I'm sitting at Portland International Airport where, thankfully, they have free WiFi for those of us stuck in limbo waiting for delayed flights to arrive. I was lucky enough to have the use of the Lyons' car rather than relying on ol' TriMet to get me out here. This was not only convenient because of the sheer volume of inane conversations I missed out on, but also because this will enable us to go see Star Trek in IMAX once Kyo arrives. That is assuming that he gets in anywhere near the predicted time of arrival. My fingers are crossed. But not really. I can't type like that.
Back to the whole inane public transportation conversations thing, though. The other day I was downright disturbed by some of the talk that I was hearing. I mean, this isn't entirely uncommon. It seems that 90% of the time when I board the 52 bus, some gaggle of teenage girls is discussing their varied pregnancy issues and sharing such valuable tips on high school motherhood as, "After your second trimester you should only smoke pot like, once a week." Yes, disturbing. This particular trip, though, I had the misfortune of overhearing some very flippant discussion of some extremely troubling body image issues.
Two girls were sitting behind me talking about hair, makeup, and the usual teenage hangups. Vapid, but not out of the ordinary. But then they started talking about some music video they had seen recently on MTV (I know. I was as shocked as you were to hear that MTV still plays music videos). One of them says, in completely seriousness, "I want to get skinny enough so that my hip bones stick out like the girl in that video." The other, rather than assuring this beautiful young woman that she doesn't need to do that, merely nods in agreement. Okay, this just turned ugly.
I wanted to put down my book and yell at them. Being so skinny that your bones protrude is not attractive! It's dangerous! Dear God! It's not like these girls were overweight by any stretch of the imagination. It's that Lindsay Lohan syndrome. She looked her best with a curvy figure in Mean Girls. When she went for that whole Kate Moss heroine chic thing, it was just plain gross. The kind of guys who are attracted to that are not the kind of guys that I like to picture 16 year old girls wasting their time on.
I was blessed - and I thank both of my parents for this - with a fairly high measure of self-confidence. This doesn't mean that I don't struggle with body image. I'm a girl. At any given moment, I could probably list five things that bug me about my own appearance. However, those things have never caused me to actually change myself. And I've been HAPPY. I haven't suffered because I refused to starve myself onto the pages of a magazine. Guys have found me attractive, I've made a good number of friends, I've gotten leadership positions at school, I've had internships and jobs in the real world, etc. I just wish that I could get it through these kind of girls' heads that suffering to be attractive has never been and is never going to be worth it. Sure, it's cliche to say, "Be yourself," but if more people would get out there and do it, the world be a much easier place to live.