Margarita Tartakovsky, MS at  Weightless invited me to contribute some thoughts on creativity and body image.

Narrow definitions of what we should be severely limits what we could be.

In the same way that having a “perfect female body” doesn’t define living an amazing life,
having a “perfect artistic skill” doesn’t define creativity.

If you’ve ever stopped yourself from
having a wonderful day at the beach or going to a party or wearing something you love
because you don’t think you look good enough,
you know what I mean!

If you’ve ever stopped yourself from
painting, drawing, writing, gardening, building, playing an instrument, knitting, cooking, solving any sort of problem, etc.
because you don’t think your skills are good enough,
you also know what I mean.

I have been an art teacher for over 20 years.
I have known countless students who struggle with two negative ideas:
“I am not thin enough/pretty enough” and “I am not creative”.
These two ideas often seem to go hand-in-hand, evil twin thoughts that state:
” I don’t live up to what a woman should be.”
“I don’t live up to what an artist should be”.

By the time I meet my students,
they have often changed from strong, confident, and self-assured girls into timid and insecure young women.
Thousands of images of women, from cartoons to advertising, movies, magazines, games and TV
have taught them a very narrow idea of what it means to be a beautiful, worthy, acceptable, lovable, desirable woman.
It’s very easy to confuse feeling good about yourself with looking like a fashion model or media star!

By the time I meet my students,
they have often changed from eager 7-year olds who can’t wait to play with paints, crayons or clay
into timid creatures who are afraid to get it wrong.
Thousands of images of “Art” have also taught them a narrow idea of what it means to be creative:
a real artist is famous, has perfect technical skills and creates *insert picture of some famous artwork here*.
Its very easy to confuse being a famous artist with being creative!

Creativity, Positive Body Image and Self Esteem all work together.
Every single time you act strong, confident, proud and worthy,
you redefine your body image from what “should” be to what “could” be!

Every single time you try mixing this + that into something new,
you redefine your creativity from what “should” be to what “could” be!