At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.
Body image. Isn’t that exactly what it is? Just a mere image. It’s not a definition, it’s not a standard, and it’s hardly an expectation. My body image is up to my discretion how I view it. My body image is meant to only supply me happiness, because the rest of the world is looking to make profit from it. The world wants to make profit off of the unbelievable structure that has carried me successfully through 22 years of life. The body that has blocked me from illness, the body that has offered resiliency and support through the hardest experiences, people are trying to exploit, degrade, and make profit from. No more. No more will I accept society’s belittlement of my home. For my body is my house, my tattoos and piercings making it a home. My body is my safe haven, and it’s time my-self image reflect that. Sarah
Some how along the way, most of us have displaced ourselves from value. We’ve latched on to an idea that beauty and, thus, worth is one path. The ironic thing is most of us are always searching for that path, a path that doesn’t exist. If we are to grow as individuals, we must let go of our preconceived ideas on what makes us less or more worthy than another individual. Devin
I want to encourage and advocate to girls and women that being raw is okay because it is the only time where you can feel your strongest, most empowered, most free, and the most beautiful that you have ever felt. I would tell my daughter to not let society or media determine your beauty. Only you can define your own beauty and that you should never feel like that you are any less than anyone else. I would tell my son to respect women of all diversity, flaws, and curves; to not ridicule, belittle, or degrade women. In the future, I want to live in a society that not only celebrates masculinity but femininity as well. Anika
It’s easy to compare your body size to other girls, especially in college. That’s the normality of society, right? Most people hope to stand out from everyone else, with sole recognition of appearance. But, wouldn’t that make you tired? The spiritless effort of keeping up with the latest trend or trying to meet the “perfect” standard, wouldn’t that make you exhausted? Rachel
Beauty does not come in a one-size-fits-all standard. Truth is, there is no standard. Who says any one of us is more beautiful than the other? Who says what I have to offer the world is any more inspirational than the classmate sitting next to me. We all have a gift waiting to be unwrapped. That sounds corny, but maybe the corny things are what we need to hear to remember our worth. Devin
I’ll be back next week with another dose of inspiration from my students!