By Kendall Stewart, an Emerson College Graduate interested in writing, literature and publishing.
As a teenager, I’m sick and tired of the negative body images projected on girls these days. We’re constantly being told that we are not skinny enough or not pretty enough. Even singer Cheryl Cole of the British rock group, The Girls Aloud, has recently said that she has to “watch” her weight – and she’s a diminutive size 6. So please allow me to speak for teenage girls everywhere when I say, “Here I am, World, and I’m not taking it anymore.”
For me, the negative influence started at the age of ten. I was very into ballet back then; I took multiple classes at different studios and had my heart set on being a professional ballet dancer. But I was a little overweight – and when I say a little I mean a little, 10 pounds a little. But of course that was not going to work in ballet. So I went the extra mile and lost 15 pounds instead of 10. I was skinny, so now everything was supposed to be OK.
And for a while it was because, to toot my own horn, I was good. I got the solos in the dance recitals, student-taught the younger classes, and spent my entire summers in the dance studio rather than at the beach or pool with my friends. But then I stopped growing at 13.
I was 4’10” (and I still am) and wasn’t getting any taller. This meant that regardless of how good I was, it was not going to be good enough because I didn’t have a long neck or long legs or arms. My future just was not in dancing.
In retrospect, I understand this. In ballet you need to fit the costume and make the dancing look its best. Dancing looks its best when done with long limbs. But back then I was heartbroken. I was a 13-year-old girl who had just been told that her dreams were never ever going to come true because I didn’t have the body necessary to fulfill them.
Girls of all ages feel this every day – and not just because they want to be ballerinas. They’re constantly being told by the media that they’re not pretty or thin enough, or they’re too short or too tall. Why can’t the world see that every girl is beautiful in her own way? No one fits a certain mold, and no one looks exactly the same.
That has become my mantra over the years. I am 4’10,” 88 pounds. I am very small. In fact, I’m the smallest person I know but this doesn’t bother me at all anymore. What I lack in size I make up for in personality. Since realizing that, I’ve been happier than ever before. Every girl could find something about herself that she loves, so she can be as happy as I am.
Last reviewed Nov 10, 2014.