Rachael's story: I've always been curvy and felt a bit different
When I was younger, I was known as the bigger girl in my family, I’ve never really been skinny, I don’t know what that experience is like.
I've always been curvy and always felt different
I don't know what it is like to be the thin or slim girl, I've always been curvy or bigger. I was a size 14 at 14 years old and sometimes I felt like the 'different one within the group'.
There have been many times, past and present when I haven't felt great about my body and I used to feel like, 'well if I looked like her, I might be more attractive and more appealing'.
I feel a bit more comfortable moving into my 30s
As I've gotten older, I have become more comfortable in my body and feel like I am growing into a grown woman's body, that I like. I am more comfortable in my evolution into womanhood and how I see myself.
The impact of others judgements on how I feel
In the world of being an influencer, there are so many opportunities that are thrown at you, good and bad. I've had many cosmetic surgery companies contact me offering free procedures such as liposuction, Botox and more in exchange for content. I am not an advocate for cosmetic surgery and am quite vocal about this on my platform. I find it quite insulting because it makes me think, what are you seeing when you look at my images or videos, that makes you feel I need to get something fixed or changed?
Unlearning the negative things I learnt about body image
One thing I encourage people to think about is, to unlearn who taught you that there was something wrong with you. Many of us are internalising images of "perfection" that are being thrown at us and giving is a false idea of what we are "supposed" to be.
Social media and the pressures on young women today
If I was 14 years old in today's social media age, I don't know how I would cope, with all the peer pressures of school and being thrown constant images of these 'perfect' celebrities.
It can be so hard to turn it all off, unless you actually turn off your phone, which is quite hard in today's age where we are addicted to our devices. When you are scrolling and looking at images, it can make you feel like... well she looks like that and is getting all of the likes, so I guess I should look more like her to get the same attention. It is very problematic because people are not checking in with themselves and realising that many social media platforms are being manipulated to make you feel insecure about yourself.
Older people are responsible for the younger generation
The older generation has the unknowing responsibility to set the example for the next generation or at least provide advice if needed. Yes, we are going through our own issues, but we may not have the same amount of pressures that those younger than us do. Therefore where we can, we should help to reduce the pressures many younger people face by assisting their self care and love journeys via our previous experiences.
Practical tips to improve how you think and feel about your body
- Notice the people and accounts you’re following on social media and be mindful of how you feel about your own body and appearance when you look at them.