Archives For Body Positivity

 

In some ways, it’s harder to hate your body when you’re thin than when you’re overweight.

Besides your own body negative narrative, you invite hate from others who think you are being an indulgent first world bitch.

 

I have always loved food. The taste of it; the experience of it; preparing it as an act of love. Sharing it with friends; digging into a holiday meal with family.

It’s sensuous and sublime and one of the great experiences in life.

Unfortunately, I was also an emotional eater as far back as childhood. Food was a replacement for love and attention.

 

I was a super skinny kid, before it was chic to be skinny. I had a big butt and a flat chest and  I hated my lopsided, pear-shaped body. I cried shopping for jeans that fit. If they fit around my waist, I couldn’t pull them up over my ass.

No boys ever liked me. In high school I was the smartest girl and I was in love with the smartest boy but he pined for a big-breasted girl with shiny hair and perfect skin.

 

 

In my 20’s I replaced a drug addiction with one to exercise. And so began my complex, deprived, unhappy relationship with food, exercise and my body. I worked out constantly and ate a very restricted diet. I was bone thin. My life revolved around the gym, sticking to my regimented way of eating, or bingeing as a reaction to it.

Every meal was a minefield.

A few years ago, I gave up exercise. I ate whatever the hell I wanted and gained a bunch of weight and was simultaneously miserable and ecstatic about it.

Breasts. I finally had them.
I could eat all the cake I wanted. I had much more time to do things I loved.
I looked in the mirror and LIKED what I saw. I only saw the voluptuousness, not the flaws. Breakthrough

Recently, I felt myself getting winded going up the stairs and knew I had to get fit. I didn’t want to drop dead of a heart attack before 50 like half the people in my family.

I’ve also been working two jobs and lost some weight as a result. Ironically, the combination of dropping a few pounds and going back to the gym has started the cycle of body hatred.

I don’t know why getting MORE fit and dropping some weight would make me despise my body to the point of not wanting to look in the mirror.

I just know that I choose growth and evolution of self.  I’m so many wonderful things, none of which matter because I look in the mirror to reflect my self worth and if that’s not being trapped in your own personal hell, I don’t know what is.

 

After I had my son, I was completely demoralized by the way my body looked. The physical perfection I had desperately and ineffectively sought was further away than ever. It wasn’t just that I had gained weight. I had transformed into an amorphous creature with baggy skin. It was terrifying – and I tormented myself to restore it to where it was before.

Almost 14 years later, that never happened. I know some women regain their gorgeous pre-baby bods. I don’t know whether it’s plastic surgery or Photoshop or round the clock private training but whatever it is, it’s irrelevant to me and the permanent kangaroo pouch I carry above my C-section scar.

 

 

I have had a volatile relationship with my body my entire life.

I’m closer now to a happy place with food than I’ve ever been. Those non-exercise, eat-everything years reminded me that life is too short to give up warm bread slathered with butter. Although I love the taste of healthy foods  – if I was a poet I’d write a sonnet extolling the magnificence of a perfectly ripe peach –  I’m in a committed relationship with cake.

And yet, I’m brainwashed by culture programming. If I have the perfect body, then I’ll have the perfect life. When you’re beautiful, people love you. We all want to be the beautiful people who everyone loves.

This is what is done to us. To all of us. It’s insidious and soul deep and reinforced every day, in every part of our lives. I’ve all but stopped reading my favorite writers online because I’m sick of being bombarded by The One Way To Finally Lose that Stubborn Belly Fat.

Just once I’d like to look in the mirror and see my body without cataloguing a litany of flaws.

I’m tired of being in a room full of people where the women all exclaim how beautiful each other is, while men greet each other with talk of work or family.

 

I don’t know how to change the narrative. I can’t tell you to start loving your bodies when I don’t love mine.

But there has to be a way to fight this, to reject the idea that we’re not beautiful unless someone tells us; unless our bodies are perfect – or even that physical beauty matters so much.

This is the prison women are in. It’s what that keeps us tethered to our own insecurities, too busy obsessing over our bodies to do the real work.

It’s why plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry and we don’t care if we die on the table from elective surgery as long as we die with big tits.

I will never understand the idea that women deserve admiration, above all other accomplishments,  simply because of the way they look.

 

I will tell this story, but I will not own it.

It is not mine. It’s not yours, either. This is because nobody ever told us the worth of our hearts and minds.

 

Body issues. Will this madness ever stop?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

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skinny shaming

Skinny Bitch.

I heard that most of my life. It’s called “skinny shaming.”

As part of the body positive movement, thin people, primarily women, are speaking out against being marginalized.

It is categorically wrong to make someone who is thin feel bad about it. To tell a thin woman that she looks ill, or that she should eat more, is unacceptable.

BODY SHAMING OF ANY TYPE IS UNACCEPTABLE.

What I object to, is the use of the word “shame” associated with being skinny or fit. In today’s society, there is ZERO shame associated with being thin.

I’m genetically predisposed to being slender. I was a skinny kid, and once I grew into adulthood, particularly after pregnancy changed my body and age slowed my metabolism, I worked out and ate a very body-conscious diet.

Throughout my entire life, from childhood on, I was teased, shamed and ostracized because I was thin.

People even admitted to me that they hated me at first, just because I was a size zero.

Now that I am average sized, I no longer get skinny shamed. But I am writing this from the perspective of someone who was disliked on sight, simply because I was very thin.

And skinny shaming is NOT the same as fat shaming. 

 

To clarify, I’m not talking about women who are thin because they are ill. I’m also not referring to people who cannot gain weight and would love to, for medical or aesthetic reasons.

I’m talking about the average thin woman. Women who may simply have a fast metabolism, or, as is the usual case with women who have either borne children or grown older, work out hard to maintain that body, or watch every mouthful of food, or both.

These are the women who enjoy “Thin Privilege.” Thin privilege is receiving elevated social status, workplace advantages, media attention, popularity with friends and dating partners, greater access to healthcare, association with positive traits like being hardworking, disciplined and responsible. And lots more.

 

In a video in which two fitness vloggers discuss being shamed for being thin and fit, Bex says to Amanda Russell,

“I don’t set out to represent the average women. Ever. And I don’t think you do, either. I think that we’re trying to represent the extraordinary woman.”

THAT RIGHT THERE. Thin Privilege, captured on YouTube. Thin women are in an exalted place in society, and make no mistake about it – they love it.

 

When I was skinny shamed, I felt under attack. But I never wrote about it as an issue, because I was not comfortable complaining from my throne of entitlement.

We ALL have the right to feel how we feel about being body shamed, and to write about it. It hurts to be attacked for your body type. But I feel that airing grievances from a privileged position lacks compassion for those who suffer from brutal and pervasive oppression.

Yes. Weight discrimination is alive and well, and it is as damaging as racial discrimination.

 

SKINNY SHAMING VS FAT SHAMING

1. Thin people are not outcasts in society for having slim bodies. Not now, not ever. In fact, they’re the envy of every person in the room. Fat people have to work extra hard to be accepted, because they are targeted or ignored. This is a documented issue, even globally, in countries where it was once thought that to be bigger was desirable.

2. Thin people do not get discriminated against in the job market. A Yale study published in the National Journal of Obesity showed that those who are overweight earn less than non-overweight people in comparable positions, are less likely to be hired or considered for a promotion, and are often viewed as lazy or lacking in self-discipline by employers and coworkers

3. Thin people do not have nearly as much difficulty finding lovers and spouses. Every single online dating service I’ve been on, men request that the women be trim and fit – even overweight men whose pictures show that they would have to lift their stomachs up just for me to find their penises. Overweight people have more trouble finding romantic partners, and are less likely to date and get married than their thinner counterparts.

4. Thin people don’t have trouble buying clothes. Fashion ruthlessly discriminates against bigger people. In an interview for Business Insider, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch came right out and said he doesn’t even stock extra large sizes in women’s clothing because he only “wants thin and beautiful people” wearing his clothing.

These are just a sampling of the differences.

 

Perhaps to write about being “skinny shamed” is a way of creating solidarity with overweight people on the other end of the spectrum. A way to say, “See? I get shamed for MY body size, too.” I appreciate this, because all body shaming is wrong. And unity, rather than divisiveness, particularly among women, can ultimately create change.

Unfortunately, this is not always the motivation. In a well known “skinny shaming” essay by author and journalist Emma Woolf, she says, “I’m fed up with being judged for being physically disciplined, for being careful about what I eat, and for exercising regularly.”

THERE IS THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM. Her implication that bigger people are UNdisciplined, careLESS about what they eat, and DON’T exercise regularly. This is a dangerous mindset, and at the root of thin privilege.

I’ve been skinny. I’ve been average weight. I was intensely attracted to, and married, a man who is overweight.

I believe in being empowered by your body, AT ANY SIZE.

 

Sometimes, when I write these articles, I wonder if any of it matters. Because the people who already agree with me will share and comment. I hope someone who was of a different opinion, even ONE person, reads this and feels that they were perhaps enlightened about something they hadn’t thought of before.

That’s how we end oppression.

One person at a time.

 

Have you ever been body shamed in any way?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

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