Remember that awesome guest post from Kate about Cosmo, kink, and sexual honesty? She’s back! I’ve been writing about body image a lot lately, and how much I hate comments that begin with “real women have…” The bulk of this commentary is directed towards women with “less ideal” bodies, as if to make them feel better about themselves. Kate wrote a great response about how women who have traditionally “ideal” bodies still have good reason to resent the body scrutiny.
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I’m 5’6’’ and I weigh 130 pounds on a good day. I end up being a size 2 or 4, depending on where I shop, and I’ve been told I have the elusive combo of a flat stomach and sizable boobs. I like who I am physically. I feel that I am healthy and beautiful. All of these measures are, of course, subjective, and determined by where and when we live. A century ago, for example, I would probably not have been looked at in such a positive light, as my hips are pretty narrow–not good for child-bearing, you know.
These days, there’s a lot of awareness about how we need to have more realistic depictions in the media for girls (and boys) to look up to and I definitely agree. I think that many young adults have unreasonable visions of what they should look like as they’re growing up. I know I did. I felt my boobs were too big, or my thighs too wide, and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin until after college when I learned how to use clothes to accentuate the parts of me that I feel are the best.
Now that I’m older, and I’ve learned how to dress well and carry myself with confidence, I get a lot of comments about my figure. I get it at work, where people tell me to eat more. I get it at home, from my family, who say I’m too “skinny.” While some people might view those as compliments, or just jealousy, I don’t think it’s polite or even necessary. If I ever told somebody they were a little too chubby around their waistline or that they should eat less, that would be ridiculously inappropriate. Why is it okay because I’m a size 4? When I do try to dissuade comments of that sort, I’m told to either let it roll of my back, or be flattered.
Making comments about anyone’s body type is, in the long run, very against what we should be trying to accomplish as a culture. Our obsession with cementing the “you’re beautiful just the way you are” view needs to extend to everybody, not just those who don’t possess the “ideal” of the moment. I should be able to be just as proud of my physical appearance as somebody who has bigger hips or is taller or has some little love handles. And I should be able to just be who I am, no comments necessary, thanks.
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Related Post: Amber Rose, Media Takeout and “good thick” vs. “bad thick.”
Related Post: If we buy into this idea of “ideals” at all (which we don’t), they aren’t necessarily what you were expecting!