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Love Your Booty

As the school year begins once again, girls all across Ann Arbor are stripping down to mini skirts and halter-tops, desperate to utilize their summer fashion before the treacherous Michigan winter begins. Walking across campus and eyeing all the girls in their short sundresses and skimpy jean shorts, your Black Berry buzzes. You have a new Facebook event invitation. “Psi Sigma’s Welcome Back to School Pool Party” the invitation is titled. “Ladies-wear a bikini” the event description reads. Though for some, this invite may bring about extreme feelings of excitement, a desire for endless partying, and an anticipation of the fun-filled debauchery that lies ahead, for you, it brings about feelings of intense dread and anxiety because of that one, little, heartless word, “bikini”. The thought of hundreds of fraternity guys and sorority girls staring at your body makes you cringe, because you are under the impression that your boobs are too small, your thighs are too big, your arms are too flabby, or your stomach is too pudgy. You just aren’t skinny enough.

If you can relate to this scenario in any way, shape, or form, it is because you, like 85% of college girls, are unhappy with their shape or form despite the fact that, in reality, it is perfectly healthy. Even women who are underweight deal with extreme body dissatisfaction. So why do really skinny and healthy girls all feel the need to hate on their bodies? Tons of reasons, from the media’s perpetuation of the unattainable thin ideal, to the fact body image is entirely based on perception, to cultural standards linking thinness with beauty, and the list goes on and on. The truth is, living in a society, and especially a college campus, so obsessed with physical appearance, it is becoming more difficult for girls to push aside their beauty desires and just love themselves as-is. However, continuously hating on your body can have pretty severe side effects such as low self-esteem, disordered eating habits, depression, anorexia or bulimia. So ladies, though the task ahead may seem daunting, it is time to shut your fat talking self up once and for all and start loving your body from head to toe. Follow these five tips to abolish your body dissatisfaction and learn to start loving yourself as you are.
1. Stop the Fat Talk: Though you may think that a simple “I look fat in this dress” comment, or a “my butt is too big for these jeans” thought is harmless, being preoccupied with a negative body image can have serious consequences. Next time you hear yourself, or a friend, bad mouthing their body tell them or yourself to shut it. Change the subject to something completely unrelated to bodies, like that hot guy you saw in the Law Quad.
2. Listen to Your Tummy: Your growling stomach will tell you when to feed it and your satisfied stomach will tell you its happy. Listen to it. Your stomach is the best indicator of your dietary needs, so give it healthy and nutritious foods when it asks for it, and do so to keep your body healthy, not simply to keep it skinny.
3. Work it Girl!:  Find a way to love exercise and get moving at least 4 times per week. Try dancing, jogging with friends, talking a hike in the arb, bike around campus, take a class at the CCRB, or dance to a Richard Simmons video, but most importantly-have fun with it. Exercising will make you feel better about your body because it reduces stress, releases endorphins, makes you feel fit and strong, and shows you what amazing things your body is capable of doing.
4. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Stand in the mirror and name one thing you love about yourself. Your eyes, your waist, your hair, try to mention something new each time you try this exercise. It will push you to consciously focus on your positive attributes and make you feel better about yourself when you look in the mirror, not worse.
5. Look Outside Yourself: Concentrating more on others and less on yourself is a great way to stop the vain, body obsession. There are many other, more beneficial ways to spend your time than worrying about the size of your butt. Go do volunteer work, call someone you love, be a good friend. By thinking more about others and less on your body, you will not only stress less about your body, but will make others happy.
As the new year begins on campus this fall, it is your chance to start fresh. It is your chance to make this the year when you become the confident, strong, and secure woman you have been striving to be. This is the year when you can push your bodily insecurities to the side in favor of loving yourself from the inside out. This is your time to shut your fat-talking self up and start enjoying each and every moment of the best years of your life. 

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