True Beauty and Double Standards

I believe in healthy self image. Being comfortable in your own body, and believing you’re beautiful, is one of the most important, and most difficult aspects of self confidence to achieve. Being comfortable and confident allows us to focus on things and people outside ourselves because we’re not worrying so much about ourselves. We don’t need to project our personal baggage onto other people as much. Like the old saying, how can you love other people if you don’t love yourself?

For Asian American girls/women there’s a very strong expectation that we should be naturally petit. We can all be short and thin, with delicate features, because its in our genes.

I know one woman who says that she doesn’t want to lose weight. And that’s because she wants to gain weight. Sometimes it feels like a game: telling other women how thin they look, how beautiful they look, how they don’t need to change at all, then going home to look at the mirror and wish my own stomach were a little bit flatter, how ideal it would be to keep my weight but be three inches taller. If only old scars would lighten and disappear. If only my hair didn’t flip out in strange directions.

It’s strange. I look at the women around me, and they are beautiful. They need to lose weight. They don’t need to rely on make up. They are beautiful. I look at the women on TV and magazines, and I can honestly say that I think they’re too thin to be attractive. Looking at a person, I think you can tell if they’re in their natural weight range. And people look best in their natural weight range, no matter what that range is, because they look the healthiest, most like themselves.

But then, when I turn my eye back on myself, I find myself dissatisfied. As much as I’ve gone through self image and body workshops, I’ve internalized it enough to believe it on an intellectual level, and to some extent, on an emotional level, with respect to looking at other people. But when I look deep inside myself, its still a struggle.

Some days I think I’m beautiful. Some days I only see those things I want to change. And I know that I can only speak for myself, but I get the feeling that I’m not alone, and that situation isn’t likely to change very fast.

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