Monday, September 22, 2014

Sticks and Stones

In my Biology class today we were talking about nutrients, and my professor decided to also talk about body image, what is considered beautiful, health vs. beauty, etc. We got a homework assignment all about this subject, which I thought was great, because as you know, this is a topic I'm pretty passionate about.

One of the questions was "What pressures do you, personally, feel about making your body look a certain way?"

Although I still get very self conscious about my body (who doesn't?), I have become much more comfortable with it in the past few years. This question did, however, remind me of an experience I once had.

I don't remember exactly when it was, but I was in middle school, so I must have been 13 or 14. I was on Facebook, and at the time there was this thing really popular that you could do. I can't remember what it was called, but basically you could answer these random questions about your Facebook friends, dumb things like "Have you ever had a crush on this person?" or "Do you think this person has ever lied to you?", and the more questions you answered the more points you racked up. When you had a certain amount of points, you could see what your Facebook friends were saying about you in these questions. One time I had gotten a lot of points answering questions, so I wanted to see what someone had said about me. The questions I clicked on was "Would Anne look good in tights?" And the person who answered had put "No".

The guy who had answered that question was a boy. I hardly knew him and I didn't have a crush on him or anything, but that was the first time I ever remember feeling fat. I had never thought of myself as skinny, necessarily, but I had never imagined someone thinking something like I wouldn't look good in tights. For at least a year after that, every time I put on a pair of pants, I had to spend fifteen minutes deciding if they made me look fat or not.

Now, it has been a long time and I am very over that experience. That boy probably doesn't even remember answering that particular question on Facebook, and I'm not here to call him out or anything. What I want to say is first:


And second: Be careful what you say, even if you don't think anyone is going to hear you. Even the smallest, offhand comments can make a huge difference in someone's life. You have no idea how your words are going to affect someone. So to affectionately quote Thumper,

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

(To be grammatically correct, it would be "don't say anything at all, but you get the idea. Be nice!)