Let’s get our heads on straight.

A friend shared this image today, and I couldn’t help but giggle. But then it got me thinking: How many females in America need to hear this message? How many of us have bought into the idea that our hair/face/body/weight/breast size determines our worth? What about a woman’s intellect/talent/soul/spirit? What value does that hold?

Yesterday, the Internet was buzzing with news of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy — and so were my coworkers and friends. I was with a particular group of young men last night when the topic came up.

“Did you hear about Angelina Jolie?”

“Her boobs? Yeah, such a tragedy.”

“I know. Those were some of my favorite boobs.”

“Did she get implants?”

“I hope so!”

And then, within the same group just a few minutes later, someone complained, “Why do girls care so much about how they look? My ex was always talking about how her boobs were too small or how she was too fat. She never believed me when I told her she looked good.”

Hmm. There seems to be a disconnect here.

Sure, there have been a few [thousand] times when I’ve wished I could change the way I look. Heck, I probably wished it 15 times today without even realizing it! I worry that my nose is too big, my butt is too flat, my chest is too small, my face is too round, my teeth are too crooked, what are cankles and do I have them? and, while we’re at it, why wasn’t I born with voluptuous lips and high cheekbones?

How did I learn to think like this? It certainly wasn’t from my parents, who have always told me I’m beautiful. No one I’ve dated has ever pressured me to have a Barbie physique.

I think about how my body has changed even since I was in high school 11 years ago, and I think about how it will change as I continue to grow older. I think about the daughter I might have someday, who will be born into a world where she’ll feel these same pressures. Or the son I might raise, who at some point will be taught that a booty or cleavage are what makes a girl valuable.

I hope that I will continue to find comfort in my own skin and that I will truly come to believe that my worth lies somewhere deeper than what’s on the outside. I hope that others will see this in me and will have the courage to believe the same thing, too.

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