We all have them. They follow us wherever we go. It whispers in our ear when we are talking to others, trying clothes, and just going about our days. Insecurities is something that links us all together. Yet, women have a huge amount put on them by media, stereotypes, and generational trauma.
In this article, I address the top 3 insecurities that women face and give realistic tips on how you can combat them.
Weight & size
Throughout the decades the media has been filled with how women can make themselves look better physically, and this predominantly focuses on a woman’s figure and her weight. Take the modern Kim Kardashion curvy figure being the ideal, which has led to many women going through a dangerous plastic surgery procedure, Brazilian Butt Lift, in order to get that photoshopped “ideal” curvy hourglass figure. Whether a woman is plus-size or slim, all women are made super conscious of how their body doesn’t fit the “ideal”.
I spoke to a few of my friends who vary in shape and size, and asked what they liked about their bodies. The majority of them mentioned a facial figure such as their eyes or their smile. Yet, when asked about what they didn’t like, it was a long list and it mostly revolved around their weight. “I’m too fat”, “I’m not the right kind of curvy”, “I can’t lose weight”, and “No matter how hard I try or how much I eat, I can’t gain weight”. This was honestly to hear as they are all gorgeous and beautiful women, but looking at statistics weight is the most common insecurity women have.
How to combat your weight insecurity:
- Practise positive self-talk: this can be as simple as looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you are loved and you are beautiful five times every morning and evening. It’s also about focusing on what you like about yourself.
- Take yourself outside: It is so easy when you aren’t in love with your body to want to hide it away and avoid going outside. But being around nature and getting a breath of fresh air can really improve your serotonin levels, that in turn can help you feel good about yourself.
- Be patient with yourself: Our bodies are for life. No matter your size, be patient with it. Whether you are wanting to maintain your weight, put on weight, or lose it, our bodies take time to catch up to what we mentally want. So eat balanced meals, do as much activity as you want, and embrace your body. That body has gotten you through life and has kept you alive.
- Get help: If you are really struggling with your weight go talk to your doctor or a therapist. There are so many conditions that can affect our weight whether thats an inability to lose or gain weight. It can also be very quick for a small insecurity to turn into full body dysmorphia and an eating disorder. No matter your size you can suffer from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders when trying to diet or gain weight. So talk to someone.
"Women are weak"
Being girl or feminine has been used in language to describe something weak through phrases such as “you throw like a girl”, “don’t be a p*ssy”, and “stop being hysterical”. While these phrases are often said towards boys and men (except the hysterical phrase), they have a detrimental effect on young girls and women as they reinforce the notion that being born female or being feminine makes you weak.
So let’s break down that language and see how our preception can turn that weak stereotype into something strong.
- “like a girl”: Considering that there are more and more women every year becoming CEOs, Sport champions, Entrepreneurs, Mothers, Mangers, and confident goddesses, I’d say “like a girl” is something to be proud of. Because despite every gender-based obstacle we are pushing through the boundaries that the women before us fought to even reach.
- “Don’t be a p*ssy”: Considering that the vagina is a muscle that can clean itself, stretches when aroused, can push out a baby and return to its normal shape I’d say that phrase is being misused. It’s one of the strongest and adaptable parts of the human body.
- “Hysterical”: the term hysteria was used as a medical term by doctors for solely uterus-owners, it covered all mental and physical ailments a woman suffered whether it was depression or even fainting spells. It’s a term so tightly bonded to being a woman, that it’s come to describe an outburst of emotion. But here’s the thing, that outburst is brought about by you bearing the strain and stress, caring for others, being resourceful, and looking after yourself. So be hysterical. Have a cry, scream out into the night, release that pent up angst within you. It shows just how strong you really are.
Age is a factor that affects all women. Whether it's from being pressured to listen to the “biological clock” and having children in your 20s and early 30s, to start using anti-aging products in your 20s, or feeling undesirable once you reach your menopause years.
This age factor is reinforced in films and TV shows, the majority of female counterparts to 40+ year old men, are in their 20s and 30s, making women who are reaching or going through menopause to be absent from our screens. Thus driving women to try to stay looking youthful for as long as possible. Actresses and models who have aged naturally and not gotten lip fillers and/or surgery to keep their youth are rarely on TV until they reach that “grandmother” look. This causes many women once they go through menopause to feel negatively about their age, their changing bodies, and feel like an undesirable in society.
How to love your menopausal body
- Practice self-care: do things that make you happy, whether that is a long walk in the countryside, dancing around the house, going to exercise classes or just a long soak in a bubble bath. It can also help to start journaling positive things about yourself to look back on, on days you are feeling negative about yourself.
- Body changes: Menopause is the second biggest hormonal change to a woman’s body after puberty. There are many ways to embrace these changes including regular exercise, dressing for your personality not your age,
- Have sex: No matter your age sex can be great. One side effect to menopause is the lower levels of self-lubrication, so get buying some lube and have fun with your partner or by yourself.
- Live how you want to live: Whether you have children or not, as women in our younger years we are filled with pressures and stresses to “succeed in life”. Yet, once we reach menopause and become “undesirable” in society, it’s time to shake off the stress we’ve carried and live how we have always wanted to. Go travel the world, learn new skills, go back to school. Focus on yourself!