We, as girl-empowering adults, are of course also human and experience moments when we feel more negative than positive about ourselves and how we look. We grew up being told by the media that we must look and act and dress a certain way all the time in order to feel confident. We are allowed to have moments in which we don’t feel the greatest about a certain body part or hair day, even though our brains know way better than to judge ourselves that way.
There are a few things that can almost always make us feel powerful and good in our own skin again, even in the midst of a body-shaming moment.
1) Think about what you would say to a little girl who complained of having the same body image issue you are experiencing in that moment. I’m betting you would tell her that she is beautiful all the time, and that what makes her that way is how she acts, what she does, and how she treats other people. She should not be comparing herself to photoshopped images of women in magazines, and neither should you!
2) Think about what you would tell the little kid version of yourself in this situation, or even before this situation ever happens. One of the GRRRL Camp goals is to prevent negative body image from creeping into the lives of girls by pointing out what their bodies and minds can do instead of emphasizing how they look. Take care of the little kid self in you and remind yourself to value what your body is capable of accomplishing!
3) Bring in reinforcements! Expose yourself to empowering videos, photos, and interviews of people who challenge what is making you feel like you are not as beautiful as you are. Watch videos about how much time and work it takes to get women to look the way they do on TV and in magazines to dissolve the illusion that you should roll out of bed looking that way. Some examples:
This video showing the process of taking and editing photos of a model.
This TEDx talk by a model is great.
Check out these awesome GIFs that show photos before and after photoshop.
Remind yourself to think more like Tina Fey.
Look at images of female athletes (not sexualized ones)! Studies show that they help women and girls think about how powerful their bodies are.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes that don’t pinch or grab at you in places that make you feel self-conscious.
Do something active! This will help you release endorphins so you’ll feel happier while being reminded of what your body can do.
Sometimes we need empowering reminders from others, and sometimes we can help ourselves in the process of empowering girls. Let’s make it a goal not to be so hard on ourselves!