It’s sometimes hard for me to talk about this stuff without sounding like a ranting conspiracy theorist, or triggering very emotional discussions – which sometimes are frankly painful to watch as they unfold on the internet. There is/was a photo circulating around Facebook the other day (imagine that!) and the photo itself was very cool – featuring an attractive ‘plus sized’ model in a artistic nude. What was uncool was the giant, babbling caption someone had attached to it – which was probably meant to be a positive body statement, but – typically – contained a bit of a backhand to anyone who didn’t fit their particular feminine ideal. The other thing that drove me nuts about it – was the idea that weight gain is an eventuality and that we are all really “whales” not “mermaids”*. Sure, we are bombarded with images of impossibly thin (and weak looking if you ask me…) women – but this doesn’t mean that we have to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves. Seriously people, this is the internet version of that “friend” at work who subtly undermines your steps towards a healthy lifestyle. YOU know who I’m talking about, the hidden backhands, the phrases that cause you to question yourself and your progress… Forget that noise. What really drives me nuts are all the “real women are this” and “real women do that” phrases- on the surface it looks supportive, but there’s always a little backhand in there to someone who doesn’t fit whatever ideal or agenda supported in the phrase. By the common definition of pandering-milquetoast grocery store magazines**, my un-pc low percentage of body fat, disdain for frills, and lack of any desire to start a family, puts me so far out of mainstream media’s “real woman” status that it isn’t even funny. And it shouldn’t be that way – we’re all “real women” (except for the guys who read this page), regardless of our ages, life decisions, weight, etc. etc.
So, what are we to do?
- Let’s go out there and visibly BE strong healthy real women of all kinds.
- Create your own “feminine ideal” – and strive towards it. Here’s the thing – YOU have to do this yourself, it can be a fun process – my personal ideal is partially based on some fairly silly things. I challenge you to think about your own ideal – make a collage, or a journal entry, or maybe just keep it in your head – no one else has to even know about it! Don’t forget, there’s more to us than our bodies – celebrate your healthy lifestyle or your progress towards a healthy lifestyle. Be the best YOU that you can – because you’re setting an example – for your peers, your children, everyone with whom you come in contact.
Bottom Line: EVERYONE needs to accept, respect, and love themselves – that also includes taking care of oneself mentally, spiritually and PHYSICALLY. Respect yourself by not making excuses. Realize that there’s much more to you than some pop-psych catch phrase someone’s forwarded 9,000 times with a provocative picture and a bunch of smilies.
I was talking to Jen Sinkler of Experience Life Magazine (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) who told me about their Revolutionary Act project – I would go one step further in saying that being healthy is not only a revolutionary act, it can also be a feminist act.
*The “whale vs mermaid” thing on the caption really irked me as I don’t care to be either. I’ve decided that in the world of whoever wrote that lame caption I’m a SHARK! – this means I’m featured for a WHOLE WEEK on the Discovery Channel, I’m smart, fast, strong, and boy howdy do I like MEAT! Whoops! I see that there’s some blood in the water, I’ll see you later!
**A few of you know me from real life, and understand if I say things like “that’s a ‘Women’s Magazine’ diet” or “that’s a ‘Women’s Magazine’ idea” that I don’t mean its a good thing at all. There are exceptions of course, but in my experience most “women’s magazines” seem to perpetuate some harmful and degrading ideas that we all should have moved past years ago.
Here’s an image I put on Facebook last night – these are all items of clothing hanging in my closet right now – they all fit me – look at that range of numbers! YOU ARE NOT YOUR DRESS SIZE!!!