It's no secret women are often subjected to unrealistic expectations when it comes to physical appearance. Actress Rumer Willis knows this all too well, and now she's speaking out.
In a powerful recent essay in Glamour, Willis opened up about her struggle with body image, being bullied and dealing with insecurities while in the public eye:
"I was constantly bullied because of my looks, so I struggled a lot with my body image. I wanted to have no butt; I wanted to have no boobs. For a long time I just wanted to look tiny and androgynous."
That struggle to be comfortable in one's own skin is something that everyone can relate to. According to a 2004 research study conducted by Dove Research, only four percent of women around the world considered themselves beautiful.
In 2015, the pressures haven't disappeared, and social media outlets have created an accessible platform for women everywhere to be further subjected to body shaming and held to narrow standards of beauty.
Willis has been in the spotlight her whole life, subjected to innumerable pairs of eyes, critique and online scrutiny.
But in a poignant turn, she decided to open up about her past insecurities, and take back her story.
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Her history of being bullied translated in the boom of social media where users had access to body shame Willis via the internet.
Internet users who harshly bully others, popularly known as "trolling," perhaps have the will by remaining somewhat invisible and dissociated from their victims.
Willis has often been on the receiving end of this practice, she revealed.
"The real pressure comes from the Internet and social media—the mentality that it's OK to attack people from behind a computer screen... Until recently the thought of making one misstep that could be criticized would stop me from trying new things and from standing up for myself."
But things have changed.
"I feel like I have a voice for the first time and that I can say, 'This is who I am, and this is what I’ve gone through.'"
With the help of her sisters, Scout and Tallulah, she was able to embark on a new journey with Dancing With The Stars but most importantly, a new journey to herself.
"Seeing my younger sisters be brave also inspired me: Scout is so unbelievably strong and opinionated, and she sticks to her convictions. And the way Tallulah was so honest and owned her situation when she went to rehab was amazing."
She gained a new perspective. And it's empowering.
Willis won the 20th season of Dancing With The Stars. She impressed the judges and viewers alike.
The biggest breakthrough perhaps, was that she impressed herself.
"That feeling is completely new for me. When you don't think you can do something, you have so much self-doubt—but then when you not only do it but do it well, you start believing in yourself. You feel unstoppable, like, OK, well, what else did I think I couldn't do that I can?"
With Willis' new perspective, she expressed having more confidence to tackle new adventures. But with the outpouring of support and even praise she's received from her win, it did not however, end the bullying.
Willis now works to not dwell on the negative comments but instead "shift" her thinking towards things that are more positive. It's a strategy that we can all employ.
Her closing message is right on point.
"What it comes down to is this: We all need to stop bullying ourselves and being cruel to other women. Attacking one another instead of supporting one another has become the norm. Life's hard enough as it is. Let's find strength in the fact that we're different and unique.
Let's allow ourselves to say, 'These are my flaws, but I'm still beautiful.'"
Read the full essay on Glamour here.
Cover image via Jason Merritt / Getty Images.