to drown all of this stuff out and actually pretty successfully do. I think it’s just important to celebrate yourself and damn what the media is projecting or what the internet is saying, regardless of what spectrum is speaking the loudest at whatever time. Just qualify yourself against your own terms and that will be just that. I can appreciate someone who is bigger than me celebrating it and I can also appreciate a smaller woman celebrating that but really neither of those things have anything to do with my own self worth and how I choose to feel about my own body. Honestly all this women being pitted against women really just makes me very sad, sorry I am babbling but I’m really a passionate lover of being a female and of females and of projecting positivity and I think these kinds of “debates” are so super crazy. I just don’t think it gets us anywhere.

  • James Martin

    Hi Courtney!

    I do believe that beauty is in the eye of beholder. So what’s the point of insecurities towards others. What matter is you love every marvels of your body and enjoy every ounce of it. Don’t feel that someone intimidate you with that, we are unique in every way we had. We are all created by God and no one is like a face of a monster.

  • Kael23

    Thanks for sharing this with us.. You are a great inspiration for us ladies.. :) Keep up the great work!

    • Courtney

      Thanks Kael!

  • Paula Kiger

    Great points you make here – I am loving the energy coming from the Teen Week bloggers!

    • Courtney

      It’s been very inspiring to read Teen Week posts.

  • Cristina Fahrbach-Connors

    I agree that we can be confident and accept ourselves at any size. It’s tough, for some more than others. I used to not understand when thinner women seemed not to love themselves. But we are all real people with our insecurities and messages we receive engrained into us. We are all deserving of respect and love–whatever size we are. And our feelings—however “silly” it might seem to others deserve to be treated with compassion and caring. Great post!!!! Look forward to reading more.

    • Courtney

      Thanks Cristina! I agree–anyone at any size can doubt their own beauty.

  • Traxis

    This is so true.. A sexy lady is not the one that is skinny but the one who knows how to carry her body with confident.. :) Thanks for sharing this great point!

    • Courtney

      Hi Traxis! Thanks for sharing your opinion. I really think all women can be self confident no matter what their size.

  • tatiana

    I definitely related to this post, except I’m more on the below average side since I’m thin. I saw Real women have curves and felt instant backslash. And yes, much of the current rhetoric for and about self-esteem is directed on women who are plus size, which creates this false image that only women of a specific size have low self-esteem. This leads many people to wrongly believe that all thin women are automatically happier and if they’re bigger than you must be miserable and trying to diet all the time. It’s best to explore everyone’s stories!

    So I definitely related to this post. At times it feels like a smaller woman can’t even feel bad about herself because she has the “ideal type”. Which is total bullshit but happens nonetheless.

    • Courtney

      Watching Real Women Have Curves was such a strange experience. I knew I should feel uplifted by it, but I really just felt like I didn’t live up to the ideal that the movie presented. From that point, I started realizing more and more that being overweight was equated with having self confidence. I think your observations are totally spot on–that body size is equated to self confidence. That’s just as bad as saying skinny is beautiful. Anyone can be beautiful or confident at any size.

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