• Thu, Dec 12 - 10:55 am ET

My Body Positive Heroes And Heroines From 2013

self esteem

One of my favorite parts of writing for The Gloss is that in addition to bringing you fashion and beauty news, we focus on the intersection of fashion, body image, and self esteem, and we have tried to call out the overwhelming message women (and to an extent, men) are consistently told is that we’re not good enough. In fact, it’s what drew me to The Gloss as a reader years ago. But the message is clear: we never will be good enough. I used to think that the situation was hopeless, but my six months here have opened up my world to other voices–voices that aren’t shouting “you aren’t good enough.”

I know that self esteem is systematically decimated as a tool to oppress women. The war on women is a reality, and telling women that they will never, ever meet arbitrary criteria is a pretty effective weapon. If you’re scared, you’re controllable, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of my life being scared. I’ve been scared of my body, scared of how it measures up, and scared to be looked at. I’ve had enough, and I’m not alone.

My favorite part of my job is writing or reading the writings of my colleagues and our readers about people, campaigns, or organizations that are actively working to shut those negative voices down and destroy long held concepts of beauty based on arbitrary, moving standards. It these people who give me hope that a world without systematic oppression of women through knocking away their self esteem is actually possible. Let’s take a moment to look back at the Self Esteem Heroes and Heroines of 2013, who made the world a little less awful this year.

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  • Samantha_Escobar

    Love this!

    • Cee

      Mee too! Julia, you’re awesome!

    • Julia Sonenshein

      YOU ARE!

  • Anonachocolatemousse

    Julia you are absolutely lovely! I am so glad that I shared a small piece of my life with you to help myself, you and other readers see that it’s okay to be who are you and feel and know that you are beautiful. This is one the main reasons I love reading The Gloss so much!

    Also I had no clue about Chris Pratt! I love that guy and his commitment to his wife and son are also things that aren’t looked at or spoke of in Hollywood, so huge kudos to him all around!

    Secondly, that Lily Meyers poem, wow just wow. I will say this I am eternally grateful to my amazing mom for never telling or showing me that being a woman wasn’t enough. She’s always been a bigger woman and before I was born tried lots of diets, but after me she stopped, I don’t think she was ever fully comfortable with her size, but she never taught me to shrink or to hide, even to this day she tells me that I am worthy and beautiful. I thank her the most for my body positivity (and now I’m crying at work)!

    The entire staff, you are enough, you are amazing, you are beautiful and you are woman and we can definitely hear your roar. :)

    • Julia Sonenshein

      You’re truly incredible. <3

  • ZanBrody

    This was awesome!

    On a body image related note: I’ve found that turning 30 for me came with a whole bunch of body acceptance. I always thought that when people said you got more accepting of your body, it meant you found every part of yourself beautiful. For me, it’s not that at all…it’s just like I don’t give a fuck anymore. Like, oh…my thighs look fat and full of cellulite in these shorts. OH WELL. DON’T CARE it’s hot out.” It is SO LIBERATING!!!!!

    I think when we are in the 16-early twenties range we are taught that our body/looks makes up our value, because it seems like we don’t have much else to offer. We haven’t had a lot of experiences to share (or the reflection to share them in a “valuable” way) or gained valued work/life skills that come with time. If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to spend mounds of energy telling her that being curious about the world, being eager to learn and having a willingness to work hard is plenty to offer the world.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      That is awesome, congrats! :D I started wearing shorts in mid-college when I lived in a house in southern CA with no air conditioning. I was self-conscious but then I was like…meh, I will get heat stroke, it is not worth it.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I’m so happy for you! And really looking forward to embracing not giving a fuck!