Loving Who You Truly Are

Sara - Marlton, New Jersey
Entered on March 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Throughout the course of our lives, we are constantly bombarded with ads, music videos, and other sorts of media that tells everyone, especially women, how they ‘should’ look, act, and want to be treated. The constant labeling of people when they do act themselves is obvious. Of course everyone also learns that everybody is different, and every person has their own special make-up of who they are. I strongly believe that this is wrong, and all people, especially women, should be able to express who they truly are and feel entirely confident about themselves no matter whom or what tells them otherwise.

As I myself grow older, I realize what a constant struggle it is to keep up with society’s perfect image. In elementary school, it’s simple to stay true to who you are without worrying about other people judging, because not many people have formed their beliefs about what and who are ‘cool’ or not. In middle school, the fight begins, continues into high school, and carries on throughout the rest of your life. No matter what people say about not caring what other people think, everyone gets disconcerted at stark comments or looks. And the worst part is, you get labeled and judged for everything you do. From my own experience, and from witnessing, I can tell you that if someone tries to fit in by wearing the new shirt from the store everyone is going to, or gets a haircut to look like a celebrity, or wears a shirt that nobody likes, labels are immediately formed and haunt you for hours, days, weeks, even months or years. ‘Whore.’ ‘Poser.’ ‘Dork.’ All common words whispered behind the victim’s back.

Weight is, I think, the hardest thing girls have to deal with in relation with their appearance. Models and celebrities try so hard to stay fit, and you rarely see one who is not emaciated, or close to it. I have a friend and a cousin who both had eating disorders. My cousin was the one who scared me the most. She was adopted, which has always led her to feel somewhat detached from the rest of the family and unloved in a way. Entering a brand new high school, she encountered some types of verbal and even sexual harassment. This made her feel worthless, and she had problems with her appearance, so she became bulimic. It was so hard for her and the rest of our family, including me, to watch her go through this. She finally overcame it, but left scars on the rest of her family forever.

I really feel strongly that all women, no matter what age, need to feel comfortable with their body and their appearances at all times. Nobody should tell them what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and they most definitely should not label them for being who they want to be. Love yourself and your body; this I strongly believe.