In 2005, I thought this was fat. I was a size 10, probably about 140 lbs, and had very disordered eating habits. This was the smallest I have ever been and ever will be. The irony is that I hated the way I looked back then. I always wore more than 3 layers at all times and I even changed dresses half way through our homecoming because I thought was "ugly." When I got that skirt (in the picture) in a size 9, I was so thrilled to be in single digit sizes. But I still wasn't happy with the way I looked. I hated my hips, my stomach, my legs... I hated me. Even though people told me that I was beautiful daily, I still didn't think I was and I still wanted my body to change. It's now been 10 years since that picture and in the light of Kelly Clarkson getting fat shamed, I thought it would be good to talk about self worth, beauty, and feeling comfortable in your own skin. I am now probably 80 lbs heavier than this picture. I still don't feel comfortable 100% in my skin, but I don't think I ever will.

Back in 2005, the only social media medium that was uber popular was MySpace. Facebook had just started allowing more colleges join, but it was bare bones compared to social media now. I believe that social media (among other things) is what is making the fat shaming possible. And even if you're not technically fat shaming, the way you go about broadcasting things to the world could be misconstrued. Social media makes it possible to feel horrible about yourself because you have to keep up with the Joneses. I believe a lot of people go on  Facebook and see Clare Anyperson working out and that motivates them to work out too. But then on the other side of the spectrum, someone may come on Facebook and see that Clare Anyperson is working out and that person immediately starts feeling bad for themselves. Clare didn't technically fat shame anyone, but when a person has low self esteem, it could come off that way. On a completely related note, the "mute" button on Twitter and the "unfollow" button on Facebook are lifesavers...

The use of social media to fat shame has become an epidemic. Especially when bullies can sit down behind a screen and say what they want without any repercussions. In Kelly Clarkson's case she spun it to where she can say "screw it" but it had to be saddening when she was scrolling through her twitter feed and saw that this person she knows nothing about decided to put her two cents in with how Kelly looks. The general public makes it really hard to be 100% comfortable in your own skin. It could be because the general public thinks the label "beauty" is a one size fits all type of brand. It could be because of Victoria Secret Fashion Shows, Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, or even the overly sexual Hardee's commercials make it hard to believe what they say is beautiful isn't the necessarily the norm of what everyone else says is beautiful. After the VS fashion show, it's always interesting to see what kind of comments are on social media. It's usually a lot of "not eating dinner tonight" and "I wish I looked like (enter VS supermodel here)." I try and avoid the VS fashion show. I rarely look at swimsuit models (unless it's Chrissy Teigen... because she's funny), and I roll my eyes at the commercials that feature Kate Upton (who is beautiful, don't get me wrong) eating a thick burger with ketchup dripping down her boobs. It just makes me feel bad. Why would I subject myself to that? I have worked in the fashion industry and it is hard to feel pretty when you're standing 100 yards away from Whitney Port, but you have to realize that your definition of pretty isn't always everyone else's definition of pretty.

The word "pretty" is subjective. You need to believe you're beautiful before anyone else is going to believe it. Kelly Clarkson is a perfect example of this. Yes, she has changed since winning AI in 2002, but who hasn't? She just had a baby and is happily married. If she is happy in her own skin, she should be left alone. So what if she isn't the size she was in 2002. Neither am I. Sorry not sorry. Kelly is a role model for young girls that we need in this beauty obsessed world we live in.

I will never be 100% comfortable with who I am. Even 18 year old me up there hated her hips because they were too big. I wonder what 18 year old me would say about 27 year old me today. If I could tell 18 year old Liz anything it would to feel beautiful about herself. That size 9 skirt felt pretty good then and I wish she was able to see how beautiful she was. And to 27 year old me... I'm still working on the self esteem part.

Just to give a shout out to everyone who posted on my Facebook status when I was frustrated writing this post... thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Holy yes!! This post rocks. Self esteem is a tricky thing, sometimes I can feel all "man, I look great today!" and then that night I'll be at a bar with my friends and start thinking not nice thoughts about the way I look. It's a battle every day and even my best friend who is a size 2 has some serious self esteem issues. She tries to put on weight and just can't, so she thinks she looks too skinny. It's a weird world we live in.