We go online. We scroll. Our feeds are inundated with images of photo-shopped perfection, hourglass waists, and hip-length hair. Where are the girls with folds, flabs, moles, and marks? How can people possibly exist without lumps and bumps scouring their skin? Recently, 16-year-old @siennamaegomez on Tik Tok has amassed millions of followers, as she unveils the simple beauty of a natural body. Her unedited, raw videos have sparked a second wave of body positivity, as young girls yearns to see their insecurities reflected in the media. Despite these noble efforts, the skinny-chic, air-brushed aesthetic dominates the internet, abandoning girls in their hopeless bid to achieve perfection. As influencers continue to perpetuate these unrealistic ideals, every girl must grapple with her own body image, and develop positive habits for promoting self-love. Below, I’ve listed six key steps to practicing boy positivity IRL.
1. Focus on achieving health, not an aesthetic
More often than not, a toned physique is the sole motivator for embarking upon a new diet or fitness regimen. This mindset is harmful, and will fail to provide you with long term motivation for maintaining your health. Slim arms and a six pack will only take you so far- what happens when you reach the ideal “aesthetic”? Do you abandon your health regimine? When incorporating healthy practices, your long-term aspirations should not be material or superficial. This will ultimately lead you down a perilous, uncertain path. Rather, create manageable, health-oriented goals, to improve your physical and mental wellness. For instance, you could challenge yourself to exercise 30 minutes a day in order to combat depressive feelings. Likewise, you could include an extra serving of veggies in your dinner, to fuel your body with the nutrients it deserves. There are SO many ways to achieve health that don’t revolve around aesthetic goals. Fulfilling your mind and body’s needs will push you forward, allowing you to maintain consistent practices designed for your well-being.
2. Remember that you already have a bikini body.
Got a bikini? Got a body? There, now you have a bikini body! You don’t have to fit a certain size or standard to go swimming and have fun. You deserve a day lounging in the sun and basking in the water. That being said, a bikini is also not a determinant of your worth. You are allowed to feel uncomfortable. You are allowed to prefer a one-piece or swim shirt. It is your body, and it is absolutely YOUR choice how to dress it! Also, those one-piece bathing suits with low cut backs are absolutely stunning. The only awkward part is pulling it all the way down when going to the bathroom. But honestly, the fit is definitely worth the struggle.
3. Unfollow accounts that contribute to unrealistic beauty standards.
Did you know that the FBI agent in your phone isn’t commanding you to follow IG models and celebrities? Nope. That’s all you, babe. And you can choose to remove that negativity from your timeline at the click of a button. Now, I know it is fun to stay updated on the lives of our favorite celebrities, but we also have to stay mindful of how social media is affecting our mental health. If seeing girls in tiny bikinis and cropped sweaters makes you feel down, simply press the unfollow button! It is your greatest super power. And after unfollowing those toxic accounts, try filling your feed with positive vibes! Two accounts I love to stalk are @crazyheadcomics and @mikzazon on Instagram. After scrolling through their pages, I’m ready to embrace some genuine self love.
4. Drop the expectations of what your body should look like.
There is no “perfect” model for how the human body should exist. We are all completely variable; health looks different on every person! I know this statement is hard to accept for many people, as fitness is depicted as tall and lean. But some bodies are not scientifically designed to create that shape. And that’s perfectly okay! Every body is beautiful; all bodies deserve to be loved, valued, and treated with kindness. Comparison will forever be the thief of joy. So stop ruminating over what your body should be, and start focusing on the beauty of your present form.
5. Remember stretch marks are normal at any size.
Fun fact: people grow. They grow up, out, sideways, left, right, and down. And with this growth, comes changes. While a vast majority of the female population experience stretch marks, we never see these normal skin variations displayed in the media! Seems a little sus, if you ask me. Stretch marks are completely normal, healthy, and charming variations in the skin, as your body journeys through life. Embrace your marks like tiger stripes; you earned them!
6. Ditch fad diets.
Fad diets are designed to keep you stuck in cyclical patterns of self loathing. First, you lose a bunch of water weight due to dehydration. Then, your starving body sucks up every ounce of fluid and food as you return to a normal diet. This process is unsustainable, and designed to make you lose money, confidence, and happiness. Rather than joining a temporary fad diet, engage in sustainable, long-term health goals. Then, implement small changes to your routine, in order to eventually reach these aspirations! For instance, you could challenge yourself to finish 8 cups of water per day. This is a much better way to improve your health in a manageable, viable method.
In the wise words of Tik Tok’s Sienna Mae Gomez, “I am not going to conform to society’s standards and I am happy with who I am because it’s the body I was given – it’s the body I am meant to be in.” Your body braves every storm, and carries you through life! It’s time to show yourself some love, and truly embrace the body positivity movement. By adopting these healthy self care standards, you can help pave the way for a future free of unrealistic standards.
Written by: Brianna Rauchman