Today's post will be inspired by a scene from "Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging", a hilariously
awkward and (unfortunately) mildly accurate depiction of a teen's life. Except for the fact that most of us don't end up with hot British bass playing boyfriends, especially since I have been condemned by the universe to become the crazy cat lady up the block.
But I digress. Back to the movie.
The scene depicts the sacred girl ritual of giggling, gossiping, and pouring your heart into a bag of Cheetos, also known as a sleepover.
|I feel you, Georgia, I feel you.|
Their version consists of filling out a sheet for each girl present, rating their different body parts on a scale of 1 to 10, anonymously of course, like that's going to protect a 14-year old's feelings from getting hurt.
And then, of course, the inevitable occurs:
some poor soul receives a 4/10 for her nose, and the whole world as she knows it ceases to exist.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the danger behind "rating" games, and the aforementioned isn't the only one I've ever heard of:
-Rating each other's outfits on a daily basis
-Playing "Would you rather have...?" with their friend's physical features?
-Every single type of Mean Girl-esque pity party where girls whine about their atrocity and their friends are legally bonded to disagree (more on that in this article: Body Bashing Ritual)
The list goes on and on!
But why do we put ourselves through this bizarre rite of passage, and what kind of long-term effects can they have on our self esteem?
At an age where our perception of ourselves is distorted and constantly progressing, it can be hard to know for a fact how we feel about our physical appearance. One day it's Victoria's Secret, the next it's Monster's Inc. So we turn to our supposedly most reliable source of information: our friends.
And it may seem like a great idea! After all, a high rating can instantly boost your confidence!
But as research, and my own personal experience, has proven time and time again, teenagers rarely come up with the greatest, most body positive ideas.
Not convinced your rating games can be potentially destructive? Here are 3 reasons:
1. Your friends are not credible, valid sources of information. Someone could be having a bad day and taking it out on your score, someone could still be upset at a rating you gave them the week before, but most importantly: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FACTUAL ATTRACTIVENESS.
Maybe your friend likes straight hair, and the Lord hath blessed you with ridiculous curls (join the club). It's all based on personal opinion, and in no way does it reflect what everyone thinks, and in no way should it reflect what you think of yourself.
2. Numbers are dangerous. For the same reason people are rarely happy with their weight on a scale: there's no room for grey, no subjectivity, no perfect number. Let's face it: you could get a 9 out of 10 on "body", but your first thought would be WHAT IS HOLDING ME BACK FROM A 10? and down you go into a questioning spiral that could have been avoided. Leave the numbers for Algebra, k?
3. Your friends are your source of support: they should make you feel better about yourself, point out all the reasons they love you. Focusing your collective energy on physical appearance is unhealthy as it detracts from humane qualities such as kindness, generosity, empathy, humour; the real reason you love each other. And it could potentially lead to some more serious clinical impacts, as proved by NEDIC: "a girl who is unhappy for any reason may be more likely to believe that the solution to unhappiness may be found in losing weight, if thinness is highly valuated within her friendship group"
So please: keep your friends close, tell them how wonderful they are without assigning them a number.
Have a lovely day, my loves