Hey girls! It’s time for some serious talk about our bodies. My name is Lesego. Until a few weeks ago, I hated what I saw whenever I looked in the mirror: I was too short, my tummy was a little round and my complexion a little dark. But that’s the old me. The new Lesego? She loves her body from her hair to her toes. Wondering what changed? My body is the same, but my attitude is different now. I realised that it seems like everywhere we look, from TV to Facebook and Instagram, everyone is always telling us girls how we need to look, and it’s never how me and my friends and a lot people in my school and community look like. So I decided to see myself as I really am: beautiful and perfect just the way I am. We are all beautiful just the way we are.
But what if people tease you or make you feel bad about how you look? It’s called bullying, and it’s wrong. When this happens, don’t keep it quiet. Tell your teacher, parents or another adult that you trust. Adults can be super busy, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. When talking to them, tell them that you have something important to share, and that it cannot wait as it’s about being bullied.
Another important lesson I learned recently is that I OWN MY BODY. My body belongs to me: not my friends, not bae, not people around me. Walking from school the other day, a guy called me sexy and said I was his type. I didn’t like it because it was making comments about my body, and that’s not nice. I explained to him that it made me feel uncomfortable. If this happens to you, and you are afraid to tell them to stop, just keep walking. And if they try to follow you, go to a house or shop, and call someone who can walk with you, like your brother or sister.
It is important that you sound confident when you speak up, so that you are taken seriously. You can do this by making eye contact when you talk, standing up tall and keeping your head up high also do not let anyone interrupt you. This way your point is clear. Sometimes things are more complicated than that. Maybe a friend or family member keeps making hurtful comments about your body; calling you bones or making fun of your jean size. Jokes are only funny when we’re all laughing, not when someone is getting hurt. Speak to them and make them understand how it makes you feel.
And if someone touches you without your permission? You are allowed to say no, when someone is trying to harm you, even if it’s an adult or someone you know. Speak clearly and calmly, and be brave, if you feel safe to do so remove yourself from this situation. Never feel guilty about trying to protect yourself or pressured to do something you are not comfortable with.
Your body, your rules. Own it!