After spending  months away from reliable WiFi while at Aspen Grove, I'm finally back at home for the remainder of the summer.

Some of my friends from camp! Love them to pieces!

Which means consistent blog posts again, yay! 

A few nights ago, I made a trip to Target to return some shirts that were bought for me. Although the trip was intended to be a short one, I ended up being sucked into the black hole that we know as the women's clothing section. While I was there I noticed two families with their daughters looking at and trying on clothes. (Before I go any further into this story, you should note that I'm a habitual eavesdropper.)

As I was checking out the clearance racks, I noticed the first family outside of the store dressing rooms. They were waiting for a girl to come out and show them the various outfits they had chosen out. From what I could tell, she came out in a maxi skirt first. Immediately her uncle started loudly saying how bad it looked on her and that she should find something else instead. He said this several times, without caring who could hear or how it made her feel (because his opinion obviously mattered over hers, or anyone else for the matter). As he continued talking, I started to make comments under my breath, hoping he would hear (sadly, he didn't). 

*Side Speel*
Can I just point out the double standard that society has set up for women and men. Women are expected fit an ideal of perfection, while men can look however they want. For example, this girl's uncle was overweight, sloppily dressed, and despite all of that, he felt that he had the right to criticize his niece for a skirt she was wearing. 

Eventually, I walked away and encountered another family. It was a father with a distraught daughter. She was upset because she didn't fit into the size that she wanted to be. After a few minutes of this, her father (exasperated) told her: "Don't worry about the size, worry about the fit. That's all that matters."
To put it mildly, I was impressed by his words.

For the rest of the night I juxtaposed the situations of those two girls in my mind and imagined how the conversations that they had with their family members would shape their body image for years to come. 

My friend, Alayna sent me a link to one of her recent blog posts (<---- click this link to check it out) and I've thought a lot about it while writing this one of my own. 

As women, we tend to separate the world into "right" and "wrong" body types. Often times, we also tend to see ourselves on the "wrong" side of the spectrum, rather than the "right". We see our bodies as a project, rather than the gift that they are. Personally, I think I first started to become acutely aware of my body around the same age as Melissa (see link). Middle school seems to be the time when your life is placed under a magnifying glass of social pressures. We become more aware of those around us and our standing among them. We feel the desire to conform and be liked more than ever. It's instinctive and universal. It's life. As a result, we look towards those closest to us for advice and sources of imitation. 

The other day I was talking with my mom about my own personal issues with my body and self-esteem. Ultimately, we concluded that how we see ourselves is often shaped by those around us for better or worse and that it's up to us to shape how the next generation sees themselves. I think this is why I feel the need to emphasize that we need to  watch what we say about ourselves around those younger than us...this particularly applies to mothers. As humans, we learn by example and it is my belief that negative body image is passed down from mother to daughter and sister to sister. 

Over the past few months I've been asking myself how we, as a society, can ever end this terrible plague of negative body image, and I think I've found my answer. 

In order to change our society, we need to change our homes, our parenting, and ourselves. 

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