It’s time to change the way we think about women and weight in this culture. The entire fashion industry is built on the idea that being extremely thin is the gold standard. Our society literally encourages girls and women to starve in order to be considered attractive. Anything else is disappointing at best but more often disgusting and offensive.
I say NO MORE OF THIS MADNESS. All change starts with individuals, so I am no longer interested in allowing someone else to tell me what beauty looks like. I know for sure it’s not starving yourself so you can wear size 0 jeans.
What’s wrong with a nice, round tummy and thighs that jiggle a bit when you walk? This obsessive pursuit of a demanding beauty takes way too much of our collective mental energy and time, not to mention inciting a raging case of “not-good-enough-ism” in many women who are healthy and gorgeous at a size 12, 14 or 16 but feel gigantic and hideous because of the messaging in our unbalanced society.
I’ve been checking old movies out of the library on DVD to watch as a family, believing that classic cinema with its focus on character development and stellar writing can act as a balm for our cell-phone addicted, dumbed-down current media environment. Last week we watched Citizen Kane (okay, the first half of it before my attention wandered…not completely sure why this is AFI’s top movie of all time) and I was struck by the healthy appearance of the women dancing in one scene.
In 1941, apparently it was desirable and reasonable to have thighs bigger than delicate tree branches, gently flabby upper arms and soft bellies. It’s the polar opposite of what we see now on screen so it jumped out at me.
I’m determined to stop wishing for a flat stomach and perfectly toned arms and legs. It’s simply not worth it to me to put in that kind of time. But it’s not enough to make this decision – I also have to actively reassure myself that how my body looks is okay, DAMMIT. It’s more than okay. I’m strong and healthy and beautiful and thirty pounds over my doctor’s weight and I’m completely over feeling like shit about it.
A lot of this relates to the undercurrent of sexism still very present in our modern world. Most fashion magazines are not aimed at men. The expectation that women have to be beautiful, thin, expertly made-up at all times with their hair bouncy and freshly coloured at a salon is real and pervasive. And you better have a strong sense of self-esteem to go out of the house in anything other than a carefully-designed outfit because in sweat pants you run the risk of feeling marked, lazy and judged.
I really think it’s time for us to stand up against this tyranny. Nobody gets to make us feel inferior without our consent. I thought our cultural beauty standards didn’t bother me but it turns out that they really, really, really do. I’m going to work on actively loving myself through this by reassuring my own rounded body that I’m okay, exactly as I am.
My daughter just turned 14 and is pursuing a career in acting. The pressure to be so tiny that you almost fade out of existence is immense, but I want her to be confident in the body she has and the unique beauty that she possesses. The best way for me to help her love herself and refuse to compare herself to others is to walk this out in front of her.
Who’s with me?