A Love Letter

Dear Teenage Girls of North America, (and elsewhere as well, although I have not really witnesses you all that much)

I won't lie, half the time I dismiss you and your youth as foolish and immature, but I must realize that is the way you are meant to be. Please, hold on to that foolishness. It will keep you happy, and that is more important than losing weight or final exams. As the world looks at crisis elsewhere, we forget about the murder here at home, the murder of your soul.

This is my letter to you all, that maybe sometime you will read when you are crying and feeling alone. Or maybe you won't. Maybe you'll forget about this, but you are reading this now, and I hope you believe me when I say I love you.

I love everything about you, teenage girls. Oh sure, you annoy me when you mess up my piles at work and listen to terrible music, but my heart will move beyond that. I see what the media is doing to you, and baby, it ain't right. You deserve more than to be thrown into the world with blue eyeshadow and a training bra. Stop buying things that undermine your intelligence. I know you, and I know that you're smart, so girls, why are you hiding it? Why do you give your money to places that will only ever make you feel like less than Kate Moss?

I'm not denying clothes are fun, and the objectification of women is seen in a lot of prominent brands, but girls, you have to realize that. You can't stop thinking because they tell you to. Even if you continue to support them economically, keep in mind that the big lipped tiny hipped models you see on their walls are just shadows of things that will never be as beautiful and mature as the amazing teacher, or neuroscientist, or astronot, or even stay at home mom as you will be. Don't look at lies and mistake it for truth. You are so beautiful the way you are, and I'm begging you to stay that way.

I've been there, trust me, it's a hard phase for everyone. Crouched over the toilet with a sweaty brow, begging God or whoever to make you thin. Even if you try to pretend you don't care about Paris Hilton, why does she get all the attention when you and your exceptional swimming skills, or writing, or frisbee throwing, or whatever you do best is ignored? Why do guys go for the one who puts out when everyone is busy snarking at teen mothers and screaming that Jesus wants you to keep your clothes on. Why can't you think of anything but sex, but why aren't you allowed to enjoy the thought of it?

This relationship has got to end now. Please, demand something smarter from your media. Keep rocking those beat up Converse and whatever else Miley Cyrus says is in style, but don't be blind about it. I know it's hard breaking up baby, but some things have got to be done.

I'm tired of seeing you all hate on female celebrities that are 'has been' products of what the media once declared good. Yes, Britney is " a trainwreck" now, but wasn't she perfect at the time?
I'm tired of this I need to lose 5 pounds nonsense. Are you at risk for heart disease or do you have wide hip bones, bones that no matter how much you diet will always be there, until they shatter due to lack of nutrients.
I'm tired of you letting magazines use and abuse you, as they try to push you into a "healthy lifestyle" as they show rap artists that call women hos and twenty one year old with the bodies of twelve year olds in the pages that follow.

Darlings, the media will never love you, but I always will.
Stay strong, girls. I know you're the future's only hope. I may not make much sense when I rant, but I'll rant for you anyways until people listen.

Always,
Mary

UPDATE: September 3rd.
Thank you for everyone and their overwhelming support and feedback.
I will now include some other things I have done re: body images for this blog, for those bad days.
On Having a Waist
Body Image Vlogging

63 comments:

megan said...

thank you so much for that. and i actually believe you because when seventeen tells it to me, i'm like "yeah right. and i see this in your magazine how, exactly?" you are very wise, you know that? very legit, if you don't laugh when i say that. i will try to come back to that often. i am linking you, of course. because you seem so fabulous.

Sammie said...

I'm going to be a sophmore, my second year of highschool.

I loved that letter, and I feel that the majority of teenage girls in this day in age need to see and understand it.

Day said...

That is so true. You are amazing. Write a book, I'd be the first in line. (:

m.elizabeth said...

Mary, you are fabulous. I enjoyed that immensely, and however sad it is that things like that have to be said because of the state of our teenage world, that was .. eloquent and well deserving. you're inpirational, i wish every teenage girl who needs to see that would right at this moment and may actually remember it instead of returning to their internet browsing for whatever it is they do. fabulosity, is you.

Anonymous said...

hahah....its
B.....your short side kick....
ummm. first off, Your letter was amazing. Thank you so much for that. Even if at times I have trouble believing it, I thought it was so helpful and motivating.
I Love you mary.
So dont worry about me....I AM HAPPY. and things are so much better today...but if you want to know what happened
my dad came home really late tuesday night...like midnight, he has been on a boating trip all day. So he tells me to get off the computer and I say I will in a minute. And then he goes upstairs and tells my sister to get off the phone. She says " I will in 10 minutes dad, I am talking to todd, he's sick, I dont have to wake up for anything tomorrow" seems like not that big of a deal...but then out of no where he goes insane and is slamming doors and breaking bottles(he frikken broke the aspring bottle, and asprin went everywhere, and of course I get the worst head ache ever today and have no asprin)...and he was yelling at me and my sister(mainly my sister cuz I am not gonna lie, he likes me better). He was saying how we never listen to him and he could just move out and sent us money and we would be fine, and we are ignorant......blah blah blah...and then he says he wants my 13 year old sister out...weird...and she was crying a lot, and I was crying a lot...so my brother drove me and my sister over to my sisters friends house at about 1 AM...and we stayed there for the night.
It was pretty bad...but its fine now.
my dad wasnt drinking or anything either....he was just...REALLY angry....and I dunno...he is super stressed with work and stuff....so that may have contributed to it.
Anyway, he is really actually quite a wonderful man, and I love him so much, and was so surprised he was acting this way which is why I was so upset....but he apologized...and its all ok now....I have a pretty crazy family,but my parents would never do anything to hurt me in anyway....I guess, that night was just an exception and a lot of things were contributing to it.

-I hope you know who this is from....if not....this may be awkward.

Anonymous said...

I didnt mean to type a book...maybe I should have e-mailed this to you...sorry!

Betsey said...

mary, this is quite wonderful
thanks so so much for posting this!

Emily said...

Thanks for the comment about my writing! I do it quite often which is why I suppose it sounds... pleasant? Also, I try to write EXACTLY the way I would say it as if I were talking. And about the accessorizing, I wasn't really creating outfits, just playing with pieces.

By the way, I LOVE your blog very much!

Arabelle said...

you are my inspiration.

Anne Marie said...

Mary, you really know how to project yourself. it seems like you have it all together and know which way your future is going. it's sooo amazing that you care enough to write all of this. You SEE/read/hear about all the nastiness teenage girls go through. and i feel like you want to make it better. keep doing what you're doing. and thank you for the comment on my blog.

Rosie said...

That was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.
-Rosie

MakiMaki Vintage said...

i'm terribly flattered that such an eloquent and stylish 18yr old would be inspired by me.
the admiration is mutual.
xo
noelle

riley said...

i've struggled with an eating disorder for the past few months. i'm always thinking... gotta be skinny like ali michaels, gotta have perfect skin, gotta do this, gotta do that. thank you for this letter for bringing me down to earth and helping me realize that i should take a stand against the media and how they effect my life.

Dara said...

Wonderful timing as I needed to hear this. You're really something special, you know that?

The Fashion Connection said...

Mary thank you for this, honestly. Im going into my sophmore year of highschool and this means the world to me. I've had eating problems before, I've had that "5 more pounds to lose" and fasting stage, and it was far from pleasurable. I've compared myself to other girls to the point where I felt worthless. But people like you make me realize that I am me, Ashley, and I can only be the best me possible. I'm learning to love my body, love my face and my soul, day by day. Things like this make it easier, reading things like this makes me happy. thank you

Anonymous said...

that was beautiful

this wheel's on fire said...

mary, that was really beautiful! i agree with everything you just said/typed.
why is it that we can easily see the beauty in others, but rarely in ourselves?
i don't know if you know any more than i do, but let's all stay strong for each other!
by the way, if you ever question it (and who doesn't?), you are truly beautiful!! <3

Nay'Chelle said...

Amazing letter. I actually find myself thinking things like this more and more often.

Umm...you're basically an amazingly inspiraiotnal person.

Anonymous said...

that meant so much to me. Keep being fabulous mary!

Anonymous said...

this touched me, i've been struggling to see things from this point of view forever - and i know letter won't change that but it's a start. No one really knows my secret suffering or the undescribable loneliness and hurt I try to keep at bay on a daily basis - oh god, i'm tearing up now. No one knows how many hours i spent in front of the mirror, or tearing apart my closet for just one outfit that didn't make me feel like the giant tub of lard i so obviously am. It's a long road from the black hole that i've been lost in for the past 14 years, but i'm confident that one day i will be able to see the sun.
-artsTHErevolution

lechicgarçon said...

simply divine, mary :]

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

what a wonderfully insightful post....just one tiny thing that threw me at the very beginning. you wrote 'i won't lie, have the time' instead of 'half the time.' this was well thought-out, reflective nad inspiring...thank you!

Jackie said...

That letter was wonderful.
I see all this stuff in the media and I have to admit, part of the time, I'm buying it.

I don't think anyone will ever be able to expel this notion from the world, but I really hope it'll turn around some day.

zo said...

i always say to myself "those models do not genuinely look like that." but i do find myself trying to perfect myself so much that i loose sight of who i am
and thankyou! that was really cool
(i dont know you) but i think its safe to say i love you to blogger girl!
lol (:

caitlyn said...

well said :)
thanks

Lauren said...

word.

You have a gift for writing, and I'm so happy that you addressed everything you did in that letter. You are a really cool person, from what I can tell, and I love your blog :]

Stararah said...

I love you, Mary!

I will certainly read this any time I'm feeling low.

Ana said...

Mary that was amazing.
I dont know what to say.

CoutureCarrie said...

Very sweet! I love this rant :)

Mango Juice said...

this really means a lot- not just to me but to everyone who reads it. thank you so, so much!

Ida said...

Okay, Mary, I love you.

And as lost for words as I am right now, I can only say that I wish that someone more "powerful" would simply publish that "letter" and give it the voice that it deserve to have. Because you and your writing are larger than life.

P.S. Please don't worry about the headband, take your time and don't forget to enjoy summer. I know you are not its biggest fan but August is so beautiful, so very very beautiful.

xoxo

Farren said...

i wish i had read this letter when i was 15 or 16 and crouching over the toilet. it wasted such a small bit of my life, but a bit nonetheless. and everything you say is true. i get angry when i see girls being manipulated into starved sex machines worth only their virginity and the destruction of their innocence. it just isn't fair. at all. and yet i still buy into it. wishing to be smaller. thinner. because of course that equates happiness, right? at least that is what the media tells me. and other women who have bought into the system. and myself. i tell myself that. but no more! i can't expect my two younger sisters to not fall into this trap if i do. thank you for this mary! you are truly an amazing person. =)

jess said...

that was a great post

beverley said...

this was BEAUTIFUL!

Anna Pope said...

Thank you so much for this.

Isabel said...

That gave me sniffles.

Sara at On Simplicity said...

Thank you so much. I work with pre-teen girls and see how happy and open they are at that stage.

I do what I can to extend that period of their lives as long as possible and let them know that there are alternatives to becoming pale versions of themselves.

Anonymous said...

So true, thank you for making me feel a little better about not counting calories today. :)

discotrash said...

I'm going to post a link to this on my blog. I hope that's okay. Its gorgeous. And I'm 29 BTW

Anonymous said...

this brought me to tears because this is what i've always wanted to be told. i'm now 19 and have been suffering with anorexia for at least 4 years now and if someone ever told me anything like this, it might have changed things. i wish i had the soul and thinking you posses but knowing that this little blog/post could change someone's life before anything goes too wrong is enough for me. thank you so much for this.

Eliza Ray said...

Thank you so much for writing this. It's absolutely beautiful. If you don't mind I think I might even put it into my blog...

I'm 17, and I've been struggling with an eating disorder for years now, and whenever I seem to be doing better it always comes back up. I'm about to leave home for the first time to go to college, and I know it's going to be a huge struggle for me to keep pushing. But this letter is absolutely beautiful, and I think I'll print it out and put it on my dorm wall, so long as that's alright with you.

Thank you so much, and God bless.

+ Lou + said...

That is beautiful. I hope so many girls read that. I nearly cried. Thank you.

hazel said...

this letter is so cool, and as a teenage girl, i learn to appreciate it even though i don't worship miley cyrus or like MTV.

Sahel said...

thank you.

Reggie said...

not only did that make me cry
but it made me love u with my whole entire heart and want to give u a HUGE hug and just tell u my whole life story.

That was EXTREMLEY touching, and i can relate to every single thing in there...100%

You're amazingly eloquent and such an awesome girl, you're offically one of my biggest role models even though i've never met you...

that was amazing, and im pretty sure i'm going to read it every single day from now on

xxoo,
reggie

p.s. srry if that was abit over whelming :)

zoe. said...

Thank you. That was really moving and I can relate to everything you said. It was really emotional and I think a lot of teenage girls need to read this to find themselves and be true to themselves. You made me think about how important it is to be yourself and also the importance of not aspiring to be a size zero model with a huge bank account but aspiring to be your like your mum, your teachers, you, real people. I will love you forever even though I dont know you and you dont know me.

Hayley said...

that was, like, the most amazing thing i've ever read. especially now, when i'm in a really self-conscious stage. i'm going to save this and read it whenever i feel bad. thank you so much.

La Belle said...

this is one of the most wonderful things that i have read. i really needed it, because right now i am going through middle school, and i have to wake up at 6:30 just to get ready when school starts at eight. and i am always thinking "why can't i have legs like hers?" so thanks. this is the thing that got me through a few nights.

Princess said...

thanks. right now i am in middleschool and my friends are all not eating and stuff. so i showed this to them.

baliKID said...

who the FLIP cares about these comments, man.. Your brave and suave and cool, and I LOVE your blog. I also have quite a problem with the body image..

L.P. said...

those mean anonymous posters make me want to cry. Some bloggers get negative comments with actually merit because they have done something slightly offensive within a post, but NEVER HAIL MARY! :(((

Arabelle said...

wow 4chan, anon is anonymously dickish. gtfo.

Tavi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peaches said...

just like to add how 4chaners should consider getting hit by a bus. :D

AFitz said...

Just commenting to say that I am team mary. 4channers may think they rule the internetz, but they fail out inthe real world. Quick, all those anonymous commenters, how many of your friends have you met in real life?

Anonymous said...

wtf 4chan, you can't even be funny when you troll anymore? gtfo.

Shelby said...

I just got an email from someone letting me know that someone has posted pictures of my on 4chan. the comments were awful and I am not quite sure how to feel, the worst part is it confirms the many things that I already felt about my figure. I didn't even know that that website exsisted. I am very hurt and understand how you must feel. The person who sent me the email said she found the link featuring me on this blog posting. I feel like I am in high school again. I hope no one else has to be put in this position. Thank you for your wonderful letter, Mary. It makes me feel a little better. But I have to admit, I am really considering disabling my blog. It is really hard to read comments like that. I'm glad that you can keep going and that you are a strong young woman. Thanks again, for your inspirational letter, it really helps.

Anonymous said...

thank you, i really do want to believe it.

Anonymous said...

Right on sister! As long as your healthy, curves are a beautiful thing. Out with the twigs, and in with the real women. I'm sick of feeling bad about my body. Thanks for the letter. Its refereshing to read something like that.

Lots of love,
Meg

Wormy Eyelid said...

I wish I could blame my eating disorder on the media, but inside I know it's all my own fault.

Thanks anyway, I'm sure you've helped the curable ones...

Wormy Eyelid said...

I wish I could blame my eating disorder on the media, but inside I know it's all my own fault.

Thanks anyway, I'm sure you've helped the curable ones...

Anonymous said...

hi!!! my name is mary too.. evry opportunity i see a site with my name on it i click into it.. i didnt expect this.. but i have to say for me being a 13 yr old, im very moved.. i even got teary eyed.. haha i can relate a 100% to this.. im struggling with my weight at the moment and over weight for my age and i serisously need to loose weight.. and i have a low self asteem and u brought it up a few notches.. thank u so much for the letter.. i posted ur link on my facebook profile so all my friends can see it... i hope theyll be as moved as i was when i read it...

Anonymous said...

hi!!! my name is mary too.. evry opportunity i see a site with my name on it i click into it.. i didnt expect this.. but i have to say for me being a 13 yr old, im very moved.. i even got teary eyed.. haha i can relate a 100% to this.. im struggling with my weight at the moment and over weight for my age and i serisously need to loose weight.. and i have a low self asteem and u brought it up a few notches.. thank u so much for the letter.. i posted ur link on my facebook profile so all my friends can see it... i hope theyll be as moved as i was when i read it...