Dear Avery: Body Image


Avery Kalter, Writer and Editor

Dear Avery,

Lately, it’s been hard to look in the mirror without shame. I don’t feel very comfortable in my body, and often find myself comparing my body to my classmates and peers. I exercise and eat healthy, but no matter what I do I am never pleased. Do you have any advice on feeling comfortable in my own skin?





Dear Anonymous,

When I went to Paris, all we did was tour museums. Filled with sculptures and famous paintings, museums were the top activity. All day long, I was surrounded in rooms filled with sculptures. Some women, some men, some had arms and legs, others didn’t; however, there was one sculpture that was favored. People were surrounding it, posing next to it, and taking pictures of it the entire time I was there. Out of the hundreds of sculptures in the room, it was the sculpture with no arms that had stomach rolls and thighs squeezing together that caught everyone’s eye, and it was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. I found this interesting because in the modern day, beauty is linked with being thin. Hundreds of diet apps have programmed our minds to believe that a skinny body is equivalent to a happy heart, but standing here in this museum, I see that the most beautiful girl isn’t necessarily skinny, but she is confident and flawless. 

Body Positivity: How to Help Your Teens Have A Positive Body Image | NYMetroParents


According to the Anxiety Institute, “BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) typically makes its first appearance alongside puberty, with symptoms developing from the age of 12 or 13. BDD affects about 2.5 percent of males and 2.2 percent of females in the US.” Body dysmorphia is a weird concept to grasp because it doesn’t mean you have a bad body; it means that you visually see a different version of yourself than others do. Body dysmorphia usually comes from a simple, perceived flaw that grows to consume your life. For instance, I can look in the mirror and point out a small aspect of my body or face that  I don’t like, and that flaw becomes an obsession until I’m not pleased with every part of my body. You start to not see what’s real, and it gets in the way of important aspects of your social and emotional life and can greatly impact your physical health. Your mind is playing tricks on you so that your perception becomes your reality. If one flaw has the power to make you hate your body, then you should realize that it’s just a flaw, and it can’t impact you unless you let it. Also, don’t compare yourself to others because anyone can be struggling just as much as you. As dysmorphia teaches us, we can look perfectly fine and see a different image in the mirror. 


One known fact is that self-acceptance and body confidence are huge components of self-achievement and personal development. When we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin, we make ourselves smaller. Whether this is literal or not, we get smaller and smaller, hiding because we don’t like ourselves and our appearance. Confident people take up space, and they strive. They aren’t afraid to feel comfortable and put themselves out there. They make themselves seem big, and that way they can grow as a person and develop into a confident individual. When you feel ashamed of your body, take up space. Train yourself to do the opposite of what you want because the only way to be confident is to fake it. Display yourself to the world and opportunities will come. Take up as much space as possible, because until you do that you will never learn to be comfortable with who you are. 


“Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” 

  • Michelle Obama