When I need a pick-me-up I like to read interviews with powerful influential women, and lately I've found myself doing a lot of that. To share the love I've pulled some quotes that I'd like to muse on - to start things off I'm focusing this post on a beautiful quote by tennis sensation and all around badass Serena Williams.
“I love my body, and I would never change anything about it. I’m not asking you to like my body. I’m just asking you to let me be me. Because I’m going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself.” —Self, September 2016
Serena was in the most recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and she didn't disappoint, as always looking like her athletic, gorgeous self. SI has been a hot button topic for feminists for years, but I have to give credit to the magazine for shifting it's focus recently and including beautiful women from a wide spectrum looks that wouldn't typically be represented in a men's magazine. That being said, I think that as feminists it's sometimes more productive to meet the opponents to progress where they are, if men are reading SI, insert a little feminism in there. They might like it, they might complain, but they're seeing it and the demographic that reads SI isn't going to overlap completely with the audience of Jezebel.
Self-love is a struggle for so many people... men, women, and all those in-between. The media has been dominated since it's inception with the projected ideals of hetero, wealthy, white men, but since the rise of social media more and more looks, styles, ethnicity, ages, and body types are being represented (and seen as beautiful) in the main stream media.
As a woman on the brink of 30 I'm struggling with a whole boatload of issues: the incongruous presence of acne and fine lines, the budding awareness of my own mortality, and the thought that I need to take care of my body not only for me, but for the family I hope to have. I have been exceptionally lucky my whole life that I fit the "standard" - I am tall, white, slim, fair-featured and from a middle class family. Still, with all of those things in my favor, and with role models who looked like me I still struggled to accept the body I was in.
Serena's quote reminds me that finding purpose in your body is the best way to feel good about yourself. So try to appreciate what your body does. Can you do a push-up? Have you had a baby? Can you walk up and down a flight of stairs? Yes? You're awesome! No? Give it time, put in some work and you'll get there because you're still awesome!
And remember that once upon a time you were a child looking for a role model, and grown-up you doesn't have to be perfect to be looked up to by the little girl you used to be (and hey, now you can reach the cookies on the top shelf!)