Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we taught positive body image in school? Imagine if we could do away with young people feeling like they don’t measure up physically against their peers? I know it would have gone a long way with me in school.
I can remember feeling like I didn’t compare to the girls that could fit into the skinny acid wash jeans (yes, I’m dating myself here) and the jean jackets. If I had been able to attend a course that taught me to really look at myself through my own lens rather than the view of someone else I think I could have avoided so many of my body issues.
The question is why don’t we?
We are taught “life skills” like Cooking, Carpentry and Automotive because they may all impact our lives in some way shape or form. We are taught academic courses such as Math, Science and English because although we might not all grow up to use them in our lives to the same degree, they are thought to better our existence and our knowledge of the world around us.
Here’s the thing, is body image not something that impacts all of us on some level? Aren’t we all affected by those moments where we try on clothes and they don’t fit, where we are made fun of as a small child or where we start to view ourselves with different eyes?
One of the best moments I have witnessed recently was at the BellyFit Conference in Victoria. It was the last hour of the conference, woman had gathered in a large greenhouse to dance our fannies off – and dance we did! We didn’t care what we looked like, or what the person next to us was doing. We shed all of that for 60 glorious minutes and it felt amazing!
I watched two little girls in attendance (they couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old) watch all these grown woman around them in awe and I knew they were soaking it all in. By being there, by seeing what they were seeing they were learning that it was okay to love their bodies. They were getting a glimpse into the sheer ecstasy of true self-love and confidence. What is stopping us from providing that same opportunity to all children?
I would have been so much happier growing up if I had know it was alright to be me, to dress the way I wanted to dress, to have bruises all over my legs because I was so active, to not be a size 2 in my bathing suit when racing against other swimmers, to know I wasn’t alone. Instead I, like so many others, let the words and actions of insecure and negative people make me feel like less.
What would this education look like in an ideal world? How about starting with dispelling the myth of perfection that is constantly dished out to us by the media? We are all perfectly imperfect in our own ways. So what if we don’t fit into the latest fashions or the skinny jeans? Clothing is just meant to keep us from being naked, arrested and cold anyways
I think we’re already heading in a positive direction with the concept of a Barbie with stretch marks and a tummy, acne and birthmarks. The thing is kids are so much wiser than we give them credit for and dolls simply won’t cut it when they get old enough. They need to have those positive messages reinforced in their lives in other areas.
Until we bring this into the schools, do me a favor and do your part to educate the up and coming generation that it is alright to love themselves, that they don’t need permission to be okay with their bodies.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing I hope that you’re allowing yourself to be educated too. After all it’s never too late to believe that you are wonderful just the way you are.
Credit Photo: Armando Tura