Ever been in or witness a conversation about body hang ups only to hear the phrase, “Don’t worry, everyone hates their body!” come spewing out of some poor, well-meaning individual’s mouth?
I have, and there’s few phrases I hate more. It makes my toes curl up and my face do this amazing thing where I pull it back and my entire head transforms into a thumb with eyes (I will have to video it some day, it is really worth seeing!).
I know, by using that phrase people are just trying to show how relatable body image issues are. That we are all in this together. We understand where they are coming from. But, the problem is, that this phrase normalises self-hatred and a negative opinion of yourself. It says “You hate your body, but that’s OK, that’s the standard and you can’t expect anything different.”
The great capitalist garbage monster
As women in society we have been taught that self-love and self-acceptance is ‘arrogance’ and a ‘lack of humility’. Women who love themselves, speak positively about themselves, and accept compliments readily, are seen as ‘other’ – different, wrong, a bit weird. To love yourself isn’t a desirable quality because it is tied to concepts of female vanity and narcissism. If you accept your body as it is, society can’t continue to sell you the endless beauty products, plastic surgeries and competitive femininity that feeds into the capitalist garbage monster that is our Western World.
By rejecting self-hatred you are rejecting the need to always be striving to fit a specific ideal, a specific mold that has been predetermined for you. If you say, “hey, wait a minute, not everyone hates their body, which means I don’t have to hate mine either!” you empower yourself to begin your self-love journey, to reject those voices they tell you that ‘you will never be enough, and that’s OK because everyone else thinks that too‘.
We have to stop comforting each other, and instead, inspire each other to grow. Instead of wallowing in our shared misery at our shared self-hatred, we should challenge each other’s beliefs and the preconceptions we have about the world around us. Sure, it is maybe a little less polite to respond to someone’s complaints about their perceived flaws with a ‘shut the f*ck up, you CAN and SHOULD love yourself’, but let’s just say a big ‘F*CK YOU’ to politeness, shall we?
Don’t say ‘everyone is in the same boat’, ask ‘why the f*ck are we all in the same boat?’ Spit in the garbage monster’s eye, throw up that middle finger salute, and saunter your glorious ass right out of that sh*t pit of self-hatred.
I’m not saying it is easy, but I am saying that it is a subtle mindset shift that is achievable with hard work and dedication. Always keep on top of your self-checks – checking you are not talking to yourself in an insulting or negative manner, checking that you are not using phrases that perpetuate negative self-image, i.e. ‘Everyone hates their body.’ Take time to appreciate yourself, and to acknowledge that yes, you are facing off with this garbage monster for the long haul so do what you can to off-set its horrible power.
Love yourself, embrace yourself, and remember, not everyone hates their body and you don’t have to either.