May 21, 2013 by kholzhauer
Actually, less so about the boobs, but I liked the alliteration, so there it stands.
Today we’re talking about something that I think a lot of bloggers, especially the female type, end up writing about at some point: Body image. It’s a touchy topic, and one that I have a lot to say about. People may not agree with me, but I’m not a big name blogger with thousands of followers who needs to cater to an audience. I blog for fun, not for the money. So here goes.
That person on the left? That’s me earlier this week. The dirty bathroom mirror? Yeah, blog photo faux pas, but I ran out of windex and caring. And yes, that’s a basket of tampons. I’m a pre-menopausal woman. Sue me.
I think I look alright in this picture. In fact, I almost have abs, which is cool, but you know what? I seriously struggle with my body image. I fight to look in the mirror and feel anything other than frustration. And I know that this isn’t just a “me problem.” I know beautiful women of all shapes and sizes who struggle to see the good in themselves BEFORE they see the bad in themselves.
Now, this isn’t just me sitting on my butt behind a computer screen whining about wanting to get thin. I promise. I eat healthy meals. I work out regularly (though perhaps I should be doing more cardio.) This is more about me wondering why it’s so damn hard for me (and a lot of other people) to look in the mirror and see the good in themselves first. Not “I’d look awesome if I could lose the last 10” or “I wish I had bigger boobs” or even “I’m having a shitty hair day.” Why is it that we see all of those things before ever looking in the mirror and going “I’m a beautiful, strong important human being.” Why does the awesome get lost behind the frustration?
I really don’t have an answer. I wish I did, because it would save me a lot of heartache and angst. It doesn’t come from one source, either. Mainstream media plays a role for sure. And as the recent Abercrombie controversy reminds me, so does each and every store we shop at. And, in case we forget it, every single person on the planet play s a role. I mean who hasn’t seen some version of the picture to my left circulating around a social media site? And who hasn’t stumbled across a pinterest board filled with beautiful women with bodies that may be unattainable to the average jane? We are all responsible, each and every one of us, for our collective body image. But it’s easier not to take responsibility, to blame the media, the stores, etc than say”you know what, our self perception is fucked because every single one of us is involved in messing it up.”
To me, that’s the truth. From the women posting comments on photos of skinny women saying “ew, give her a cheeseburger” to curvy women asserting that “real women have curves.” From the store refusing to sell bigger than a size 8 to the girl refusing to shop in stores that sell her size because they’re for “fat people.” From the commenter who left this gem on a post on this blog “Also, you definitely should be wearing those heels. Guys like girls in heels, whether she is wobbling in them or not. And, ya know, to be fair, if someone really needs to cover up THAT much at this point, might as well stay home.” to the woman who decries someone for being less female, less woman, less feminist because she opts to wear heels and makeup. When a person looks in the mirror and thinks of themselves as somewhat less, we are all responsible.
Now, this isn’t to say I’m blaming all of your for my struggle to see the good in myself. But I do think that maybe, just maybe, it’d be easier if there was a collective positive body image instead of a collective body image to inspire to. It’d be easier if models who looked like you, like me, like 105-pound 6-foot-tall women, like 250-pound 5-foot all women all rocked the runways together. It’d be easier if magazines didn’t reduce us to the proportions of our bodies. But you know what? It’s been happening for years. Over the generations, we’ve been too big and too small. We’ve never been to perfect. Perfect doesn’t sell products.
So what can we do? Well, like I said, there’s no perfect solution. But we, the online community, can make an effort to get our shit together and celebrate all shapes and sizes. To encourage health and positivity, not a certain size, certain shape, certain look. We can love each other for our thunder thighs, our bubble butts, our bony ribs, our oversized pores, our short legs, long arms, crazy hair. We can make an effort to support and nurture all people. It doesn’t seem to happen much in the blog community. There seems to be a sort of unfilled divide between the plus size fashion bloggers and the skinny ones that I think should be filled. There’s an association with healthy living blogs and eating disorders that should be dissolved. Sometimes it’s an unfounded association, sometimes it’s not. Either way, eating healthy doesn’t have to be eating disordered.
We, as people, as women, need to take the body snark offline. We need to remember that it’s not just the media who is helping create a culture of aspiring to the perfect body rather than loving the one we’re blessed with Yes, blessed. As my boyfriend reminds me, whatever you’re stuck with, it could absolutely always be worse. I’ve got thighs I harp on, but I’ve got 2 working legs that carry me. I dream of a flat stomach, but I’ve got food on my table. We need to create a culture that celebrates what we have rather than aspiring to so much. Love the body, the stuff, the person you have now. And celebrate others. That simple. And yes, that difficult.
I’m going to have trouble remembering this. It’s why I’m writing it down now. I want this blog to serve as a reminder to myself when I’m beating myself up. I want it to serve as a reminder to others that they’re lucky, beautiful, and wonderful. Because seriously, we (especially women) are way too good at tearing each other down, and not nearly good enough at building each other back up. We are all more than our reflection.