To Make Up, or Not To Make Up

BY RACHEL WONG

Based on my experience, girls in general tend to be a little more concerned with their appearance and self-presentation. From their hair red-carpet-makeup.jpgto their clothes, make up to accessories, everything is meticulously planned and coordinated with the intention of showing off the best version of themselves.

I am no stranger to spending great lengths of time with my makeup, trying and re-trying outfits and making sure that everything looks just right. But when it comes to my motivation for trying to looking great, it is always for myself. I wear certain clothes and do my makeup a certain way for me, and not for anyone else.

I bring this up because I was confronted with this the other day. As I fixed my eyeliner in the school washroom, a girl that I would call an acquaintance asked me who I was trying to impress. She knew fully well that I am currently single, and in a very serious voice, she asked me if I was going out on a date, or if I was trying to pick someone up.

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My Struggle with the Freshman 15

BY RACHEL WONG

This semester, I exposed myself – quite literally – in one of the most personal pieces that I have ever written for my student paper. The paper is circulated widely throughout each of Simon Fraser University’s three campuses, and has a massive online presence as well. In the article, I came clean about my unhealthy struggles trying to avoid putting on weight in my first year of college. As post-secondary students, we always joke around about the infamous freshman 15 – pigging out to no end and having a terrible time managing our weight due to stress eating and a lack of time to cook or do adequate exercise. Though the term is often used lightly, in my case, the freshman 15 was ultimately what pushed me to developing an eating disorder. 400300p2999ednmain1840avoid-the-freshman-15.jpg

I was never really happy with my body at any point in my life. Looking at old photo albums would make me cringe at terrible fashion choices, chubby cheeks and a core section that I didn’t hide very well. Puberty was good to me I guess, as I had stretched out (and have since stopped at the ginormous height of 5’2″), gained some pretty reasonable sized breasts, and developed somewhat nice hips.

But I lamented day and night that I wasn’t skinny enough. This was my struggle all throughout high school – I wanted to be skinny, but I didn’t want to give up my eating habits or my relationship with the couch and the TV. My only real activity was gym class and running late to class.

Then senior year rolled around, and I reminded myself that at the end of it all, I had to be in front of all my peers in some sexy dress that made me look like a princess. So at the beginning of my senior year, I made it my goal to slim down by any means – even if it meant cutting back on some junk food, eating more healthy meals and actually taking physical activity seriously.

Throughout high school I had fluctuated between 110 and 120 pounds. By the night of my graduation, I was 105 pounds. 18 years old, 5’2″, and 105 pounds.

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My Eating Disorder: Not a choice, but a lack of control

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

I’m not entirely sure what the general population thinks about eating disorders. Like most mental illnesses, they’re not usually talked about. And when they are, they’re mainly glamorized, used in the wrong context, or viewed in a negative light. Some see these illnesses as tragically beautiful. Others single out naturally skinny women and label them anorexic. People make crass speculations like: “It’s a choice” or “It’s just for attention.” I truly hope that most people don’t believe these toxic assumptions. But I suppose for some, it is still a question of how and why people find themselves with eating disorders.

Quite obviously, I can’t speak for everyone. But I can explain why I think I became anorexic.

Was it my choice?

In short, no.

I did not choose to grow up in a society where women are told they’re only beautiful if they index.jpgare thin. My family also propagated these ideas. With a sister ten years my senior, I was exposed to dieting from a young age as I watched her try every restrictive meal plan in the book. My mother would always mention that after her divorce, she dropped below a hundred pounds. My aunt would then respond by saying how pretty she looked then, until she met my father and gained all the weight back. My father would describe gorgeous women as being “a hundred pounds soaking wet.” And so, I began to see being skinny as a sign of strength and beauty.

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Love Yourself

BY RACHEL WONG

I am scared of a lot of things. Most of these fears are rational (insert spiders, death, horror films) but a lot of them are also irrational (insert sunny-side up eggs). What I am most scared of is how I present myself how others perceive me.

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Basically, I give a damn about what you think of me. It may not look like it, but I do. And I think about it every day and every night.

I remember coming across a blog post a few years ago that made me question my entire existence. To paraphrase, the post went something like this:

You’ve never actually seen yourself. You have only seen mirror reflections or pictures. But you have never truly seen your “self”.

The post may have been a little over the top but it got me thinking a lot about how I present myself and what people think when they see me, hear me talk, or interact with me. Do I make a good impression on them? Do they think I’m pretty? Do they notice the zit I sometimes feel forming on my forehead? Most of all, do they even like me?

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7 Tips on Shopping with a Poor Body Image

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

Let me be completely honest here, there were a good number of years during which going to the mall felt like stepping onto an emotional battlefield. Bombarded by images of confident models with clothing that hugs them in all the right places. Struggling to find things that I liked and looked good on me. Sifting for what felt like an eternity through the sizes of clothing that are all too small for me. Sizes that not too long ago I could fit into. It was every trigger imaginable, all under one roof.

The majority of my change room experiences resulted in tears. In my mind, I looked hideous in everything. I was hopeless. I’d leave the mall empty-handed, losing the last few drops of self-confidence I had before I went in.

It took me a long time to gain a sense of self-love for my body. And it was not done through shopping. However, it is hard to completely forego buying clothes, especially since I needed a new size of jeans every season. Thankfully, I was able to find ways to turn shopping into an experience that often helped, rather than hindered, my body confidence. Continue reading