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Growing up, I was always thin and never thought anything of it.
My eating habits were horrible. I would scarf down doughnuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and the occasional cookies and milk at night to help me fall asleep.
That didn’t sound like the diet of a “skinny” person, but at the age of 9, who would care about their body image? Disney Channel sure never mentioned anything about why I should not have eaten whatever my heart desired.
How could I have noticed the difference between a size 1 and a size 5 at such a young age? I don’t think anyone notices those kinds of things when they’re younger.
It wasn’t until high school that my awful eating habits caught up to me. I went from a size 0 to a size 4 in what seemed like a day. One day I was eating my mom’s delicious enchiladas, and the next day I was mortified because my pants didn’t fit me.
Normally this wouldn’t be anything to worry about, but according to magazines and television ads, “skinny” was the new beautiful and “buff” was the new handsome. Any other body type was unacceptable.
I wanted to be accepted and I went to extreme lengths to fit in. After eating at a restaurant, I’d throw up in the restroom where I was sure others could hear. Over time, tiny red dots appeared all over my face due to blood vessels bursting from the pressure of forcing myself to vomit.
I won’t go further into detail, but I was bulimic for seven months until one of my friends noticed and took me to her church where they got me the help I needed. I was fortunate to get help so soon because many men and women suffering from body image issues and eating disorders can cause permanent damage to their bodies or even die.
Recently, a Victoria’s Secret ad featured the words “The Perfect Body” plastered on images of extremely thin women in lingerie. Three British students from the University of Leeds submitted an online petition that prompted Victoria’s Secret to change their slogan to “A Body for EveryBody.”
I was surprised when I saw that college students made such an impact on the media’s portrayal of women. Goes to show that anyone really can make a difference.
This ad really hit home for me. That “perfect body” is what I have always been striving for. Ads such as these are what caused me to see a distorted image of myself and hate the person I saw in the mirror.
Men and women around the world are being told they aren’t good enough through messages the media sends.