There are few things in life more depressing than reading statistics about what women and girls think of their bodies. It's beyond time to let this ridiculousness go. I'm speaking about both general body hated and the specific, common body worries you should throw out the window. Because if we're being all the way real, body hatred is learned. It's not like we're born with this innate desire to do lunges because we hate the way our butts look. We don't instinctively yearn for thigh gaps the way we yearn for food and water.
Still, more than a third of 6 to 12 year-olds have dieted. Children, when asked, report that they would rather be stupid than fat. And almost half of first to third grade girls wish they would lose weight, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. And the problem only gets worse as girls become women. A recent Glamour study found that its readers had a negative body thought an average of once per waking hour. It's a miracle we haven't all locked ourselves in padded rooms with no mirrors.
As a Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator and clinic worker, the number one question women asked me about birth control wasn't if it worked or how to take it, but if it would make them gain weight. It is long past time we free ourselves.
1. The Thigh Gap
I have great news for you, ladies. The thigh gap is dumb, and it's not even a thing. Meaning, it's not an accurate measure of, well, anything. You can be overweight and healthy with a thigh gap or underweight and healthy with no thigh gap. You can have muscular thighs that prevent you from having a thigh gap. The position of your hips can determine if you have one or not. It's just bananas, and a huge waist of energy to worry about how a tiny patch of air somehow contributes to your hotness. If anything, the whole thigh gap obsession should make you angry. You're not a collection of flawed parts or the existence of a patch of air between them.
2. The Bikini Bridge
The bikini bridge, for the uninitiated, is the gap between your stomach and your bikini bottom that comes from your bikini resting on your protruding hip bones. I've read that this trend was initially started as a joke, but couldn't find anything to confirm it. I could, however, find tons of pictures of women bragging about theirs or wishing they had one. Again, unless you have an exact certain body type, you won't have one without some contorting. I mean, you can try to physically alter your skeletal system for a beauty trend that only applies while at the beach and basically just means you're thin, but I'm pretty sure you need your skeleton in tact because you have stuff to do.
3. That Collarbone Thing
I'm not even going to take the time to look up what it's called because that how mad it makes me, but what I am referring to is the idea that thin women can fit a bunch of quarters in their collar bone gaps. I barely have any fat on my collar bone, and I'd have to take some kind of construction or surgical tool and whittle out a channel of my flesh in order to be able to do this. I have a friend who weighs 90 pounds and she doesn't have really obvious collar bones. You are so much more than your collar bones! These types of trends are just ways we pick ourselves and each other apart and they mean nothing.
4. Those Kylie Jenner Lips
Sexy full lips. I get it. They're awesome. Are they awesome enough to risk bodily injury by putting your face in a mini vacuum? Are they worth hating on yourself over, even if you're just making what you think are benign comments in passing about your thin lips? Those little comments add up, and when you put them in a big basket called "body hate" you'll see that basket fill up pretty fast. Your face is awesome, exactly how it is. If you want to enhance it with makeup, awesome. If you don't, awesome. But it's your face. It's literally what you present to the world as the representation of your life. Have a little respect and reverence for it.
5. Detached Ear Lobes
I used to work with teen girls, and one day, I walked in on a conversation about how much they hated their earlobes. Earlobes! Something has really gone wrong as a society when talented, intelligent young girls who are full of potential would spend an entire afternoon contemplating if it would hurt to cut the skin between their ears and their necks. I asked then where they got the idea that they needed to improve the way their ears looked and they couldn't answer. I held back my rage lecture then and I'm holding it back now, but just know that it's bubbling up inside of me because no woman deserves to have so many negative thoughts about her body. Especially not about their perfectly normal ears.
6. The Arm Fat Wings
None of the women in my family, who are all beautiful, kind, smart, and accomplished, will wear sleeveless shirts or tank tops because they think their arms are too fat. Not even in 3,000 degree heat. Sometimes they shake their arms to show the flappy skin under their arms, as if that's all the explanation needed as to why they're overdressed. I'm all for wearing what makes you feel comfortable and dressing modestly if that's your thing, but believe me when I say, your arms are just right for anything you want to wear. They're arms. They don't define you, and it's insulting to think that any part of your body would.
7. That One Ridiculous Thing You Hate For No Reason
I hate the corner of my right eyelid because I have a mole that makes it impossible to get the perfect eyeliner wing. I think about it every day when I put my contacts in or put on makeup. I waste precious moments of my precious life (which could end at any moment) hating on a part of my body that literally no one has ever noticed or pointed out in my entire life. No more. And I encourage you to realize that whatever that one thing you hate about yourself that nobody even notices is, it no longer has permission to take up your valuable moments.
Peace out, body hate. It's a new day and there's no time for you in it.