I remember the first time I felt shame about my body. I was barely six years old when a family friend asked how I could stand to be seen in a two-piece bathing suit, my soft little girl tummy displayed for the world to see. Before she asked, I had felt awesome. I was rocking that 101 Dalmatians bikini like it was my job. Honestly, six-year-old me had some serious swagger. After said friend asked, though, I refused to swim. I stopped splashing, stopped cannon-balling, and resolutely sat myself on the sideline, a towel wrapped around my midsection. In that one instance, the seeds were planted for what has since been a lifetime struggle with body image.
So much of contemporary dialogue between women hinges on a cyclical discourse of self-deprecation. Many female friends and acquaintances of mine spend their conversations lamenting what they've eaten, the clothes they're wearing, how dumpy and unattractive they feel they are. It's like they're trying to outdo each other with how mean they can be to themselves. And I am not saying I've entirely eradicated this type of behavior in my own life. I try my best to promote positivity and to remember I am completely and totally awesome looking (as are you, BUSTies), but sometimes I slip into my six-year-old skin and take to the sidelines. I sit my size 12 ass down and think about how much better life could be if I looked like Gisele "The Body" Bündchen.
I resolve that we can do better.
Frustrated by this "nasty habit" of ours, Anya Strzemien, Editor-in-Chief of Stylelist, is doing something about it. Strzemien instigated a practice in the Stylelist office that requires employees to put $1 in a tip jar for every self-deprecating comment they make about their looks. The funds collected from the staff for their self-esteem slip-ups go to benefit Girls Inc., an organization that works to instill every young girl with the skills and confidence to succeed in the workplace and in her personal life. In a stroke of brilliance, Strzemien has taken this intra-office practice to the interwebz at large. Until April 10th, leaving a comment on this post at Stylelist that says something positive will result in a $1 donation from the website to Girls Inc. Stylelist has pledged to donate up to $5,000.
As of now, there are 146 comments from women celebrating their curves, their shoulders, their sassy walk that makes heads turn. I'll be adding my own soon: "I love my big thighs. I could squat some of my colleagues (If I chose to) and my thighs look strong and beautiful in a sundress or skinny jeans."
I encourage you to add your own comment, both on Stylelist and here at BUST, in the comments, just for fun. Saying something nice about yourself will help a rad, female-positive organization, and it will also make you feel good all day. And damnit, we think you deserve that, BUSTies.
Image source collegecandy.com