Stop the Hate. Congratulate.

While perusing one of my favorite gossip sites, I came across a link to this article. I won’t post it here, because, honestly, I don’t think it deserves being mentioned anymore. Never had I heard of this site before. I assumed there are sites out there like this, because, as a society, we are extremely rigid on the idea of beauty, and, let’s face it, people can really be mean. Reading just one article on this disgusting blog, just one, had me livid for most of the day. Even now, a day later, I’m seething thinking about the young girls who will read this blog, think A) you MUST be a certain size to be beautiful and B) it is okay to rip a woman apart for not being that certain size.

Seriously, seething.

I think about my niece, I think about my cousin’s young daughters, hell, I think about myself 15 years ago, and know how hard it is being force fed and idea of beauty. Women, and yes, even men, are literally killing themselves every year to meet these standards because, no matter how subtle, there is definitely a bad vibe being put out in our society and it is this: if you don’t meet society’s “norm,” you are not worthy.

I have struggled with self esteem issues my whole life. I look back at teenage me and can see that I’ve grown. I’m more accepting of who I am now, but I’m still not 100% there. But, I can pinpoint some pretty specific reasons as to why I’ve always struggled with this, and sure enough, most of them come from the media.

Even as a child watching Disney fairytales I was treated to the beautiful princesses, or the ugly ducklings that are secretly beautiful swans. The ugly duckling story is my favorite, and it isn’t just in fairytales. I can’t count how many movies, shows, books, whatever, I consumed growing up that had a heroine that was, well, less than. Less than everyone else in some form. But, as soon as the makeover occurs good things happen for her, usually ultimately ending in her finding love. Hooray! You’ve become physically acceptable to the masses, now here’s your reward!

Well, as I started going through my awkward pre-teen years, my makeover never happened. I was at an awkward weight, had awkward hair, had awkward skin, and good lord, did I have awkward clothes, so I began to feel convinced nothing good would ever happen for me. I wasn’t “beautiful,” so I wasn’t worthy. I can remember months upon months around 7th and 8th grade where I would be so severe with my food intake, because God forbid I not look like the girl on the cover of Seventeen, that I would just lay in bed crying because I felt so sick and so sad. I rarely talk about that time in my life because I used to feel so ashamed and embarrassed that I had to do that to myself. But now? Now I’m just angry.

I’m angry just typing this. I’m angry I ever bought into it. I’m angry there are still people out there feeding into this so that more young kids will be buying into this as well. Most of all I’m angry there is no quick fix. Magazines won’t suddenly start showing models of all sizes. Movies won’t suddenly start featuring size 12 women who don’t go on crazy diets and transform before they find their happiness. Snarky assholes on the internet won’t stop writing about how Model A is a “fat pig” and Actress B should be “put on a fat farm” (actual words from the website). And more than anything, people who are struggling with their own self esteem likely won’t stop putting other people down in order to feel a little better about themselves. I will be the first to admit, I know I’ve been guilty of doing it, especially to other women. And, I know this isn’t a quick fix, or will even make a big change in the grand scheme of things, but this is what I’m going to do…

I’m done putting down other women because of how they look (but, don’t get me wrong, if they have asshole personalities, it’s likely I still may make a comment on that because there’s nothing cool about being an asshole). If I hear other women putting down another woman, I’m going to say something about it (like, “Stop being an asshole.”). And the next time someone makes a negative comment about my appearance, (because, yes, at almost 30, this still happens. It doesn’t just happen in middle school and high school. Grown women {and men} are still making comments like “That dress looks a little tight on you, you going a little heavy on the ice cream lately?”) I will stand up for myself and say “STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE! My body is not perfect, I still have awkward hair days, awkward skin days and awkward clothes days, but I’m trying to be happy with myself, so stop the hate and congratulate…ASSHOLE. “