When the Dressing Room Became Dangerous

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This post is part of a series in which we asked writers to share their experiences with body shaming.

Between puberty awkwardness and modern beauty standards, teenagers are almost expected to pick apart their bodies in front of the mirror. And usually this self-criticism continues into adulthood, too. This means women can be prone to body image negativity. But what happens when it’s heightened with unkind body comments from “friends?” Here’s my body image story.

Why 'You Don't Look Good Enough'

I was 16 and struggling with the parts of me that seemed to outgrow the rest. Thoughts like "Why does my tummy stick out more than hers?" or "I hate my big legs" clouded my brain every time I went shopping. But today was supposed to be different. I was shopping for a homecoming dress with my BFF and determined to make the most of it.

My friend was pretty, and it always made me feel insecure. With every dress try-on, she ran around the room saying, “Wow, I look soooooo hot!” I was awed by her confidence and shrank into the back of the room.

Finally, when it came to the last dress, I spoke up about how I actually felt: insecure. She squinted her eyes, looked me up and down, and pointed at my hips. “That’s why," she said. "Your hips have a big dip in them. See?!” She continued to explain that my hips were disproportionate for an hourglass figure, which didn’t flatter my black dress.

It hurt, but I couldn’t figure out why, so I just responded with, “Oh, I guess you’re right.”

How It Affected My Body Image

For years to come, I would stare at my hips and wonder if they were “good enough.” And it wasn’t until I came to a place of self-acceptance and high self-esteem that I realized how incredibly cold her statement was. There was nothing “wrong” with my hips. My hips were perfect because they were uniquely mine.

A Better Normal

I’ve learned that it’s never your responsibility to fit someone else’s beauty standards. Finding friends who lift you up in the dressing room instead of tear you down is more important than ever. We need to come together as women to combat the unattainable standards and stigmas. That’s how we all win.

Tags: Self Confidence, Body Image, Body Positivity

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Written By

Emma Lunsford

Emma is a certified health & life coach, expert wellness writer, and cookbook author. She helps stressed women all ove... See Full Bio

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