However, to compare my body issues with the lack of body confidence in today’s teenage girls is deluded. You see nowadays it is not simply about being a certain weight, the emphasis is on body shape and living up to a fake beauty ideal which if the latest car crash TV show Naked Attraction (vile programme, I lasted 20 minutes) is anything to go by women are judged on everything and I mean EVERYTHING! One male contestant talked about for him a key feature in a woman is her nipple to areola ratio and the same guy dumped another woman because he did not like her little toes. Seriously??
For all those women who say to me being a teenage girl is no different today than it was in their day I say you are either ignorant, deluded or in denial. If you are 30+ you have no concept of the pressure brought about by the internet, smart phones, porn, reality TV, MTV and music videos, advertising, endemic sexism, slut shaming, rape culture, grooming, sexting, cyber bullying etc do I need to go on?
And overlay all of this with a toxic media and a society that tells you at every turn that your core value is the way you look, is it any wonder we are in the throws of a self-harming epidemic, our girls have no or low self-esteem and our mental health services are bursting at the seams?
I challenge you to pick up a newspaper in the next month and not rant at how women are portrayed. It is all about their sex appeal, body and attractiveness. Even our Olympic superstars are marginalised unless they appear in sexy lingerie and/or pose for barely nude pictures. Who cares how talented they are, let’s see them in their knickers eh? I know many of you will say this is their choice and you are right, but I believe they have no idea the impact this has on young girls who look up to them and in surrendering to this pressure to conform they misunderstand their position as role models. This is a whole different blog so stop me now!
I know we cannot make it all stop, unfortunately that train has left the station but we must equip girls with enough confidence and gumption to embrace their unique individuality without stealing their right to explore their identity. We must tell them over and over again they are already enough and empower them to see beyond the thigh gap or the porn Barbie ideal.