anonymous asked:

Why does external appearance/beauty matter? Some of my friends struggle with body image and not being pretty or thin or strong or muscled enough, and I can't relate really well. Any insights into why this matters and how I can support them when I don't struggle with this a lot and often don't understand the factors behind it?

The idea of beauty is socially constructed so it makes sense that you would have a hard time understanding it. What is considered beautiful varies from culture to culture and has varied over time within cultures. For instance, in many cultures, fat was once considered the epitome of beauty back when food was scarce and it was a sign of wealth. Then, as food became more widely available, it became desirable to be thin instead. 

Much of the cultural idea of beauty ties into media presentation these days. We are constantly bombarded by images of people we are supposed to aspire to look like. Magazines and websites run articles about how to fix your “problem areas” or how to dress to “minimize your flaws.” We are so inundated by these messages that it is hard for most people Not to believe them and use them as a standard by which to judge self-worth. This is particularly poignant for women and those perceived as women. 

The media shows us skinny, pretty (usually white) people and then bombards us with products that supposedly will help us achieve the goal of looking like these people. 

Aside from the media, interpersonal interactions matter a lot. I know that many of my body issues stem from my family. Growing up, from the time I was seven or eight, I was constantly on some fad diet or another with my mom. I tried Atkins, South Beach Diet, juice cleanses, and all sorts of other fad diets, despite being a healthy weight for my body. On top of this, I was regularly told by my grandmother that I would look so much prettier if I “just lost five pounds.” While I’m sure she meant no harm by those words, they echo throughout time to remind me that I’ll never be skinny enough. I’m now working to undo all the damage that these diets and words caused me, but it’s quite the struggle. 

Another factor for women and people perceived as woman is that our self-worth is often tied up in how sexually attractive we are for men which generally correlates with impossible standards of beauty. From a young age, girls are taught, both implicitly and explicitly, that their worth as a person depends on being considered attractive to men. This leads to people who have no sense of self-worth who will strive to do anything possible to be more attractive. We even have studies showing that attractive women are more likely to be financially successful and be treated well by others. 

Basically, ideas of attractiveness stem from capitalism (let us sell you stuff so you can meet our ridiculously unattainable goals) and the patriarchy (be attractive to men if you want to be treated like a person (kind of)). These over-arching systems of oppression then work their way into our interpersonal relationships. 

For a long time, I was angry with my mother for putting me through so many diets and messing up my self-esteem. Then, one day, I looked at the situation again and saw a woman who was deeply hurting and trying desperately to make sure her daughter didn’t endure the same pain. I’m no longer angry. I now just wish there was a way I could show my mom how beautiful she is and that she doesn’t need to always be dieting. 

As for how to help your friends, you don’t need to fully understand their struggles in order to help them. Hopefully, you now understand this matter a little more than you did before which will hopefully aid you in helping your friends, but even if you it’s all still confusing for you, you can still help your friends. 

Compliment them sincerely and often. You can compliment their physical appearance, but focus more on complimenting their accomplishments and personality traits. The more compliments they hear that aren’t about their bodies, the more they will start to internalize the idea that they have worth that derives from sources other than their bodies. Tell a friend how kind she is. Get psyched about how well your friend did on their math test. Emphasize your friend’s sense of humor. Tell a friend how compassionate he is. Shower your friends in compliments to help them feel good about themselves. 

Talk about your own body in positive ways, but not how you think. Focus on how strong your thighs are and how they allow you to do so much. Talk about how the fat on your belly helps you stay warm on cold days. Talk about your body and what it can do for you. 

When your friends bash their bodies, try to help them find things they like about themselves. It may be something small like the color of their eyes. Whatever it is, help them start to find things they like about themselves. Do this every time they bash themselves and soon they’ll start to see more positives about themselves. 

Finally, remember that while you can try to help your friends, the journey towards body positivity is often one that needs to be chosen. Your friends must be willing to work towards a better self-image in order for any of this to be effective. 

I hope this helps!


Nice lazy start to the first day of the school holidays.

This afternoon we went to the gym, d1 and d2 did a workout and then we all took the baby for a swim. Bumped into my supervisor there which was a surprise as I didn’t know she was a member and she never said anything even when I’m sure I’ve mentioned going there.

She was looking all beautifully put together (and tiny) and I was wearing joggers, t shirt and no make up (and felt huge the moment I saw her). Later I saw myself in a mirror and I’m always surprised because I look smaller in the mirror than I imagine I do in my head. Body image is a weird old thing eh.

anonymous asked:

We also cannot whitewash Nick here. Which Gryles fans do. It was Nick who tried to publicly humiliate (shame) Louis & Eleanor. There's no excuse for what he did. He also fat-shamed Louis. Said he let himself go. And Harry laughed about it. On air. It's UNDERSTANDABLE why there's this ... thing which surrounds them. Before that happened though they were friends. They get so soft around each other. 2013 was a bad year. It killed Tomlinshaw and Larry lmao

First, I’m not here for Nick bashing. Second, I’m a Gryles fan and I like a lot of Gryles fans on here very much indeed, so I suspect we’re not going to agree.

“It was Nick who tried to publicly humiliate (shame) Louis and Eleanor” - not how I remember it, at all.

“He also fat-shamed Louis. Said he’d let himself go” - I think that enormously overstates what happened and throwing around terms like fat shaming that way means they get watered down or taken less seriously. Nick has a complicated relationship with comments about weight, I’m not denying that, but that statement massively exaggerates what actually happened. When people bring out the ‘Nick and weight’ receipts I also very rarely hear conversations about things like the investment in body image, hyper masculinity, physical appearance, youth and so on in parts of gay male communities, the impact that might have had on Nick or the way he’s far more self-deprecating than he is antagonistic. This kind of exaggerated statement rarely contributes to genuine discussions around body positivity because they almost never engage with the things inherent in society that might drive the very rare comments, pulled from hours and hours of radio just to fuel the ‘your fave is problematic’ fire.

“Harry laughed about it” - He didn’t. He laughs at the bit when Nick says immediately after, ‘why do you dress Zayn like that?’ They then move on to Harry taking the piss out of himself, it’s clearly a joke. Those couple of seconds get used so often against Nick and are always taken out of context.

19-year-old Jacinda made a meme to remind black children that their features are beautiful. Now it’s viral.

  • If you scroll through 19-year-old Jacinda’s Instagram account, where she has more than 11,000 followers, you’ll see flawless selfies and outfit appreciations, but interspersed among them are honest revelations she’s had on her own journey to loving every part of herself.
  • “I love how now I’m slowly discovering every flaw I once disliked and slowly loving it,” she wrote in May.
  • Indeed, for years she struggled to love various parts of her — from her body to her lips — partly because she simply never saw black beauty being celebrated.
  • Now she wants to ensure that no other black children go through what she went through, thinking they aren’t worthy or beautiful. 
  • And since it’s 2017, Jacinda’s using Instagram – and memes. Read more (6/6/17)

follow @the-movemnt

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “You’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say, “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

—  Sarah Koppelkam