For what seemed like a really long time, I was able to look in the mirror and feel satisfied with what I saw. I never had delusions about becoming a super model (no matter how many America’s Next Top Model marathons I sat through) but I was happy with how I looked. Then, sometime during my freshman year of high school, I felt a shift. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it was, but it seemed like out of nowhere I couldn’t look at myself without feeling like I just didn’t measure up. I never developed an eating disorder, but I definitely felt like I was on the edge. Thankfully, it was around that time that I found feminism.
Feminism taught me that there’s so much more to life than what you look like. Of course, that was something I’d been told numerous times by well meaning adults, but it wasn’t something I ever truly believed. But once I found feminism, I started to feel it. I began to realize that our society’s extremist views of beauty exist so that companies can keep selling us products they claim will help us achieve that level of beauty – a standards that’s actually unattainable, so that we’ll keep buying those products. Feminism also taught me that I would never feel satisfied or fulfilled by focusing so much on the way I looked. I did, however, feel great about myself after getting an A on a paper, or being elected to a leadership position in a club. I can never thank feminism enough for teaching me that, and it’s a lesson I wish all girls would learn.