Never ever


I try to limit the amount of time I spend talking about diet or losing weight.

In girl world, this is an anomaly. (Did you read that in Cady Heron’s voice? Because I did.) My dear friend Madison did a series of posts a while back about “fat talk,” which some of you may remember I contributed to.

I think I’m pretty open about my insecurities in general, I just don’t see a lot of benefit in perpetuating fat talk or this idea that it’s wrong to not feel fat or disgusting all the time.

True story: I recently went to a few wineries with a bunch of my gal pals. Someone a took group picture, and one of the girls didn’t love how she looked in it. Another girl replied, “Girls never like how they look in pictures.”

Think about that. Girls never like how they look in pictures. Never. Because you are female, you will never like how you look.

Doesn’t that make you sad? It makes me sad.

Without really thinking, I replied, “I do!”

I didn’t mean that I thought I look good in every photo, I just meant, yes, it was possible for me to see a photo of myself and not be repulsed.

Everyone just chuckled and the conversation moved on. But the moment stayed with me.

It made me think about if I had a daughter, honestly. While I would want my daughter to be humble and to keep things like appearance in their place (that is, not thinking they’re the most important), I also want her to feel comfortable in the fact that she is not wrong-looking. I want her to feel like she can like how she looks in a photo.

I’m curious what my other female readers think (or male readers, if you have a thought about this). Do you feel pressure to deride your own looks in groups of women? Do you feel like you’re sincere in doing this? Do you never like a photo of yourself?

{Photo credit}

11 thoughts on “Never ever

  1. Yeah, apparently this is how it is now. I was watching a reality tv show with the guys and when the bosses super hot daughter came into the scene, all the guys thought she was amazinngggggg. I just said “well you know what, If my daddy got me a boob job and I got to live off his money and sit home and tan all day and get my nails done and work out I’m sure I’d look like that too”. But really. Everyone looks at these celebrity’s with personal trainers and $200,000 mani pedis and makeup artist who come to the house at 4am and just assume that if a girl doesn’t look like that, it’s weird. This is the crazinesssss

  2. So true, Justine! Sometimes I’m oblivious to just how invasive self-doubt + body image issues are, and I’ve been trying to be more conscious of it. I’m like you and I don’t always hate how I look in pictures — and sometimes, I think I look pretty darn good. 😉 Joking, kind of. In a culture that tells girls and women that they’re not good enough, I just want to shout, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!” But what does it take for women to actually believe it?

  3. I completely get this.

    We live in very body-, weight-, and looks-centric society, which sucks for anyone trying to be happy with what she looks like. I know all these women who are constantly trying to lose weight, some who do it in very unhealthy ways. I keep wanting to ask them, “Would you want your future daughter doing that to herself?” It’s difficult to get people to see how damaging some of that behavior actually is.

    It was even worse a week or so ago when Miss Iowa was going on, because my friends who were in the pageant basically stopped eating, and then had people posting away about how GORGEOUS and SKINNY they looked while emaciated. Were they beautiful? OF COURSE, they’re beautiful ladies! But while we continue to compliment women on their dedication to starve themselves, while we continue to equate beauty with conforming to some imaginary ideal (skinny, yet somehow curvy with huge boobs), women are going to feel negatively about their bodies.


  4. You know how girls, after taking a picture together, both look at it right away–to make sure they each look “okay” or “good”? I stopped doing that, and it really led to less concern about how pictures of myself turn out. Of course I care when it’s a special occasion, or perhaps the photo will be used for something specific… but on the whole, I found that the looking instigated the critiquing (for me, anyway). When a girlfriend is like, “OMG my arms/face/whatever looks so fat,” I don’t even try to counter it (the general female concept/pressure of “let’s all fat talk” makes me cringe!). I just respond by trying to change the subject. Now, when I do choose to look at photos of myself, I usually just think “oh yeah, that’s me!” instead of nitpicking.

    I think it’s awesome that you like how you look in photos! Self-love is a positive thing 🙂

  5. I can completely relate to this one. I’m definitely not an insecure person now, but there was a time in my life when I was. In middle school I was super skinny and tall and lanky. Pretty much a real life stick figure. People would always make horrible comments to me about having an eating disorder or that I was too thin. This continued thorougout my teens and to be honest people still make comments. Initially I thought there was something wrong with me (although my doctor said I was perfectly healthy), so I would try crazy diets to gain weight. I’d even drink Ensure with every meal to try and gain weight (not healthy). I hated going shopping because I hated how I looked. But eventually I was (thankfully) able to put it all in perspective. I realized that when people don’t feel great about themselves, sometimes they project that on you. I gradually was able to completely change my thinking & accept me for me. So if someone rudely asks me if I like food or if I don’t particularly like how I look in a group photo, I just shrug it off and keep it moving. I am at peace with myself and it feels good.

    • It makes me sad that you ever felt that way, but so happy that you’ve come out on the other side of those bad feelings. I think learning to be comfortable in your own skin is something that you need years of life to really figure out.

      Plus, I think you’re totally gorgeous 😉

  6. I honestly rarely like pictures of myself, but I think a lot of it is because I get really self-conscious and stand funny or make a weird face. Even as a kid, I hated to be photographed though because the photo always looked different than the way that I saw myself.

    I’m kind of surprised in the age of the selfie that girls don’t like how they look in photographs. I feel like all I see on facebook et al., are just pictures girls have taken of themselves. I don’t know if I completely buy that notion.

  7. I think it is really sad that we feel that way when seeing pictures. I know I fall victim to it too. I had a moment this weekend when I saw a photo of myself, my husband and his family at our tailgate for college football and I thought I looked great. I also felt bad for thinking that because we always criticize ourself and find something wrong with ourselves in photos. This isn’t a way for anyone to think. We should see the positives and be happy with our photos and ourselves.

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