By Julia Roberto
Unless you have sat shivering under countless blankets, arms wrapped around bony limbs, you may not understand why body acceptance matters.
Unless you have seen friends skip meals or look at pictures of models with anguish in their eyes, you may not understand why body acceptance matters.
Unless you have had intense nightmares of eating French fries in the dining hall and woke up feeling guilty and worthless, you may not understand why body acceptance matters.
The fact of the matter is that we have grown up in a culture that is body obsessed. Females, specifically, are bombarded with multiple varying perspectives on how they should view themselves. In one day we can hear Meghan Trainor saying “boys like a little more booty to hold at night” while also reading a magazine article about “Getting the Perfect Bikini Body” (which I am convinced does not actually exist).
The problem underlying so many of these issues has primarily come from the increasing sexualization of women’s bodies, which is, in my opinion, kind of a phrase that gets thrown around so much that sometimes it is easy to forget its true meaning.
Even some things in the media that seem a little bit more “body positive” can be problematic when viewed a little closer. There is too much emphasis on your body looking pretty for someone else and not enough focus on how much your body does every single day for you, no matter what it looks like. Is there a chance we could learn that our bodies are miracles, even if we have cellulite or back fat? Could we still view these bodies as beautiful even if we don’t have the “right curves”?
Personally, growing up I had difficulty coming to terms with my own body, never mind coming to terms with why I could not accept my own body. I have dealt with eating issues since my freshman year of high school, culminating in a diagnosis of an eating disorder in the fall of my senior year. I couldn’t touch a potato chip or a slice of pizza without crying and I never even knew when I lost touch with my body.
This is the same body that carried me through AP classes and field hockey practice, the body that kept me awake through all hours of the night so that I could apply to college and follow my dreams, the body that ran through the leaves of childhood autumns and the body that kept fighting even when I pushed it to its limits. I needed to understand that my blood was still pumping and I was still breathing even after I put my body through hell.
I’d be lying if I said I fully understood now. I still linger at my reflection in the mirror a few seconds too long and I still sit with guilt when my stomach feels a little too full, but every so often I remind myself that my body has been the most wonderful and beautiful friend I have ever had, and I think that is at least a step in the right direction.
Julia Roberto is a sophomore Writing, Literature, and Publishing major. She’s low key obsessed
with the Kennedy family and cheesecake.