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Monday, June 22, 2009

Operation Beautiful

We all have those days when we look in the mirror and immediately think, "Ugh, I'm so fat." Whether its a genuine feeling or a cry for attention à la Mean Girls, it happens to the best of us:

Karen: Oh my God, my hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh, please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I've got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there's a lot that can be wrong on your body.

I'm definitely guilty of it. There are plenty of times when I walk into my bathroom, in which one entire wall is mirrored, and don't like what's reflected back. There's a huge disparity between what the scale says and what I see on my own body. 

(Full disclosure: As I wrote this post, I walked into my bathroom and the first thought in my mind was, "Wow, my stomach looks huge today." SEE?! Sometimes we're not even aware of these thoughts because they are so deeply enmeshed in our consciousness. This comes just hours after one of my super-slender Korean co-workers talked about her need to go on a diet.) 

It's become routine in our society to throw out phrases like, "I feel fat," "I hate my [stomach/butt/thighs]," etc. 

But this needs to stop now. 

Caitlin, inspired by Gives Me Hope, has launched Operation Beautiful, an effort to stop girls (and boys!) from disparaging their bodies. We're all different. Not everyone was meant to be a size-zero or have washboard abs. Who decided that a flat stomach was a requirement? What about the cultures that find curvy, voluptuous women sexy? 

My favorite thing about Operation Beautiful is that it's such a simple concept. The basic premise is to leave a note in a public place reminding people that they are beautiful just the way they are. Stick a Post-It to the bathroom mirror, put a note in a classmate's locker, sneak a message onto a coworker's laptop. It's easy. 

Visit Operation Beautiful to see some of the pictures people have already sent in. Make your own note, whether its to a stranger, your coworker or yourself. We could all use a reminder once in a while: You're beautiful. Don't change a thing. I like you just the way you are.