Weight, Beauty and Khloe Kardashian

Charlotte Steggz

Photo taken by Sian’s Photography

One of the activities I do in schools is where students pitch business ideas. We do it with younger kids because they are keen, not too-cool-for-school and also they have great imagination.

I was running one last week and was helping out in one of the classrooms. My favourite thing is sitting with the kids and just chatting with them, trying to understand what makes them happy, what makes them worry about the future. A group of girls were developing their idea; a beauty box that has unisex products. So far so good. I loved how progressive the idea was – and could actually see how this could sell well.

I returned back to the room in time for the girls to pitch their idea, excited to see their work. The girls – aged 12 – got up and confidently announced their business plan, how much it would cost and who they would aim it at. They then went on to list all the products – and the “problem” that it would solve.

“A tanning bath bomb to make you less white”

“Exfoliating wash to get rid of dry skin”

“Black nose strips to unclog your pores”

“Charcoal toothpaste to whiten your teeth”

This went on for a long while, going through each of the five girls about three times each.

My heart sank. How. At 12 years old. Did they know all these things???? I don’t even know all these things.

I flagged it up with their teacher, who shrugged and said that this is the world they live in now. She said that they have lessons on how photoshop edits images they see every day, and they try to raise awareness of unattainable beauty standards.

Ever since I was little, I have struggled with body image. I had boobs from 9 years old, and when I was the same age as these girls, I wore two bras on top of each other in order to strap them close to my chest and stop the jiggling of them.

I have photos from when I was a young teenager, me looking uncomfortable in clothes selected out for me, and I remember things said to me by family members about my weight and shape. When I was in Japan I felt so very fat but I look back now and see that it was actually my smallest weight.

My self esteem is a see-saw right now, as a 31 year old. One day, I see a photo of me with a roll of fat blubbing over my jeans and feel like I’m the worst. On other days, I see amazing plus size influencers and am happy to be this size, to be showing young girls that you can be bigger and still be fabulous.

I want to be a role model to these girls. Recently I worked with Sian to take a bunch of photos of me. My spec was that I didn’t want them to be “fashion photos” but “Charlotte photos”. Some of them – like the one above – I cringe to look at, with my tummy hanging out. But I have to remember that THIS IS GOOD. That girls need to see that people like me can also look nice in photos – without looking skinny.

And yet even plus size advocates like Khloe Kardashian can pull things in the wrong direction. Last week she wrote an article on “how to look skinny AF in photos”, including tips on wearing stripes and angling yourself in certain ways. Shouldn’t such high profile people be showing others how to be happy AF? Or skilled AF? Or confident AF?

She’s the kind of woman these girls would be looking up to and hanging off every word.

I wanted to end this post with a call to action but honestly, I have no ideas. Schools are doing what they can to show girls that the things they see on screen isn’t what reality is like, but they still strive to achieve the impossible. More and more diverse models and influencers are becoming mainstream and yet girls seem to be pressured to be the same.

I’d love to get a conversation going in the comments on what we, as bloggers, influencers, people of the world can do to help young people feel at ease with their body and their imperfections.

How can we help the next generation feel happier in their own skin?

 

Comments

  1. I also saw that Khloe Kardashian has something she calls “KhlO-C-D” where she shares her tips for cleaning and organisation. Not sure how people with the mental health condition might feel about that – it just felt wrong to me.

    You are right, kids should be taught about body positivity. I guess it has always been around though, when I was a teen people blasted magazines for only showing skinny, air brushed models. Now it’s just transferred to online, but it does seem worse somehow.

  2. Kennst Du http://luziehtan.de/de/ ? Sie ist ein tolles Positiv-Beispiel.

  3. I met a girl last week at a recruitment exhibition in Seoul who was interested in studying contour fashion in order to challenge the preconception that only thin girls could wear nice lingerie. I think getting young people to be proactive about the things that they dislike about themselves is always a good first step.

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