Lucy's story: how I feel about my body as a teenager

This content mentions body image or generally discusses weight, which some people may find triggering.

I don’t find it easy to put down on paper what I feel in my head about the image I have of my body, it doesn't seem to make sense, and it doesn't feel good enough.

I don’t always feel comfortable in my body, but that does not mean I can't show off what I like about myself. I like my eyebrows, eyelashes and my naturally ‘tanned’ skin.

My name is Lucy, and body image plays a very big part in a teenager’s life, like mine. Thinking about it, my friends and I don’t tend to talk about our own bodies, but we do comment on what celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Little Mix are wearing.

Photo of Lucy with a horse

What I do to help myself feel better about my body

Most of us have likes and dislikes about different parts of our body, we don’t all think and feel alike - personally, if I do not like something, I want to change it, but I know that in reality, what I really need to do is learn to love all of me. To help myself feel better, I wear clothes that make me feel comfortable about myself. If I could, I would wear pyjamas all day because they are comfortable and don’t feel tight; in fact, pyjamas suit everyone, whatever their shape or size!

There is a dress that made me feel confident, not a special dress but an everyday one. It wasn’t fancy, but it made me feel special, but it is not easy to put into words why this dress made me feel this way. It went in and out in all the right places, it flowed down to my knees, not too short and not too long, not too loose and not too tight.

When you find that perfect outfit, you wish you had bought two of them. In fact, when I think about the clothes I wear, it is often the same outfit day after day, a different t-shirt but always black leggings and my Mickey Mouse jumper.

The impact of social media and female stereotypes

On social media, in particular, there are lots of female stereotypes telling us what we ‘should’ be looking like – slender, tanned, big breasts, curvy bum, painted nails – the impact of this is that most teenage girls that I see posting on social media have fake tan to look golden, fake nails to look more ‘girly’ and pose so that they look like they have bigger breasts and a curvier bum than they do in reality. In my opinion, this is because of the images we see on social media, like Instagram and Snapchat.

I think parents should be more careful of what they say around young people because it could have an impact on them for the rest of their life. Yes, parents should encourage a healthy lifestyle for their children, but we also need the flexibility to make our own decisions. Yes, parents should encourage their children to talk to them, but we may not always want to when asked, be available whenever you can.

If I could say something to each and every teenager, whatever their gender and wherever they live, it would be this: appreciate what your body can do, not what it can’t do. And in the words of Little Mix, ‘take off all my makeup cause I love what is under it’.

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