My Take On Body Positivity as a 16-year old girl


Reese Bratkovic, Writer

Body positivity is such a broad term. Most people when you bring up body positivity roll their eyes, because how can someone who’s not the ideal beauty standard: small waist, big butt, etc. be body positive in life. Living as a teenager in today’s society is so hard, trying to live up to unrealistic beauty standards of today’s society is an everyday battle. I have struggled so much over the past two years with self-love regarding my body and “body positivity.” I used to be pretty decently “skinny,” size 4, never really having problems with my body image. But covid, depression, and puberty hit. I gained 60 pounds in a year and in the past two years I have never been so insecure about something in my life. The things people said to me were just horrible, and I will be very generous to not “name drop” the people that go to our school that said all these degrading things to me. One of the first things I remember someone said to me was when this boy in my grade swiped up on my Snapchat story, a picture of me in a bikini while I was on vacation; he said “are you pregnant?,” and when I replied “no, why would you say that to me?” he said “really?” words can not describe how sad that made me. One time I was eating lunch with my so-called friend at the time and she said a lot of things regarding my body but at the very end of the conversation she said: “well I guess all you can do is just try and lose the weight.” Before she stated that, she said that “everyone was talking about how you gained weight, like what happened to Reese?” And even though I know that probably not “everyone” even cared or said that it still was very eye-opening. I feel everyone feels they are “big” or “fat” at times but one doesn’t truly believe it until you hear another person say it. Another time while I was at a football game this year, this boy I was standing in front of on the bleachers, who didn’t realize I was in front of him said to his friend, “that girl looks like a skinny Reese Bratkovic.” Hearing him say that just made me realize how much people were probably saying behind my back about my weight and body. And it’s been such a rollercoaster with myself and my body image. But for the past almost three months now, I’ve started working out, a lot. Just to be clear though, I’m not working out and eating healthy for anyone but myself. I am doing it to be the best, healthiest version of myself I can be. I am doing it for the depressed girl who let herself gain 60 pounds. I am doing it to prove to myself and women everywhere that people are capable of so much and even though words hurt, at the end of the day the only opinion that should matter is what someone thinks of themselves. Nonetheless, no matter what size one is, or what their body looks like, everyone is beautiful. From the stretch marks on one’s stomach and thighs to the rolls one has when sitting down, to when one eats a good meal and is full and “bloated,” to the size of one’s jeans; everyone is worthy of body positivity. A person does not have to be in great shape to be body positive, at least in my opinion, body positive means one acknowledges they have flaws with their body, they accept such flaws and love themselves unconditionally despite whatever they may be. In other words, body positivity is body acceptance. And whether or not someone wants to workout and change and sculpt their body how they want, everyone’s body is beautiful and no one should make someone feel anything else. A reminder that life is hard and it’s free to be kind to people and build them up, but one can be kind to everyone regarding their body but if one isn’t kind to themselves and practices the art of body positivity or acceptance it’s a huge disservice to themselves.