Whilst having a conversation with a close friend about dieting and body shapes, my friend - being ever the complimentary, lovely person that she is - mentioned that my figure was 'bang on trend right now' because of influences such as the Kardashians. Instantly I got my back up. Not because she had mentioned the Kardashians but because she had mentioned BODY TRENDS.
She didn't mean it in any other way but kindness. We were talking about body ideals and I was saying about how I had always hated having hips and boobs and had longed for a slender, straight up and down figure. She was shocked and said that while those who are naturally that shape are perfectly attractive, she has never desired to be another shape even when she wasn't in the best shape herself.
She's right of course, it is mad to long for a body shape you can't have and while I should perhaps find it complimentary or even be thinking 'finally!' after a couple of decades of feeling like I was in the wrong for not looking like a catwalk model, in all honesty it just makes me sad. Just like it is impossible to achieve a slender figure when you have hips and boobs it is impossible to achieve hips and boobs if you have a slender figure, unless you go under the knife. Because of today's modern obsession with surgery as well as curves it appears that is the route many young girls opt to take.
But what happens in ten years or whatever when skinny is the 'in' figure again?
The influence of the media and glamorising certain body types as 'trendy' or 'must have' definitely had a hold over me and long term it is damaging. For twenty years of my life I have hated my figure and longed to be something I am not because growing up I believed what I saw in the media. Seeing slender pop stars baring their tiny midriffs and super models like Kate Moss dominating the headlines as the hottest celebs made me long to look like them. You didn't see curvy figures that much.
It sounds silly when summarised in a paragraph like that but it's true. I was a self conscious teenager who found that fashion was geared to slim girls with low rise hipster jeans and crop tops. I would get excited about buying a new item of clothing and then scowl that I didn't look like everyone else in it. Being skinny was cool and hips weren't.
Fast forward twenty years later and we as a nation are more obsessed with looks and perfection than ever and there are plenty of girls out there who will go under the knife to achieve what they feel is perfection (or rather what they are led to believe is perfection). I am not against cosmetic surgery or treatments but feel deciding to get something quite drastic done takes time and shouldn't be done because it's trendy.
I don't want my daughter growing up feeling as I did and thinking that because the media doesn't deem her figure as fashionable that there is something wrong with her. My main parenting goal (as well as teaching her manners and all the normal stuff) is to instil confidence in her. Make her aware that each and every one of us is different and that's great. Her body is her greatest gift and she should be proud of it. Of course she will go through insecurities like any teenage girl or adult woman but I hope I can make her see that ultimately they are a waste of life and energy.
Now at 32 I am finally embracing my natural body shape. I have an hourglass figure and I am proud of it. I like wearing outfits that make me look womanly and find myself fan-girling over celebs with similar body shapes now like Holly Willoughby as opposed to unobtainable idols such as Alexa Chung.
(I still love Alexa FYI, I just realise now that I will never look like her.)
Ultimately, body shapes being 'on trend' needs to stop. Whatever your natural shape; embrace it. Whether it is slim, athletic, curvaceous, skinny, tall, short, top heavy or bottom heavy be happy with being you.
Being yourself means you stand out from a crowd of people all trying to look the same.
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