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.