I've seen the harm that a negative body image can do to a person, and have some close friends who are some of the most beautiful women I know, but because they were told otherwise, can't see it in themselves. The saddest thing is that it doesn't just come from society or some asshat clothing store owner. It comes from those closest to them, either on purpose or indirectly (http://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2013-06-when-your-mother-says-shes-fat). I can think of few things that make me angrier than someone hating themselves because someone who should be their biggest supporter has made them feel like less of a person because of their looks.
I don't fall into society's definition of what I should look like, and I'm glad for it. I may not ever have a shirt fit me right, and I have long ago given up on finding pants that fit right. But, I know I am strong. Shoulders that are too big for the "in" shirts are able to help a friend move furniture, carry my child, and, if needed, move a washing machine by themselves (well, they need the help of the arms and hands, too). Legs that cause a disconnect in sizing can also run, jump, and swim. They let me be me, and help me do what I want to do. I'm not afraid of breaking a bone with a strong sneeze, because I know I am strong. But, strength is not seen as a positive trait in women. Because it makes them "big." Well, screw society and that view. I have learned that the only person I have to please is me. If someone chooses not to like me because I don't fit a size XS, then that person isn't worth my friendship anyway.
Yeah, I push the dog. What's it to ya?
I know that I am mentally strong enough to overcome the media's portrayal of what I should look like. And I am striving to do all I can to make sure Sophia will be also (http://hopeave.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/how-to-talk-to-your-daughter-about-her-body/). I want her to be comfortable in her own skin, whether she be a supermodel, a super geek, or a super sports star. I want her to know that she is not defined by the size of her clothes, but the size of her heart. I want her to know that strong women are a good thing, and to be a role model for her to follow, if that's what she wants. I want her to know that pasta is a gift from the gods, not a food to be avoided, and that bacon is a major food group. I want her to know the joys of playing outside, of knowing she can do things for herself, and of feeling the wind in her hair. I want her to feel comfortable in mismatched outfits or perfectly put together ones. I want her to know I love her unconditionally, curly hair or straight, pimples or no, 20 pounds or 200 pounds. Most of all, I want for her to be healthy, physically and emotionally, and love herself as much as I love herself.
(read the articles...they're good)