Good Body, Bad Body

10:34 AM

How do we hate our bodies? Let me count the ways.

Throughout our lives women are taught so many ways to feel disgust with ourselves, to loathe the very skin we're in. Wrong hair, wrong thighs, wrong breasts. You know the drill. We have excelled at comparison and allowed that enormous green-eyed monster Jealousy into our hearts from a young age. We are praised for looking "nice", pulling a fab outfit together and most especially when we lose weight. 

Our weight is the yard stick with which our success is measured. We assess ourselves and others by our jeans size. If you flick through a fashion magazine chances are that you will be unable to purchase any of the items modeled therein. Those clothes just don't come in your size. So the message is one of aspiration. Maybe one day you will stop being a failure, lose the weight and finally get to wear that bikini with pride.

Until then, keep trying. And failing. And hating yourself.

I'm fat, she's fat, you're fat, he's fat.
Fat fat fattity fat. 
Fat is bad, thin is good.

Is it any wonder us curvy girls grow up secretly despising our thinner friends and siblings? 
(Although probably never as much as we despise ourselves.)

Recent statistics are telling us that the average size of women in the West is 14-16, i.e. "plus-size". So how is it that we are continuing to tell the majority that these bodies are bad? 

Why do we continue to accept this? 

image via Pinterest

There is a pretty impressive kickback against this Culture of Thin taking place within the body positive (bopo) world. I have enjoyed luxuriating in the lusciousness of supposed plus-size models lately and am filling my social media feeds with gorgeous women. Damn, they are fine! 

Doing so has had a really positive effect on my own body dysmorphia and body image battle, though who the hell knows if it will ever truly be won. I am still a human woman on this planet being pummeled by that same old message. Yet my heart feels a little lighter and some days I can really look at my body as if I'm seeing it for the first time. At times I'm liking my skin and my lumps and occasionally even the bags under my eyes. Occasionally.

Yet as I continue down this glorious rabbit hole of body positivity I have become aware of a glitch.
Not all bodies are accepted. 

It seems there are two camps. Big bodies and Little bodies. 

It has recently occurred to me what an enormous shame that is. Sure, those "skinny girls" have had waaaay more cultural representation than the rest of us but I bet every damn one of them is experiencing the same troubling body images. It's just not so visible as they seem to fit the norm and I think we need to cut them some slack. If we stop and really think about the cultural message to women at this time it is one of inferiority, across the board. So even if you achieve this skinny body you've been aiming for since you were 6, the chances are you will still feel like a failure because you also think the wrong things and have the wrong opinions, behave the wrong way. 

image via Pinterest

I am totally behind the push for a broader range of female bodies in the media but we need to normalise ALL of us.  As long as we are divided, distracted with infighting and complaining about each other we are distilling our power. Dehumanising and objectifying ourselves. 

And this welcome body positivity is still a message of value predicated on appearance. We still have a long way to go.
Let's face it, the best way to hold women back in the current political climate is to keep us fighting amongst ourselves. We must question our habitual criticism of others based on their appearance. We need to dig deeper, challenge ourselves, throw away the fucking scales and step up. 

It's only skin.

How about we all begin seeking other adjectives to describe ourselves and each other. No more fat, thin, skinny, curvy, pretty, ugly, boney, heavy. These words have been imposed upon us as alongside a false value system  we didn't sign up for and we need have no use for it.

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