One of those super annoying things about being a girl is that from the age of ten on you begin to start hating yourself, and not because your personality is unfit for human interaction, but because you look in the mirror one day and “realize” everything is wrong.
To give media and popular culture all the blame isn’t necessarily fair, although, much of insecurity and inferiority complexes evolve from the constant barrage of beauty and perfection only attainable with a surgeon, Photoshop, personal trainer, and pixie dust. In the end we are all responsible for how we handle the outside world and how we let it affect us, but this defense has holes, even the strongest among us fail at some point.
I remember it started in fifth grade, all of a sudden, us skinny, waify children all resting below 4’8″ of height were “fat”. We talked about it nonstop and reassured each other that, “you’re not fat at all, but I am! Waaaaa!” I don’t know why it hit us then, but it spread like wildfire and we were constantly reassuring one another that we weren’t fat, in fact, we were so far from fat we couldn’t even be measured against a fat scale.
As we grew older, the complaints didn’t stop, we became more “realistic.” We knew when we were thin but we learned about new faults in our appearance—big nose, no butt, poochy belly, tiny ears, curly hair, huge feet, freckles galore, bad face shape, enlarged pores. We found things wrong with ourselves I didn’t even know could exist.
Perhaps reading teen magazines in middle school and watching movies with super fine movie stars of both sexes influenced us. Maybe we thought that the boys preferred us this way and that way and every other way we weren’t. Likely, it reflected something far larger—insecurity in a world we were never asked to be a part of and had no idea how to participate in.
I’m no longer a child, tween, teen, or anything else in between. I’m in the higher range of my 20s and, although more secure, because this happens with maturity and wisdom (go self!), I still can relate closely to that adolescent girl, because she is alive and well inside me and will never go away. What a brat.
I have my days where I’m quite cruel to myself and whine to my boyfriend, “my belly is soooo fat! Can you tell I’ve gained weight? Bllaaaahhhhh!” The boyfriend runs and hides after telling me that I’m “crazy.”
Sometimes when I feel super awful, ugly, and fat, my entire life seems in shambles and I push past the positive attributes in my life, because being 1/2 pound more on Monday means that I have failed at life, who cares that I just got a job promotion…
Look, like any normal person, my weight does goes through ups and downs, which I can accurately ascertain versus the ten-year-old-years of disillusionment. I’m an active person, running on most days and dancing on others—as I prepare to be the oldest amateur ballerina to hit the New York City Ballet (I’m aiming to be ready by 40). I try to be healthy but I can find no reason to deprive myself of ice cream and chocolate because I don’t think life is worth living without these delicacies.
The pressures aren’t getting any easier. I recently heard about those same ten-year old girls, just a generation below mine, trying to achieve thigh gap status to be considered thin, and thus, beautiful. A 10-year-old should NOT know what a thigh gap is, nor should anyone really. Let’s all get hobbies, no?
Regardless of how much we know in our head and hearts, a curse of being girl is this constant plague, in even the healthiest of minds, that a few pounds less will do the trick and make us happy, save us from failure, and bring us movie quality love.
NB: Sorry, boy readers. I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy, so this was kinda girly.