Pants have never been my thing. But, obviously, due to social standards, I wear them. When I look in the mirror, I see something very different than what most see. A girl referred to me as “tiny” the other day, and the only thought that went through my head was, “I wish.”
I was just wandering through a boutique today actually, and as I checked out the mannequin wearing a swimsuit, analyzed every curve, or lack thereof, and feature of its body. I saw perfection. Her inner thighs didn’t touch, she had long, skinny legs, and the flattest stomach that would even be possible. I, on the other hand, appeared to be a complete contrast.
It is only out of habit that every time I walk by a mirror, I stare at myself. Without doubt, a negative thought comes to mind immediately. The first thing I notice are my massive thighs. Why can’t my thighs just shrink down so I don’t look like a complete tree stump? Then I see my broad shoulders. I was born a girl, so please, why do I have to have male features? And, lately, I have focused more on my stomach. Why do I have a pouch, and how the hell do I get rid of it?
Now rewind to when leggings became stylish. Before leggings were bell bottoms, and, though I don’t care for any pants, at least the bell on the bottom concealed my thigh and calf discrepancy. So, there I was admiring this skinny ass girl modeling “tights.” No, they weren’t tights. They just looked like them. Leggings had a more dignified connotation. This trend took off, and soon enough, they became the highlighted option at boutiques and department stores. There was nothing at that time that could’ve made me feel any fatter than a pair of pants hugging the shit out of my legs, and exposing a shape that I absolutely despised. Trust me. I felt fat enough. I didn’t need anyone declaring who should be wearing them and who should not be.
Acceptance and popularity, particularly in high school, was a desirable feat. So, if everyone else was wearing leggings, and I wanted to appear with it, I would’ve felt the power of social pressure to wear them, too. But, the LAST thing I would’ve wanted to hear was what size girl should be wearing leggings. So, when I heard a high school principal, who was a female educator, and a role model just declared to her students those who wear leggings larger than a size two look fat, I cringed. I am 33 years old, and I am reevaluating myself at every angle in the mirror because of her. I must look fat, too, because I am definitely larger than a size two.
High school girls experience so many emotions. Unfortunately, the aspiration to be skinny remains a priority for many. Because of this, It is our responsibility as adults, leaders, educators, coaches and mentors to not add pressure to young girls, but reduce it. I feel for those girls who were sitting in on that assembly. No doubt, for the rest of their lives, they will always think back to their principal stating how someone is perceived based on their size. And, for that, I am sad.