the foundation of self-image

This week, social media and life have conveniently collided into a culmination of information regarding body image. We celebrated Fat Talk Free Week at my school, sponsored by Tri Delta. I also attended a session with a woman who works at Laureate, a hospital that is known across the country as a leader for recovering people with eating disorders. For the past two days, I’ve viewed many things on my Facebook news feed regarding these issues as well, so I just thought I’d weigh in (ha no pun intended, but found it upon editing) on some of the things I’ve witnessed over the past few days.

Fat Talk Free Week (FTFW) is an initiative promoted by Tri Delta as a week to promote having healthy body images. Fat Talk is considered anything (positive or negative) that would have something to do with physical features regarding weight. Things such as:

  • “I look fat in these pants.”
  • “Man, that dress makes your waist look tiny!”
  • “Did you see her? She’s gained so much weight.”
  • “I need to go on a diet.”

I love FTFW, because you don’t notice how often things like this are said in daily conversation, until you’re reminded of those little quips. The slogan is “Change the Conversation.” Focusing on qualities that are lasting about personalities and character are far more beneficial (less gossip) and also promote healthy habits in yourself and others!

I think that one of the things that is often neglected when looking at body image is that it is not only a weight issue. Although I can be considered thin or even underweight for my size and age, it doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t other aspects of myself that I don’t like, or wish I could change. Because of the constant association with the thin-ideal and beauty, people forget that just being skinny won’t automatically make you feel beautiful. I came across this article, Hey, Not All Real Women Have Curves, which I appreciated as a smaller woman never experiencing an eating disorder. We are all women who, no matter our size, do not need to be validated by our size, large or small. Along those same lines, a couple of my Facebook friends shared this article: Sophia Bush Declares War on Urban Outfitters. After UO released a shirt with the words “eat less” on the front, which I agree is completely wrong, she released a shirt that read “0 is not a size.” The message is clear: a size should not be a goal, especially when that number that signifies the size also has the definition of “nothing.” But the reality is, I have to wear these sizes, sometimes smaller than a zero (Aeropostale’s new sizing scheme has me in a 000, wat.), but it shouldn’t make me feel like any less of a woman. Because weighing “nothing” and being in a size 0 is different than feeling like you are “nothing,” because you’re in a size 0… this shirt statement doesn’t exactly make the skinnies feel very good about themselves, either. The sizing system is a mess, but numbers have to start somewhere.

I LOVE it when women take their self-confidence into their own hands. This video embedded on this article has a woman tap dancing in her underwear, and pulling off words like “fat,” “big,” and “cellulite” off of her body as she does. It is empowering to feel comfortable in your own skin, and I love when people express themselves for this purpose.

All in all, body image comes from something much deeper than whether your peers think you’re fat. If they tell you you’re fat, and you’re letting them define exactly what you are, that is where the evil of doubt and self-depreciation enters in. Self-confidence comes from self-worth. It not only defines the way you treat your body, but also encompasses how you treat others, and your heart.

This is why I love the new body image initiative from Tri Delta called “BodyImage 3D.” It encompasses having healthy mind, body and spirit – to build you into the three-dimensional person you were made to be, because you were not born to be flat, or to be a copy of any other person that already exists. You are unique and wonderful in your own ways!

I find my self-worth in the Lord, who made me and loves me with an unending love. He calls me His child and his friend, that I might spend eternity with Him. Following Jesus doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days, it means that He is there to hold you when things get tough!

This was a smattering of things. I’d love to hear any input on you feel about various articles and initiatives that I talked about. I’m sorry it doesn’t flow or make sense. For some reason, I have found myself to be extremely passionate for self-worth and body image advocacy, and I don’t really want to stop!

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

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