First of all, let me be clear:
Never ever in my entire life (including birth) have my thighs ever not touched. Like, ever. They've become quite close over the years, sharing all of my life moments with each other. My thighs touch. And I'd imagine most women's thighs do the same.
Yet, there is a focus in our media on thinness. Of slender waif-y models who look like they are permanently ready to ride a horse by the way their legs seem to impossibly remain 2 inches apart from one another. Some women are just built that way, so I do not fault them. I embrace the fact that all women are built different yet equal: we come in all shapes and sizes, but we are all equally beautiful, strong, capable.
But, oh, how our young girls are missing this point.
The young girls of our nation are viewing the world through the space of those non-touching thighs. Self-image has been a problem with women for a long time now. Growing up, I faced my share of aquaintences with image issues. Some dealt with it by dieting, others with over exercising. And there is an epidemic of women who do nothing about it but obsess about all the things they are not: a size, a number on the scale. And this verbal obsession is just as damaging, because it infects the innocent young minds of those who hear them.
With eating disorders on the rise (becoming commonplace, even), it's becoming more and more difficult to fight the battle of getting through to our young women. I happen upon this article yesterday: "'Thigh Gap: Reflections on Teenage Girls". I read it. I clicked the links. I read some more.
And my heart just broke.
My heart breaks for all of the girls who believe they are anything less than beautiful. For the girls who agonize over the image they see in the mirror. For the confidence and self-esteem that is lacking in our future women. And friends, can I be honest? My heart break for all of us grown women who just can't accept and embrace who they see in the mirror each day.
It's an epidemic amongst us all.
And to save our future progeny, we must fight!
After reading the article, I was reminded of a post I wrote not long ago: Owning Your Beauty. I am more committed to it than ever. But after the sobering read of yesterday, I am motivated to raise daughters who own their beauty. I want my daughters to know that beauty comes from an intelligent mind, a compassionate heart, a confident leader. I want my daughters to not think twice of anyone who tells them otherwise.
As I work to raise my daughters to own their beauty, I must also commit daily to owning my own. I must be the example. They need to hear positive words coming from my mouth. I don't want them to hear my obsessing over all that I am not when I look in the mirror. I don't want them seeing my cry over clothes that don't fit or hair that won't lay right. I must own that on bad hair days and tight clothes days, my beauty still exists in my mind and heart (and not in the lack of space between my thighs).
May I encourage you again, as I did a few weeks ago: own your beauty. Be the change you wish to see in the future generations of women.
The definition of beauty begins with YOU.