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I don't deny that men have pressure on them to conform to a certain look and body type, but wow oh wow are women constantly subjected to this "perfect" ideal. I mean society made the "dad bod" okay, and even consider it "hot," but what about "mom bodies?" I never completely realized these pressures and standards until I was out and on my own at 18.
During high school I went through different stages in how I dressed, and generally looked, I think we all did. Granted what I wore, and how much makeup I was allowed to wear was regulated by my parents, I never really cared how I looked, but rather how my character was judged. Now things have completely changed in a world focused on social media and constant connectivity.
I remember when I was young being told how I pretty I was, and that when I was older boys would be lining up at the door to date me. Of course when you are in elementary school you don't really think about boys too much, or how those words could impact you one day.
You kind of assume people just tell you these things to tease you, or make you feel a little more wanted by the opposite sex. Which really shouldn't be a concern to any woman, let alone a little girl. Being interested in boys wasn't my priority or even a big thought back then, and really wasn't until high school. Sure I thought boys were cute, but I had no self confidence to even talk to my crushes. I thought I was dweeby looking, and not good enough.
I guess it never really occurred to me how these words, along with social media, and the beauty standards of today impacted me until I started dating as an adult. **Disclaimer** My relationships have been mentally and emotionally abusive, so my self worth has changed some since that revelation. Nevertheless the pressure of those relationships still hit me very hard.
It's the attitude these days that if you don't look good enough, you don't act a certain way, or you don't weigh 95 pounds then they can easily find someone better than you. Sometimes they already have those other people, or women on the hook, and are ready to reel that line in (Sorry about the dorky fishing reference!)
I think its definitely a blow to one's self confidence, and self worth when your significant other is talking to other women, screenshotting pictures of barely clothed women to ALL their devices, and following every half naked girl they can on all social media. And then treat you like you are crazy when you express your feelings about it, and blame their crummy actions on you. Gaslighting on ANY level is harmful!!
These sh*tty social media behaviors are on top of being told what a worthless fat, stupid, and pathetic person I am nearly every day. I went from walking with such confidence that intimidated people to barely being able to look someone in the eye. It became that when someone complimented me I thought they were lying, because they felt sorry for me. Years and years of abuse taught me how "ugly" and "disgusting" I am.
These thoughts of being ugly and fat took over completely. I soon became obsessed with social media, and how much better all the women looked compared to me. I'm an ugly, lumpy potato compared to those women. Who could ever really want me? The really terrible thought I had was, even though I knew I was being abused, what if these guys I was with were right to treat me like I'm ugly? I thought if I'm so ugly that if I can't please them, I won't be able to please another person.
Recently I have started to work on my self image, and how I look and feel about my body, and who I am as a person. I've been following more body positive pages, and trying to be comfortable with who I am now, and who I can become. People like the Fab Five from Queer Eye (if you haven't watched Queer Eye on Netflix, YOU MUST! Its great!!) and BeBe Rexha have helped me to jump start my journey to self confidence and self love.
Being able to hear and see the confidence of others who truly like themselves, and aren't afraid to show it is truly great! I'm slowly starting to see things from a new lens. After everything I have been through I know that the journey will be long and require hard work, but it has to be worth showing up for myself.
Self care and self love is important! Take a moment for yourself—The Fab Five would highly recommend you do!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you are willing and able please feel free to leave a tip to let me continue to write about my journey, and self discovery.