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Body Image
March 22, 2002

"Look Away... I'm Hideous!"
-- Kramer, Seinfeld

My sixteen year old niece is gorgeous. She's tall, fit, with huge brown eyes and honey blonde hair. She has a great fashion sense and puts on makeup better than most adults I know. My dad says, "She doesn't wear makeup! She just looks good naturally!" but I have yet to meet someone with naturally blue eyelids. Yeah. Blue eyeshadow. She's so pretty she makes blue frickin' eyeshadow look good.

She's an honor roll student and a top athlete. She's the star of her softball team, and nicknamed "Strong Arm." She's the picture of health and fitness. Think of a younger and cuter Anna Kournakova. She's that damn good-looking.

The problem?

She skipped swim class last week because she feels funny in front of all the thinner girls. She thinks she's too big.

Now, she's not anorexic. She eats heartily and healthily, drinks a shitload of water every day, and stays away from stuff like soda and goodies. She eats like I should eat. She looks like I wish I looked. But she's still self-conscious in front of the really skinny chicks.

Now, flash back about 15 years. I was one of those really skinny chicks. And you know what? I was embarrassed to get changed in front of all the other girls because I was so bony and flat chested. I skipped oodles of swim classes. You'd think the teacher would have noticed that I said I had my period every week for two solid months, but I'm not complaining. I just didn't want to be in a swimsuit or get changed in front of everyone else.

This is what my niece and so many other kids, and adults, don't realize.

Every. Single. Woman. Out. There. Is. Self. Conscious. About. Something.

Some feel too fat. Some feel too skinny. Some feel too pale. Some hate their freckles. Some wish they had freckles. Some hate their big boobs. Some hate their little boobs. Some are embarrassed because they have a big butt. Some are embarrassed because they have a bony butt. It's always something.

And you know what? Everyone is too busy worrying about their own flaws to notice anyone else's. While I wanted desperately to get some meat on my bones as a teenager, my friends were starving themselves to look more like me. They didn't notice or care that my hipbones stuck out a bit too much. I didn't notice or care that they were (oh, the horrors!) larger than a size seven.

What's worse is that there's adult women who still feel the same way.

They don't think someone will love them because they're not a size seven. Newsflash! Look around you. There's women of all shapes, sizes and colors walking around the mall arm in arm with a man. Someone loves them, and doesn't notice or care that she's not a Sport Illustrated Swimsuit model.

They won't go to the beach because they think people will look at them. Newsflash! Look around you. There's women of all shapes, sizes and colors walking around the beach. No one is going to notice or care that you're bigger or smaller than Sport Illustrated Swimsuit model. They're too busy worrying that someone is looking at them.


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