Free Being Me: My Perspective
A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of being with 30 girl guides from all over Malaysia for the
which is a body confidence workshop for girls. I underwent the programme while I was in Switzerland as it was inclusive in the Helen Storrow seminar. For more info on it,
I really looked forward to facilitating the workshop here in my home country, Malaysia! So what is it about this body confidence programme that's so unique? Well, first off, I think it's the most realistic one yet and both young girls and adults can relate.
It's not one of those programmes that favour one body shape over the other. Part of the Free Being Me workshop, we try to educate young girls that all body shapes, sizes and colours are to be appreciated because the truth is there is no 'ideal body'. The 'image myth' is what the media tries to sell to us.
Young girls should NOT have their self esteem injured just because they don't fit the media's standards of beauty. A woman should be valued based on her good characteristics, skills and contribution to society instead of her dress size.
We are constantly brainwashed by the media that to be beautiful you need thick, luscious hair, be 6ft tall, have DD size boobs, porcelain skin and washboard abs. Models on magazines are heavily photoshopped till the point that they don't even look like themselves. Have you seen
People's idea of beauty is becoming distorted because the beauty/fashion industry aren't painting a realistic image of beauty. Yes, some people are blessed with supermodel body proportions but is it fair the rest of us who don't fit the bill are scrutinised?
If you're a girl here in Malaysia, you'd know that once we're slightly heavier than what people expect, that's when the negative fat comments keep coming.
"You'll look nicer if you lost a bit of weight." "What a pity, she's so smart but doesn't have the looks to match."
Many young girls are feeling pressured to look a certain way on top of the stress from school, friends and family that they're already under. Depression, anxiety and eating disorders are on the rise amongst teens because of the overwhelming pressure to look like the image myth.
Whenever I talk about this workshop to my friends, I'm surprised when many of them opened up to me about their past
. I'd never have known because I always thought they were beautiful to begin with! Isn't it worrying to know that some of
friends might be suffering in silence?
Ok, so Free Being Me aims to promote body confidence and awareness of the image myth. WHY is body confidence so important, you ask? Let's look at the facts:
We now live in a competitive world. For women to get to places, we
confidence but how are we to succeed when we're held back by low self esteem? I for one can admit that the facts above applied to me back in high school.
I was a very chubby teen and turned down countless of opportunities to try out new things because of my low self esteem. I hated how I looked and it didn't help that some kids in school would pick on me due to my weight. There were times I'd cry my eyes out because it really sucked to
ugly and sadly, I didn't feel as if I could confide in anyone.
I loved sports but didn't have the nerve to play them outside of PE class because I wanted to avoid the fat comments. I was shy even though deep inside I knew I had a lot to share. So THAT'S why I think body confidence is important. Young girls should be FREE to be themselves. They should not be held back in school because they feel ugly.
Life is SHORT and teenage years are even shorter. It should be spent by trying out new things, getting good grades and being happy. So how can you help someone with low body confidence? Here are 2 tips:
Trust me, nothing hurts
than being teased about how you look than seeing your friends not stick up for you, as if they're agreeing with the negative remarks. If you see someone giving a hurtful comment to your friend (or anyone) about how they look, don't just stand there.
Tell the other person off and reassure your friend that s/he looks fine. You've
idea just how much it'd mean to that person. Help others. Why should people be alone to fight their battles?
You don't know just how much you can lift a person's spirits by giving them a kind remark. Words
You're wrong if you think that one kind remark can't change a person's outlook on life. You don't know what they're going through; you might be that one person who gets them going.
Free Being Me is not in any way encouraging people to neglect their health. Eating well and regular exercise are important! It's also OK to want to be beautiful but one should not have their mental/physical health at stake to achieve that. Most importantly, no one should feel depressed or be hindered in school or workplace due to body-related anxieties.