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The summer body oppression

It's you I want to talk to. Yes, you, a 21st century woman who has so many roles to attend to. A woman who is also a mother, daughter, wife, caregiver, friend, worker, successful, and, above all, beautiful. Yes beautiful! A "decent woman" can be hardworking and beautiful, can be a mother and not have stretch marks, can be successful and always look exuberant.

However, I am not the one who's telling you this, as it is not something I agree with. I am only sharing is what I see, hear, and what people tell me. What I see are beautiful women around me, on television, in magazines, on social media. Women that fit perfectly in everything type of clothes, without any kind of fat in their bodies. What I hear is that I should start working to have a body like theirs. That I should try the new diet and stop eating for at least 16 hours. Oh, and that I could lose a few pounds to look prettier. What they tell me is that it's never enough, my friend Carla has already lost 10 kilos and exercises regularly, but she says her ass is still bouncy. Joana tries a new diet every month, and she is never satisfied. And Patricia, despite being the most beautiful woman I know, is ashamed to take off her t-shirt at the beach, because “she's not in shape”.

And me? I also know that people will look at my body, judge and evaluate it. I am a woman. And we women are taught that first of all we must be beautiful.

But what is beautiful? If we ask a child what a beautiful woman looks like, what do you think she will answer? Maybe something like: someone tall, thin, well-dressed, with make-up, and high-heels. This is the model of a beautiful woman we see growing up, and that we wish to be one day. But the years pass, and beauty standards increase. After all, I not only have to be thin but I also need to be curvy. After all, I can't just wear makeup, I also have to fill my lips. After all, I can't just go on vacation, I have to start working on my body before then. After all, I can't just relax and enjoy the beach because, in the end, I will always be aware of my body.

And the fact that I'm constantly aware of my body makes me anxious, embarrassed, uncomfortable. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, you probably do too. Otherwise you wouldn't constantly talk about how you want to lose weight and eat less caloric things. The truth is that trying to reach these beauty standards can lead to serious psychological problems, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia that can significantly deteriorate our daily lives.

It's hard to compete with these standards and deal with the fact that we're not going to meet them. It's hard being a woman, but there's something we can do! Please jot down, this is the ideal recipe to combat the negative impact that beauty standards have on us:

  • Try to comment less on your body image. Instead, notice and talk more about what your body is capable of doing (like running, jumping, painting, surfing, etc.).

  • Avoid seeing images of bodies that make you sad or that create negative thoughts. Try to be more exposed to real bodies. You can for example follow accounts on social networks that are inclusive and that share this desire to show more of what is normal/real and not prettier.

  • Remember that today's beauty standards are not realistic, many photos are edited and altered in order to build the "perfect body".

  • Every body is different, and our bone structure has a lot of influence on the shape of our body. This is something we cannot change, that we must learn to accept and love.

  • Many diets can be harmful to your body and health. If you would like to make any changes on a physical level, talk to the appropriate health professionals, such as nutritionists and personal trainers.

Try to use some of these points in your daily life and you will see that it will help you to accept and love your body more, that really deserves your affection.

If you need to address any of these issues or want to get some psychological support we are here to help you. Remember: The ideal body is your body!

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