I am here on behalf of the girl who cries in the public restroom of a community swimming pool because she can’t look herself in the mirror while wearing a swimsuit. Rolls spill over and strings are pulled too tight as she jumps on the diving board, feeling all eyes on her. I am here on behalf of the girl who is teased and called “chicken legs.” The girl who is told she’s a boy because she wears an A cup. I stand by the girl who won’t get in the water because it will smear her makeup, a black streak across her cheek, a red line stretched across her skin as she cries. I am here on behalf of all the women I asked to take a photo of who told me they just weren’t confident enough in their bodies. I am here for you, because I am one of you.
This summer, when you try on swim suits, don’t compare yourself to the model on the poster. Don’t cry when they don’t carry your size on that bullshit Hollister clothes line.
Don’t beat yourself up over that extra breadstick you had at dinner.
Don’t fall for the fad diets on magazine covers telling you that you aren’t good enough.
Don’t fall for the fantasy, because it’s not reality.
According to a study from 2016 comparing National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys to international industry clothing size standards, the average adult American woman “…wears between a Misses size 16-18, which corresponds to a Women’s Plus size 20W…” While media and the fashion industry lead us to believe that “Plus Size” is a minority, a majority of American women wear “Plus Size” clothing.
The number that appears on the cold scale of your bathroom floor is not the holy grail. It does not define who you are or who you should strive to be. It is nothing but a number. The sizing label on your clothes is not a label on you. You are not a number.
According to Forbes, only 5% of American women have the body type typically associated with an ideal woman’s body size in advertisements.
According to “Love Your Lines,” a HuffPost article, “an estimated 80 percent of people have stretchmarks, which are often caused by rapid growth, weight changes or hormonal changes.”
A study from 2019 found that the top three New Year’s Resolutions include the following:
Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
Exercise more (65 percent)
Lose weight (54 percent)
It is normal to have stretch marks. It is normal to have rolls and curves; and, sadly, it is normal to not be comfortable in your body.
In a survey by AARP, men and women on average scored their physical appearance a 6.4 on a zero to ten-point scale.
If you are not in love with your body, you are not alone, but no matter what size you wear, what number shows on your scale, or where you would rank yourself from zero to ten, you are worthy. Your body is a summer body regardless of these factors, and your emotions are valid. You are a person, not a number. I hope this article gives you the confidence to jump off that diving board, enjoy your summer, and love your body a little more.