Since I am just one person who’s only experienced body image struggles from my own point of view, I admit that I’m not always in tune with the struggles someone else may be going through. I feel like in the plus size/full bust blogging community and social media movement we forget that we’re not the only ones who look in the mirror and hate what we see sometimes. Everyone can struggle with the way they view themselves, even if we look at them and think they have nothing to complain about. I feel like there’s this unspoken competition going on that tries to rank people by how “bad” they have it compared to others. I believe this contributes to unintentional body shaming against people that don’t have plus sized bodies, and it goes against everything this movement stands for.
I became very interested to see what other people thought of their bodies when they were allowed to anonymously discuss their body image. I reached out on Facebook and posted a series of statuses asking my friends if they’d be willing to share their stories. I loved the responses I received, and I’m going to share them with you today. All of these stories are completely anonymous, and each person will be represented by a number. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did. I’m not going to edit their responses for spelling or grammar. They’re just going to be copy/pasted from the messages they sent to me. I asked them to tell me how they feel about their body, if there’s anything they’d like to change, what they liked about their body, and how they got to the point where they could like things about themselves.
Unfortunately I was only able to get a story from one man. If you’re a man and you’re reading this, I decided to attach a video I saw yesterday on Buzzfeed. The video in question discusses the pressure for men to look like male models and athletes. It’s definitely worth a watch no matter who you are. I was in tears early on in the video hearing the Try Guys talk about how they felt about their bodies, and by the end I was ugly crying. Women are not the only ones that deal with pressure from the media. Women aren’t the only ones who see photoshopped images of an unattainable standard and feel like they don’t add up. Men deal with it too.
“So to start this out I’m 5’7” and I weigh 162lbs. How I feel about my body…. Right now In my life I’m not happy with my body; since I’ve graduated HS I have gained almost 40lbs which has been rough on me because I have never had much “fat” to me and since gaining all this weight it has taken away from my confidence. I went from a size 1 or 2 to a size 7….. bra size I went from a 34C to a 32DD to a 34DD to a 34DDD and now trying to find a new bra size that fits better….. This whole process has taken its toll on me I’m beginning to accept the fact that I no longer have the skinny little body I used to have. The good things that I’m taking from this experience is that I now I have amazing curves and I finally have an ass and hips and BOOBS! I mean the support that I receive from my boyfriend is more than amazing he loves me now just as much as he loved me then he is very body positive and never lets me hate my body.
Is there things I’d love to change about my body ABSOLUTELY!!! I have a tummy and stretch marks and dimples all over I’m far from “Perfect” but I would like to tone up my fat areas a little more. Maybe hit the gym! My thighs rub when I walk my fat jiggles when I run I am far from perfect but at least I’m happy!”
“I hate that I breakout so easily . I hate that I have stretch marks on my butt . If I could change anything I would change that . I HATE that I have them on my butt . That’s the only place I have them but it’s so embarrassing. (Girlfriend’s name) doesn’t Care she actually likes them but I hate them . I use all kinds of oils and creams and nothing works . From my scoliosis my boobs are ridiculously uneven . They aren’t as perky as I would want them to be . Honestly want a boob job. I have a double chin and I hate that too . I feel fat and wish all the Fat from my thighs and stomach would go to my ass
I wanna be the person who loves their body with all the flaws but I’m not. I wanna lose the fat and stretch marks. I just don’t know how to love myself with flaws
I feel like I can’t even leave my house without my face put on
I accept that people aren’t perfect I do .
When it comes to myself not being perfect that’s a different story
There are things I do like about myself . I like my hair and my skin color. I like the shape of my face . I like the size of my butt lol .
It’s sad that I really can’t think of more things that I like about myself. But when you ask me what I don’t like its a forever list
Height: 5’6”. Size 6″
“As far as my body goes, I’ve always had two major struggles: my height and weight. I really like my height and I’m moderately content with my weight. However, others have not always been so accepting or kind. Being taller than most of my peers made me feel kind of special, but I quickly realized that things are not tailored for taller girls. I can’t even wear heels without attracting the wrong kind of attention. Now that I’m in college, a lot of girls are closer to my height so I don’t stand out as much and also have someone that understands the struggle of never having pants that are long enough. When I was much younger, I was always picked on for my weight by family members, which was odd because I was always a healthy weight — not too thin or to heavy, just right. They harassed me at every single family function to the point where I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I tried my best not to let it affect me, but it has in a way. It helped me to understand that comments about weight should be made carefully when speaking towards BOTH ends of the spectrum. It took a bit, but I think I’m at a pretty good spot with accepting my body. Now I just need to convince myself that having two different size boobs is completely normal. I think there will always be something.
5’8″, size 6/7”
Number Four: (Male Participant)
“What I hate most about my body is stature, like i believe if I was taller I would appear skinner by comparison. But I’ve learned that if I was taller I wouldnt be as adorable as I want to be. Sure being tall as a man is okay, but I think being short makes me stand out. No pun intended.”
So I’m 5’6″ and I’m currently an 18w/1x in dresses.
I grew up hating my body and everything about it. I was surrounded by people in middle school and high school who constantly made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything simply because I wasn’t a size small and my clothing wasn’t Hollister or Abercrombie. And after a while I started to agree with these people. I had no value because I was not a “pretty thin girl” and I repeated this to myself over and over again until I couldn’t stand to even look at myself in the mirror.
I hate going out because that was just another opportunity for people to make fun of me, shopping for clothing was a nightmare that always ended up in tears because nothing ever looked right, and my body image started to even alter the way I looked at myself as a person. Not only was I fat, but I was stupid, not worth love, ugly, incompetent.. So of course I tried a bunch of diets and “quick fixes” and even thought I could purge. Nothing ever worked and I always gave up.
Eventually I just decided that I wasn’t going to give a crap anymore and that’s when I started to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and it was as much as I wanted. I ignored my scale, I ignored that my clothes were getting tighter and my energy was getting sluggish. And that’s when I hit my highest weight of 302 pounds. When I finally weighed myself I broke down and cried and cried. I realized how unhappy I was and that it had a lot more to do with self love than anything else. I finally decided to get healthy for ME and not to please society or those who had a problem with me and plus sized people. So now I’m on a journey of weight loss and more importantly learning to love myself.
All the weight loss and makeup in the world won’t make you happy unless you’re happy with yourself as a person and you learn to love and respect yourself. somedays are harder than others when it comes to self confidence but it’s a battle that I feel is definitely worth it. I have 10000% more confidence in myself now and I gain a little bit more each day by putting myself out there and wearing clothes that I would have never been okay with wearing, I’m going to be doing a boudoir photoshoot in June that makes me crazy nervous but tremendously excited at the same time because it feels good to put myself out there. It’s okay to have confidence and it’s okay to feel sexy.”
“When you are really skinny, it seems like everyone assumes it’s intentional and you MUST be anorexic or something. It never seems to occur to people that you CAN’T gain weight and might actually be UNHAPPY about it! That when you look in the mirror you feel less feminine than other women because you have barely any curve to your hips and that you are actually GROSSED OUT by your protruding collar bones, hip bones, and ribs.
But god-forbid you ever voice that insecurity – because the ONLY reason for a skinny girl to complain about her body is if she is attention-seeking, right? Because EVERYONE wants to look emaciated and sickly. It’s like there’s this unwritten rule that the only acceptable way to have a bad body image is if you want to LOSE weight.
Add on top of that, the surprisingly high number of larger girls who want to tear you down to make themselves feel better about their self-perceived “flaws” – and it can be devastating to your self-esteem. Because “real women have curves”, so you must not be a real woman. And “skinny girls don’t need to cultivate a personality” so you must not have anything to offer besides your looks….
I used to have a very close friend who was a bit on the larger side, and every time any guy paid me the slightest bit of attention over her – there she was going on and on about how “he only likes you because you’re so thin and pretty”. Really?? That’s the ONLY reason why he likes me?? What makes you say that?? Is there really NOTHING else about me worth liking?!
Eventually I came to realize that she was only saying those things to me because she was jealous – and not just of how I looked. She was unhappy with her own body AND her own personality and on some sick level it made her feel better about herself to make everything about looks. That way any guy who liked me better was a superficial jerk and the fact that she was actually kind of a bad person could be removed from the equation.
I honestly don’t know why women feel the need to be so nasty to each other. We should have each other’s backs! That’s why blogs like this one are so important, and it’s so wonderful that we are coming together to share these stories!
I wish I could say I have some magical advice on how to love your body exactly the way it is, but sadly I don’t. In my personal case, I didn’t feel better about my own body until I started taking a medication that caused me to FINALLY gain enough weight that I am on the low end of normal instead of being clinically underweight. I would still LOVE to have an hourglass figure with lots of smoking curves (and I continue to get somewhat jealous and insecure around girls who have them), but at least I’m no longer grossed out by protruding bones. I guess I’m really lucky for that.
But one thing that I can say, that will hopefully be helpful – is that you are not alone in feeling insecure. And even those girls who you might feel jealous of feel insecure and don’t always like what they see in the mirror. Since we all have this in common, let’s do our best to support each other! And never forget, no matter what you look like – there is someone in this world who thinks you are the absolute ideal for how a woman should look. Someone who thinks YOU are the most beautiful woman in the world.
Dress Size: 5; Height: 5’6””
If you’d like to read my body image story, head on over to my post entitled “How I’ve Come to This Point.”
I think it’s really important to hear perspectives from other people when it comes to body image, so I’m extremely thankful that I was able to find some friends who wanted to participate in this post. I appreciate your participation and hope these stories can reach someone who thinks that body image struggles are exclusive to large women. I hope they read this post and change their mind at least a little bit.The people in my post are all different shapes, sizes, body types, ethnicities, and everything else. I’m definitely open to compiling more posts like this, so if you’d like to participate feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Body Image Story.”
*All images taken from Bing Image Search. If you own one of these images and would like it removed from the blog, send me an email and I can have it removed immediately.