It’s normal to hear a girl of any age (even young kids now) make a negative comment on her thighs, butt, face, stomach… the list is infinite. These comments are brushed off, because that’s what girls do. We complain about what we hate, and talk about how lucky Jane is to have such perfect skin or how Maddy walks so fearlessly in a bikini. Girls are taught to never be satisfied until our bodies are cardboard thin, our skin is photoshop-flawless, and our faces are perfectly symmetrical and attractive.
Society acknowledges that eating disorders are a problem, but what about negative thought processes? What about crash dieting? What about never feeling “enough” in aspects of ourselves? These are all very much factors of the bigger problem (eating disorders don’t start for the hell of it).
I went through high school seeing and hearing these things from each of my friends, each of my classmates, and joining right in. I looked in the mirror and analyzed my stomach, my thighs, my upper-arms, and determined that things needed to be fixed. Was I addressing my unhealthy eating habits, how I treated myself, and how I treated my body? No, I was making it clear that the girl standing before me, my reflection was not skinny enough to be happy. It didn’t matter how I treated myself, because I didn’t see that as the issue. This is a problem.
Maybe I wasn’t a classified “anorexic”, and maybe I didn’t force myself to throw up after eating, but thought processes like that are a disorder, and crippling, and need to be addressed.
Upon confronting a good friend of mine on how she treats herself (crash dieting, negative comments, restricting) she said, “That’s just who I am.” That is not who you are; that is how you are taught to think.
If someone can’t be classified as having an eating disorder, they are determined to be “fine.” It’s something we all do, that we all go through; it’s just a part of growing up. I’ve heard plenty claim these excuses. This way of treating and thinking about ourselves is thought of as a phase, but that’s BS. Do you know how many middle-age women are looking in the mirror with the same thoughts? Putting their bodies under the same cycle of dieting? Telling themselves if they can just get to this number, if they could just have that nose, then they would be happy?
This is not a phase; this is not normal; this is a serious problem.
When does the fifteen, twelve, or eight-year-old girl start looking in the mirror and finding what she likes most about herself? Call herself beautiful? Form a deep, loving connection with her soul and body? When do we start teaching her these so important parts of life?
Growing up should be about finding who you are, what you love, and loving it! Not finding your faults and hating them.
Though I still struggle, I got lucky with finding Mara and Kate and learning what it really means to be healthy and happy. Not many girls figure it out this early.
And this is a problem.