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Friday, June 22, 2012

528

Be Less Crazy About Your Body ... For the Children

Megan Dietz, a particularly sage Lady, pageant star, and mermaid hero, has written a book, and here's how it starts (and here's where to buy it). She's also available to take any and all questions.

Do you ever feel crazy about your body? Like sometimes you can’t think a clear thought about it? Like deep down you might be an irredeemable freak and it’s only a matter of time till everyone finds out?

If you are anything like every woman I know, the answer is yes. A quiet, I-can’t-even-believe-I-am-admitting-this yes.

The reason we don’t like to admit it is that in our minds we are kick-ass 21st-century feminists who have evolved past all that superficial Betty Draper bullshit. We know that our value comes not from what we look like, but from the fact that we are capable, intelligent, and unique human beings. We liberated women of the modern world are brand new creatures in the stream of history, with powers and options that our midcentury moms and grandmas couldn’t even dream of.

All of which is true! (Hooray!!!!) But we also need to remember that Betty Draper was the ideal woman only 50 years ago. One or maybe two generations. Subtract out showers and sleeping, and that was practically last week. Our freedoms have flowered in a breathtakingly short amount of time.

Meanwhile, the culture that tells women our primary value is in our physical bodies is older than dirt. Centuries and centuries old. So it’s not like it just went poof as soon as we got The Pill. It’s all still in us … it just went underground, and its best protection lies in the fact that we don’t want to cop to it. We don’t want to think that way anymore. But we still kinda do.

How do I know this? I use my eyes! To look around! And I see children with descriptors like “hot” and “juicy” emblazoned on their butts. Young women taking part in a sad, unfulfilling hookup culture even though it doesn’t seem at all fun. More and more completely fine-looking people opting to cut into their flesh in a mad grasp at perfection that generally falls grotesquely short.

All of this is fueled by a strange mixture of narcissism and self-hatred, forged by a media culture whose inherent message is You are what you look like. Before we even know what’s going on, we learn to disembody our perspectives. We start looking at ourselves from the outside in. We begin to evaluate ourselves based on how we think others will respond. 

I remember being 7 or 8 years old and wondering why no one had tried to molest me yet. Was it because I was fat? My tiny brain toiled to figure it out. I didn’t even know what molesting WAS, but I already knew that my body was supposed to elicit some kind of reaction in other people — that’s what it was FOR — and if that didn’t happen, there must be something wrong with it. And me.

Some variation of this happens to all of us. As soon as we’re cognitively able, we start learning the rules of what we are supposed to be. Which are, incidentally, impossible for any one human body to follow.

As Tina Fey so hilariously/depressingly put it in Bossypants: “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.” Blergh.

To me, the saddest part of all this is the way we get used to looking at people — including ourselves — not as human beings with intrinsic agency and value, but as walking lists of attributes to be leveraged or de-emphasized.

We even learn to bond with each other through poor body image: Ugh, my belly is so gross. Whatever, at least you don’t have these bingo wings! Girls, girls, don’t fight — you’re both revolting! 

Obviously, none of this is rational or evolved. Obviously it is just plain crazy. And we feel like we should be beyond this already, so it’s shameful, too. Which means that black humor is the closest we get to talking about it.

We don’t WANT to be like this, and we certainly don’t want to pass it on to our kids. And yet, we do.

Why? Because we’ve been infiltrated. The patriarchy is coming from inside our heads.

For instance: one afternoon not too long ago, I was hanging out with my friend and her super adorable, totally nommable sweet little baby, who was maybe 6 weeks old. We got a little wistful, as ladies sometimes will when small babies are present, and my friend began to share her hopes for the little one's future. Happiness ... fulfillment ... the chance to figure out what she wants and the courage to go get it. All good stuff.

And then: "I know one thing for sure ... I'm never going to let her get fat."

And, oh! My heart, how it shattered! Not only for the wee one, but also for her mom, and for all of us. Because, sweet merciful Jesus, this world has made us ALL SO EFFING CRAZY!!

And it’s not like my friend is dumb or vapid or living in the past. She is smart and awesome! And yet, this pernicious craziness persists. Her baby was six weeks old and already it was revving up!

Poor all of us! We’ve been soaking in it forever.

This particular moment is frozen in my mind because I realized I was witnessing with my own eyes in real time the very mechanism by which our insanity is passed along to the next generation: Pure osmosis. Our own craziness leaks into their little souls day by day, moment by moment, comment by unintentionally awful comment.

As sure as the sun rises every morning, whatever lives inside our brains will take up residence in theirs. Just like our parents’ craziness lives on in us.

And let me say right now that I don’t blame our parents for this. Also, I don’t blame US for being crazy, and I don’t blame hot air for rising while cold air descends. This is just how things work — it’s science! Whatever we are, that’s what will flow out of us; that’s what we will create. Which means the only way to have a less crazy world is to be less crazy!

Isn't it terrifying to realize that?

And, once you regain the ability to breathe, isn't it also super empowering? Because it means that we have the power to eradicate body insanity in our species forevermore! All we have to do is become more sane!

Haha so easy right? DONE.

OK, no. There is a bit more to it, like recognizing the crazy B in your head and understanding that what she says is not gospel. Standing a little stronger on your feet so that the winds of nastiness don’t blow you around so much. Training your eyes on a prize more meaningful than mere societally sanctioned hotness.

Because, seriously, how much more of our precious lives are we going to waste being upset about made up things like cankles? Are you as tired of it as I am? Don't we have vastly more important things to worry about?

Imagine the IMMENSE energy and power that would be released in the world if we all stopped pouring our juice down the body image black hole. Cancer, hunger, climate change, and the economy would all be sorted by the end of the day!

Joking, sure, yes. But also not. We have more pressing concerns, my loves! It is time to get over it! Not just for ourselves, but for all the wee nippers coming up, trying to learn to stand on their own two feet in a wobbly world.

Let me ask you this: 40 years from now, when you and I are rad old ladies cruising around the solar system in extravagant glowy caftans, do you want to hear girls asking Does this jetpack make me look fat? I swear to Mars, I will fucking lose it. I will flip over a table and terrify everyone with my freakish oldster strength. Hold me back!

Enough is enough! I want better for the girls of the future! I want them to live in the clear light of glorious, radiant sanity. To be free to do what they want, unencumbered by the craziness of the past. To experience their bodies as nothing more or less than what they truly are: mind-blowingly cool vehicles for creating and drinking up awesomeness in this world.

In fact, I want all of that for ALL of us. Right now! Limitless possibility made possible by our amazing bodies! For us and for all forthcoming babies!

Do you want that, too? Really? I am so glad. Because I believe we can work together to get it.

THE SANITY BEGINS TODAY.

Be Less Crazy About Your Body is a website, and a 50-page, $2.99 book. Do you ever feel kind of crazy about something and you know it's crazy and you want to stop but you're not sure how? Ask Megan anything.



528 Comments / Post A Comment

Megasus

You know that jetpack will probably have a weight threshold.

jhonsons

this one is still wonderful@j

redheaded&crazy

i've been feeling weird about my body lately because of this guy i'm seeing who has i guess 0% body fat. it makes me feel self-conscious about not having 0% body fat. or like, not having the least amount of fat that is possible for a lady to have, taking into account the usual womanly deposits.

not that he's said anything or implied anything or looked askance at anything. ya know? it's all in my head? mostly in my head? my head is being crazy.

hands_down

@redheaded&crazie I say this as a fat girl who has long had a preference for very skinny boys AND has major anxiety over how I look, but I try to think, well, they want to be with me and see me naked, so I'm going to assume they like how I look until I'm explicitly told otherwise. It's all the other interactions in life that drive me crazy (do I not have more friends because people think I'm too fat? would I get ahead in my job if I was less fat?), but I try not to worry about the guys I have naked time with.

madge

@redheaded&crazie aw! honey! that's 100% in your head! in fact, i bet that 0% dude finds the contrast between his 0% and your more than that % super hot! i bet some part of you does, too?

your head should know: very few females have a 0% body fat percentage. in fact, almost none? the average is 25-30%%

next steps: flag this message as spam in your mental inbox, then go do something else. repeat as necessary!

also: <3

write to me more in depth for a more in depth answer :)

JadedStone

@redheaded&crazie I have a scale that tells you your body fat.

I am 71% fat!

SEVENTY ONE! IT'S HILARIOUS. Honestly, if I was a ham? I would be eaten TOTALLY first! bahahahahahahaha

This is the way I honestly think. I look at skinny girls and think 'pfft. if she was a turkey she'd still be in the freezer after thanksgiving'

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie I've had this thing, too. Also the "fat" (bleh) girl trying to date skinny boys thing. It's made even worse when the guy wears women's jeans (although obviously this fact should have made him undateable from the outset, in retrospect) and he starts talking about how he wears a size X (which is 2-3 sizes smaller than size Y, which you wear) and then evinces shock and disbelief when you say that you wear size Y because that is soooo huuuuge and only faaaat people wear that size, even though he obviously does not think you are fat. Even though he's already seen you naked and been pleased by the sight, etc. Sigh. We all carry so much stupid baggage about these things.

TheDragon

@redheaded&crazie No, I get that. I am a tallish, rather slender girl with a pretty girly figure. That being said, I feel like a MAN if my guy is close to the same height or shorter than me, and I feel like I look short and fat if he is one of those super skinny guys. (Which is stupid, because those are the types I'm attracted to!)
Yeah my head is always crazy

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie 100% in your head! He wouldn't still be hanging out with you if he thought your bod was gross! Also your bod is not remotely gross.

Lizzy@twitter

@redheaded&crazie I know what you mean. My boyfriend is thin and athletic without even trying. But while I'm hating on my legs and tummy, he claims to be a big fan. So I just have to convince jerkbrain that he's not lying.

RK Fire

@Lizzy@twitter: "Jerkbrain" is the exact name for it.

mystique

@redheaded&crazie Um, a girl having 0% body fat means no tits, right? I mean...don't you like your tits? I bet he likes them.

The Lady of Shalott

@mystique For a girl to have 0% bodyfat would mean that she would be on the verge of death. Women need about 12% bodyfat at the VERY LOWEST, and 15-20% bodyfat is more common. And everyone has some fat--my boyfriend is in killer shape, works out twice a day and runs daily shape, and is about 6-7% bodyfat. (He checks these things.) It's healthy!

redheaded&crazy

@mystique um, yeah, that's why I said "not having the least amount of fat that is possible for a lady to have, taking into account the usual womanly deposits."

sarah girl

@Lizzy@twitter I totally feel you here. I was at the pool with my boyfriend the other day, lying on the chairs - at one point I went "ugh, my stomach" out loud. My dude looked at me and was like "What?! What are you talking about? Your stomach is great! Don't even suck it in, just relax."

First, I realized that I suck in my stomach without thinking SO MUCH, which was kind of sad. Then, that awful split between almost-liberation and "yeah, maybe HE likes it, but what about all those other millions of strangers whose imaginary opinions I care about for some reason?"

Jerkbrain, indeed.

redheaded&crazy

@RK Fire Jerkbrain is indeed a good word. I don't actually want to have less body fat than I have. Isolated from other people's expectations/my expectations about other people's expectations, I perfectly like my weight/my looks. That definitely hasn't always been the case, but thankfully it is now.

It's just frustrating that you throw a guy into the mix and all of this stuff starts to bubble up. Even though, he obviously likes my body and hasn't given any indication to the contrary!

baked bean

@redheaded&crazie I am a thin person, but yeah, my bf is also the skinniest possible. I don't feel bad about not being stick thin like him, because he has emphasized that he likes my body the way it is. It is, however, taking me a while to get over the fact that he eats less than I do most of the time. Like, I'm cool with my body, and I know I'm not fat (and that that wouldn't be bad), but it still makes me feel like a "fatty" when I eat way more than him.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie But I really am trying to be more sane about it! But like, what does that even meeeean? I recognize my crazy thoughts for being crazy? But how do you pass that on to the people who reinforce those thoughts? Like my grandmother who comments on how great I look, followed immediately by "have you lost weight?" I mean, that's the order every single time!

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie ugh i wish i could delete this snarky response. See I'm even getting crazy about being crazy!

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie Jerkgrandma

madge

@redheaded&crazie lol! i think that, definitely, recognizing your crazy thoughts for being crazy is the first step! then you can reach out with the rational part of your feelings and be like, okay crazy thought, i hear you, now i'm going to make a pot of coffee and read this here book instead of you know what crazy thought? you are totally right, let's go jump off a cliff!

themmases

@Sarah H. Yes! I've done it so much I needed to stop and shake myself out like I just finished a long car trip or something just to stand normally again. I'm a slouchy office worker and find stomach sucking easier than proper posture (although still not as awesome as slouching)! It's scary to realize you carry your body like that so much, even when you're thinking about other things/being awesome.

breccia

@redheaded&crazie hahaha.

once i went in for a FREE PERSONAL TRAINING TRIAL EXPERIENCE with my dude. the two trainers measured our body fat and I was at like, 29%? Whatever it was, it was the highest number for my height/weight before I went past the "Average" rating. When I heard that, i was like "WOO, Average!" you know, cause it's the healthy range. And the two dudes looked at each other and were literally like, "Ha ha, how cute, she thinks that's ok."

IT IS OK. IT'S MORE THAN OK, WOW. IF I WAS HIGHER IT'D BE OK TOO. WOW GUYS. PEOPLE PAY YOU TO HELP THEM REACH THEIR HEALTH GOALS, WHATEVER THOSE MAY BE, NOT SHAME THEM INTO GETTING SKINNY. Anyway, I didn't pay for shit. Those guys suck.

mystique

@redheaded&crazie Oops! Well, I was trying to say: "but body fat means you have all this cool fun stuff!" So let me add some more cool fun stuff body fat can give you:
- buffers between knobby knees
- easier to sleep on stomach
- hip protection
- chubby cheeks = always adorable, in both senses

Judith Slutler

@mystique How about not freezing your ass off 24/7? That was the worst part of my eating disorder, good god was it cold without my protective layer of fat.

redheaded&crazy

@mystique yes! also I happen to think I am very cuddleable. So there's that too!

the roughest toughest frail

@redheaded&crazie My dad does this! Every time I see him, he tells me I look good and I must have lost weight, right? No. The answer is always no, Dad. He then admitted that he's just trying to make me feel better ... by telling me I look like I've lost weight. Cheers.

madge

@abetterfate my grandma says this a lot ... so do some of my friends. i always think that it's because i'm fat, but i generally look pretty good, but the only way a fat person can look good is ... losing weight? or something?

WaityKatie

@abetterfate My dad did this for years, every time I would come home from college or law school. It was either "you've lost weight!" or *silence*. Also I remember in junior high when I was taking ice skating lessons he came and watched me skate once and his comment was "you looked really thin out there." What? I know I kind of sucked at skating, but come on. Finally I blew up at him about it and he hasn't really mentioned it since. I think because both he and my mom are obsessed with weight and fat, they really think telling someone they've lost weight or look thin is the ultimate compliment.

the roughest toughest frail

@WaityKatie My parents absolutely have that same obsession with fat and correlating it with (un)attractiveness. My dad's kept a running commentary on my weight for as long as I can remember. I wrote a story in elementary school about bullying and made a point of including his cruel nickname for me, which shut him up for about a month.
Parents! They're such fun.

JadedStone

@abetterfate I think it was David Sedaris who talks about his dad doing this constantly to his already thin sister. One year the sister wore a fat suit home for the holidays effectively causing the father to go into a tizzy.

PistolPackinMama

@madge BTW-- I still use "you won't be surprised and neither was I when..." from your article about being a beauty pageant queen. For... Shapely Prose, was it? Because it is awesome.

Nicole Cliffe

@WaityKatie Ugh, "you've lost weight" v. "silence." UGHHHH.

PistolPackinMama

@Nicole Cliffe

Dads. Especially should stay out of conversations on daughters weights. Because "I am displeased with you for being sexually unattractive" is a really, really gross message to send.

"You are not a valuable commodity to me." "Your sexual attractiveness/ availablility/desirability are in any way relevant to me." No. Especially since commenting on fat is so often an emotional thing. No. No no no.

madge

@PistolPackinMama aw thanks PPM! that was right here on the good ole hairpin!

carolita

@madge I once dated a guy during a super skinny period after a breakup (I can't eat when I'm sad) and expressed an insecurity about it, saying something like, "I'm a little embarrassed at my skinny body," and he said, "Oh, well, that's a shame," which made me decide I was never going to be embarrassed about my body again no matter what it looked like. Another time, a guy I was dating objected to me going out to buy a sandwich, because, he said, "You're so nice and skinny! Don't ruin it." Both of these guys, I realized, I didn't really feel like giving them the power to make me decide ANYTHING about my body. What you see is what you get, is my motto now. That said, I'm pretty superficial about men's bodies. On the other hand, I like a lot of different body types, including man boobs on certain guys who carry it well, and let's face it, you love a guy, you end up loving his body, whatever it looks like.

Midie

@The Kendragon

I used to feel this way too! The first guys I slept with were very burly and masculine, which made me feel petite and feminine. But then I started sleeping with a skinny guy and it was so much better! I didn't feel so physically overpowered by him, and I liked that. Sorry if this is an overshare, but it was a revolution in my way of thinking about feeling sexy which I did not anticipate, and I want to encourage others not to overlook the joys of sharing your body with a skinny dude!!

madge

@carolita true! at a certain point you gotta realize the only person who gets to decide how you feel about yourself is you. in this culture we learn to ask other people for answers to the questions of how we look and what we're worth and even who we are. which can leave you feeling pretty empty if you don't get the answers you want. it's an unwinnable game.

we need to be the deciders as much as we possibly can. first with our bodies. then with our relationships. then with the whole damn world!

carolita

@madge Yeah, I had so much different and conflicting feedback depending on who I was with at any given moment, that I realized there was no pleasing everyone. I'M THE DECIDER!!!! :)

WaityKatie

@carolita Oh my god, I would have bought an additional sandwich and smashed it in that guy's face!

carolita

@WaityKatie Well, he IS my best friend, so I forgave him, but I gave him quite a dressing down -- it began with me turning around mid-stride towards the door and saying, "WHAT did you say?" and giving him the beady eye that apparently terrifies all my friends -- AND bought my Banh Mi sandwich just like I said I would. It just goes to show you why we never made it as a couple. I can be friends with a guy like that (and try to get him to be less crazy with his girlfriends), but I can't go out with a guy like that, love him as I may. ;)

Saaoirse

@carolita Banh mi is so, so good- and I bet it tasted even better after that victory.

WaityKatie

@Saaoirse Eating the Banh Mi of Victory!

RNL
RNL

@redheaded&crazie But it's not just feeling fat, right, it could be anything. That's the nature of the crazy. My boobs aren't good enough, whatever (actually, the "my boobs aren't good enough" is right up there for me in the crazy self talk).

The thing is, bodies are bodies, and that's just the way they are. Like personalities. You can't choose what people will and won't be attracted to. It's really out of your hands. Feeling bad about something about myself has literally never fixed the (perceived) problem. If it did, then maybe it would serve some purpose? But it doesn't, so I try to recognize it as the crazy talking.

The very best we can be is ourselves, with our boobs and butts and stomachs and personalities, and expect that 1) they we lovable; 2) that nobody has an obligation to love us; 3) that the onus on loving or not loving us is on the other people out there; 4) our focus should be on loving or not loving the people we're with. If you want to take off your clothes with someone go on. Go forth and be glad. Their reaction is their joy and their problem. We have literally no idea what is going on in other people's heads.

I have wasted so. much. time. on self hatred and doubt and I'm just done. (In theory, not in practice.)

WaityKatie

@RobotsNeedLove "If you want to take off your clothes with someone go on. Go forth and be glad. Their reaction is their joy and their problem."

Aaahhh I love this.

tee
tee

@redheaded&crazie My grandma either says "You're a goddamned twig. You're too skinny", or "You're too fat. You need to lose weight". So.... yeah.

Xanthophyllippa

@mystique Neil deGrasse Tyson recently gave a talk here and told all the students standing in front that they could sit down. "That's why you have butt cheeks!" He said. "They're like built-in pillows!" BEST EVER.

@carolita "I approve of your body as it is. How DARE you procure nourishment for that body!"

Aggro-Pina

@PistolPackinMama Hear, hear.

slutberry

@baked bean Ugh, yes. The first time The Gentleman made me dinner, he served me this MASSIVE portion, because he was a 23-year-old boy who liked to EAT. This was my thought process:

1) OMG I am so hungry and this smells SO GOOD
2) Shite. This is a big plate of food. If I eat it all, he might think I'm a fatty.
3) But if I DON'T eat it, he'll think I'm rude.
4) how come he can make the BEST CHILI EVER?
5) What if I eat most of it, but just leave a few chips and give a dainty little "WOW I am stuffed!"
6) I am almost done this plate of food, and I am not stuffed.
7) BUT IT IS A REALLY BIG PLATE OF FOOD
8) OMG, it's, like, glorious chili nachos. He is SO SMART.
9) ALSO SO PRETTY
10) GAHHHH okay whatever. I am done eating. He will think I am a fatty. WHATEVER.
11) BUT I DON'T WANT HIM TO THINK I AM A FATTY.
12) i just want him to love me.

inthepost

@redheaded&crazie We are a cozy people.

I'm a size 12-16 (US), and I go through this every time I start dating someone new. I usually date guys who are on the skinny side. The thing is, though, I think sometimes even when guys get used to assuming that they want a certain type of body/thing, once the messy human stuff intervenes and they meet a person who doesn't fit that mould but who they are still attracted to, everything gets kind of jumbled and opens up and people's erotic boundaries and preferences kind of get redefined? I'm saying this specifically because most of my boyfriends have at one point or another felt the need to tell me that I'm the fattest woman they've ever been with, and it was usually because they were having a tiny bit of cognitive dissonance about what was going on for them in the pants area.

But all of those lovers except one were also totally into it. (That one was stuck in a sad cage of shame and status-seeking which is too much of a drag to even contemplate, and which had nothing to do with me.) And actually, two of them have since gone on to date other women who are a bit larger, like me. One of whom later told me that he noticed himself becoming primarily attracted to a bigger body type since we dated. Converts! We are all just learning!

This is starting to sound really braggy, and I don't mean it that way. Bottom line: if he's going to bed with you, especially repeatedly, he's attracted and you're good to go. And I think it's more about chemistry between individuals anyway. THE END, sorry.

checkonetwo

@carolita "...and let's face it, you love a guy, you end up loving his body, whatever it looks like."

But that's just the thing! When I'm dating a guy, I know that I would still love him if he gained some weight. If he actually started becoming obese that would be a different issue, but that's because health and not being able to keep up with me, etc. I don't think women have that same courtesy. I could not gain 15 pounds and still feel confident about my body OR secure in my relationship. Which should not be a thing, but it is, and I'm not sure if I am especially insecure or if this is normal among ladies. It's all too complicated. I'm just going to become a hermit. A hermit except for delivery.

carolita

@checkonetwo Ah, well, you're right, a little. I weighed ten pounds less when I met my BF, and though I'm not overweight, I was a little worried that he'd take it as a bait and switch -- I know guys who only date really skinny girls. I say I was worried, but what I really mean, of course, is that I worried I'd have to slap him upside the head and dump him if he objected, because that would have made me feel like he thought he had some kind of proprietary say about my body. That, I will not ever stand for. (This attitude is why my mom always said I'd end up alone.)

But yes, I do know that feeling of "will he still love me if..." I totally get it, and it's not unusual. (Men feel that way, too. They just hide it better.) You have to counter it with, "Well, if he won't love me if..., then to hell with him." In marriages the promise is "for better or for worse," isn't it? The time to know if it isn't for "worse" -- whatever the "worse" is -- is before you settle down together.

Anyway, it turns out my BF didn't mind if I put on some weight. "The more the merrier," he said, "Have a sandwich. Put on some more!" I don't feel like he fancies me more or less depending on my weight. He'd probably object if I started not being able to DO things, like run around and play with the dog due to neglecting my health, but only because I'd probably be unhappy that way, myself. Me, I bother him about exercising, but only because he's 20 years older than me, and I know it's important when you're older, for health reasons. I actually exercise partly to set a good example for him. It's like, "Hey, let's not fall apart too early, so we can have a few more good years before we're old and decrepit together." (I'm 47, so it's important for me, too -- bone density, heart health, and all).
So, do not become a hermit!!!! :) Enjoy your body as it is. Someone will enjoy it with you, eventually. I had to wait till I was 43 to find the right someone to love me, but I'm just ornery. Look around! There are all sorts of bodies out there in love with each other. Let that reassure you?

rebeccakpalermo

Yes. All of this. And when we all decide to go sleeveless despite our disappointing arms, wear whatever style of jeans we want despite how "unflattering" they may be to our body type, and let our goddam hair do whatever it is supposed to do, the world will be annoyed at first, but then will eventually just get used to it, until pasty legs and wiggly arms and frizzy hair are socially acceptable.

Maria

@rebeccakpalermo This pasty legged, wiggly armed, frizzy haired girl wants to live in this new world you are creating.

Lily Rowan

@rebeccakpalermo My mother pointed out to me recently that when she was young, everyone wore sleeveless dresses and no one was in shape and no one cared about their arms! It's still hard for me, though.

cosmia

@rebeccakpalermo @Maria as does this one!

TheAlbondigasBar

@rebeccakpalermo AH the disappointing arms! My mom gifted me with a very cute sleeveless summer dress and my first thought was and has always been, "Must look for cardigan asap." But today is my birthday dinner and I'm rocking it sans cardigan. Courage! :)

dinos

@Lily Rowan Yes! Supposedly, the actresses on Mad Men were instructed not to work out too much because no one in the 50s/60s had toned arms. Let's all not care about our arms and wear sundresses.

@njellybean Happy courageous birthday!

rebeccakpalermo

@njellybean Happy Birthday! Have an adorable, sleeveless birthday dinner!

smidge

@rebeccakpalermo So does this one and I will bring cookies

the angry little raincloud

@njellybean That's so true (well, all of it, but the bit about women in the 50s/60s not having toned arms). It's one of the reasons why vintage, when wore today, never really looks like it did on, um, vintage people? Our bodies are different, not to mention our undergarments.

On that note, I was once told by the former companion of a fashion designer that I had a completely 1970s body: skinny but not toned, or the "all I do is cocaine and hang out at Studio 54 and there are no weights/yoga/pilates in this world" body, rather than what he referred to as the "Jazzercise body of the 1980s." In other words, he told me I should wear lots of vintage Halston.

Hellcat

@rebeccakpalermo ARMS! I thought I was the only one with this fixation; many people I know seem to not like some other part--boobs, thighs, whatever. But I can't help but get stuck on my upper arms. They don't really have that "bingo wing" business happening and they admittedly could use some toning*; it's more that they seem completely out of proportion! My wrist isn't even six inches around and when I see myself sleeveless, it looks just ridiculous compared to the circumference at top of my arms! I think they're bigger than my neck and, for some reason, this bugs the crap out of me daily. I am happy to report, though, that is doesn't stop me from wearing sleeveless stuff, and I very seldom notice what other people's upper arms are doing. Just mine.

* When I try to "fix" this, I find that the circumference stays the same, even though my arms get more solid. I asked a few people (not serious gym rats or anything; I don't think I know any) and almost everyone's answer was that there's not much to be done about shrinking the measurement without losing weight all around!

RNL
RNL

@rebeccakpalermo And they aren't even annoyed right now! Or maybe some people are, but people are literally always critical about something. You actually can't win playing that game. It's a trap.

So arms and legs and hair and whatever, go on. Your leg hair or your undereye circles or whatever are nobody's business.

And, surprisingly, you're stunningly beautiful the way you are. I look at pictures of me 10 years ago, and I think "oh my god, I was so young and gorgeous! How come I couldn't see it?! If I knew how haggard I was going to look then...." and then I realized, me in 10 years is going to look at me now the same way. So I'm gorgeous now. It's subjective anyway. It's a reality choice. Let's choose something a little happier.

LaLoba

@njellybean I didn't wear anything sleeveless between the ages of 13 and 22. Then one summer I was preparing to go on a road trip around the south and southwest for the first time since I was 13, and I said, "I shall go to Target and I shall buy tank tops." And the world did not shift, and I wore them and my arms were cool, and now I am wearing a tank top whenever remotely possible.

Also my arms have developed some considerable muscle mass in the past year because of my work moving books and then as a housekeeper and now as a maid so while they look basically the same, they are much stronger than they appear. It's like secret muscle. And I love to feel secretly powerful.

dollguts

@rebeccakpalermo I didn't care about my wibbly arms until everyone else started not wearing sleeveless dresses in summer and pointing out how wibbly their arms were in photos and then I started caring about mine and THEY'RE NOT EVEN WIBBLY!...much. It's just all so silly.

TheDangQuesadilluh

i created a login just so i could comment on how unbelievably awesome this made me feel. megan is my new internet best friend.

frigwiggin

To be fair, I think some young women do enjoy hookup culture?

WhiskeySour

@frigwiggin Yeah, that part made me go "Bwuh?" Couldn't it have been framed more in terms of "women who feel obligated to participate in hook-up culture even though they do not enjoy it" or something along those lines?

entangled

@frigwiggin yeah, that was the one thing I disagreed with. Though while there are totally women (and men) who enjoy hooking up and casual relationships, there's also women (and men) who feel pressure to behave that way when it's not what they want to do. Which kind of sucks... especially since I feel like the dating scene in a lot of areas is a lot easier to navigate for people who are looking for something physical versus wanting something more serious first.

Mira

@frigwiggin Yeah, hookup culture's not sad or unfulfilling unless you want to be doing something else! Plenty of women like it just fine.

I've never once felt crazy about my body, actually, although it isn't "perfect" by whatever societal standards and blah blah. I love my body and I always have. (Not sure how I managed to escape this stuff, but I'm really lucky!) My body does everything I need it to! But I have so many friends who are constantly complaining about their gorgeous selves and it makes me so sad, so I'm really happy to see this. I will be buying this book for sure.

wharrgarbl

@WhiskeySour I actually stopped reading at that point and just came down here to see whether or not I should bother continuing. A lot of young women do enjoy the hook-up culture, and they don't need more slut-shaming and gaslighting about how they couldn't possible like sex without commitment, they're only saying they do. If someone means "women who feel obligated to participate in hook-up culture even though they do not enjoy it," that's a very different kettle of fish and needs to be addressed as such.

madge

@frigwiggin that is totally a fair criticism. when i wrote that, i was thinking of some interviews i had read with some teenage girls who seemed kind of baffled and not into it (which my google-fu is too weak to find right now) ... and also my experiences, and those of my friends. of course hooking up can be fun but i think it's at least sometimes entered into in a search for validation via the appraisal of others. which is a slippery slope that i'm sure we are all well-too-acquainted with.

frigwiggin

@madge I understand! And I completely get that there are plenty of girls and women for whom it isn't a fun thing (I am one of them), and that there are a portion of those girls and women who feel pressured into it anyway (I am not one of them). My mind just goes to the women I know who do enjoy it and are into it.

madge

@frigwiggin i will word it better in version 1.1! thank you!

frigwiggin

@madge Thank you for thinking about it! I'm really on board with a lot of your other points, for the record.

hallelujah

@frigwiggin *raises hand* or I did in college, anyways. I had a great deal of fun & credit a large and varied repertoire of sexual partners and experiences for the established and comfortable sexual identity and boundaries I have today.

BUT I understand it's not for everyone & there's a lot that could make young women engaged in it sad and unfulfilled. However, I don't think I'm the only special snowflake who emerged unscathed.

OxfordComma

@frigwiggin @madge: Oh! I've always thought of hookup culture as just being the notion that if you aren't "fuckable" (ie: no one at the bar/party wants to go home with you, or vice versus), you aren't enough. ...That's not what that means?

madge

@OxfordComma that's exactly what i'm talking about.

and now, i am also remembering that there are a couple parts to the grossness - part of it is just being appraised like meat; the other part is the idea that dudes are supposed to be unstoppably horny at all times so if i can't get ANYONE to fuck me then how gross am i?

Mira

@OxfordComma Hookup culture, at least the way I've always understood it, is just a culture of NSA sex. Popular on college campuses, or so I'm told. ;)

There's been a lot of handwringing over it lately, and while I agree that no one should feel pressured to participate in a sexual culture they don't like or want to be part of, criticism of hookup culture can very easily tip into slut-shaming, or implying that no woman could ever possibly just want to get it on because of oxytocin! and evo-psych! and whatnot. And plenty of ladies don't like hooking up, but plenty do. So I'm glad that Megan is taking this on board and re-wording that sentence for future editions. Of which I hope there will be many!

frigwiggin

@OxfordComma @madge Hm, that's not where my mind went to at all! But I have literally no direct experience with that sort of culture so I'm coming from a different perspective and a lot of what I understand is thanks to information from Pinners and other women I know.

CasualElegance

@frigwiggin Ahhh the glory days of waking up with a giggly hangover and a cute boy next to me. Not even one ounce sarcastic.

OxfordComma

@Madge: That's totally how I've thought of it, too!
@Mira @frigwiggin: Gotcha, gotcha. Definitions are tricky fuckers, aren't they? Because slut-shaming is idiotic, and if you want to have sex, HAVE SEX; but that pressure to feel fuckable is...I can't even.

...Is there a better term for this?

Fuckable Culture?

Mira

@OxfordComma "Our culture"? I have to be honest, since I realized I was gay, all of that self-imposed pressure to worry about what men thought I looked like kind of just...vanished? It is one of my very, very favorite things about being a big ol' homo. Not that you're ever fully free of it because this stuff pervades our culture so thoroughly, but the freedom to ignore whether men think I'm suitably attractive on a personal level, oh man, I can't even express how awesome it is.

I promise I'm not trying to recruit anyone. ;)

OxfordComma

@Mira : Believe me, I have considered batting for the other team, for this reason alone.

And because all tits are awesome.

WaityKatie

@OxfordComma Me too, every time I see a lesbian couple I'm just like...they look so happy. I want to be happy and secure like that! (Of course I have known lesbian couples who were just as miserable and dysfunctional as anyone else, so this really only applies to people I don't personally know.)

And also, the gender politics would be easier, being gay. So much easier to just be like, screw the patriarchy, I'm going to do what makes me happy, wear what I want, and be myself. Instead it's like, I want to do these things but I know men won't like me if I do them, so...paralysis. But I guess I'm just a man-hating straight girl, much to my chagrin.

PistolPackinMama

@WaityKatie Come over here and order a pitcher of Margaritas of Dissonance with me.

dtowngirl

@Mira I'm a gay lady as well, and I have not been able to escape the feelings, though I would love to. I'm just as body-crazy as I ever was. So, any tips (seriously--you got anything I can learn)?

@Mira This has not been my experience. While it doesn't center around what men want, I have the same body shit as a lot of other women. Batting for the queer team doesn't mean your own issues and baggage go away.

Mira

@S. Elizabeth That's not what I meant. Of course your own internal body issues don't go away, or any of the things you've always carried around as your own baggage, you know? I only meant that I personally was able to stop worrying specifically about whether men thought I was fuckable, because I no longer cared.

I wasn't trying to generalize even that bit of liberation to all gay ladies, either - just to say that that's been my experience. That was a significant thing for me. But certainly any other body hatred anyone's been carrying around doesn't necessarily go away based on sexual orientation. I hadn't thought I was implying that, but sorry if I did, because over-generalization to everyone else's experiences is not cool. (Which is why I'm sorry I haven't got any tips, @dtowngirl!)

Orrr...more what wee_ramekin wrote below, that's been more like my experience. Like, my girlfriend doesn't like high heels! She thinks I look great without makeup! She doesn't mind random hairs in strange places! All stuff I used to worry about when I felt really subject to the "male-gazey" stuff, and I don't anymore. That doesn't mean my own insecurities go away, just that I no longer care whether men think I'm pretty. It's great.

wee_ramekin

@Mira I have found your experience to be INCREDIBLY similar to mine. For me, what you said is so true, it's soul-deep and nestled into my bones.

I tripped and fell into Queerdom at...24-25ish, and before that time, I felt So. Ugly. It wasn't that I hated my body or felt that I was inherently unattractive, it's just that all of those traditionally "male-gaze" things like (for me, personally): hairiness (legs, bush, lip, chin, eyebrows etc.), not knowing how to put on make-up, not knowing how to style my hair, not really being into dresses or fashion, not being into high heels, wanting to make sure that I wasn't too loud/didn't talk too much....ALL of those things kind of floated off into the ether when I ended up in a relationship with a woman. A woman who won a piece of my heart forever when she said (to my protestations that we couldn't have sex until I had shaved my legs): "Do you honestly think I won't want to fuck you because you have *hair* on your legs? Are you kidding me? I could give two shits about the hair on your legs; that's not why I'm in love with you, and it's not why I think you're beautiful".

First of all ~*~SWOONmeltHEARTS~*~ to say that to a girl who has struggled with being culturally inappropriately hirsute her whole life (Lebanese blood, y'all), but it also made me back the feck up and be like "Holy Jesus, she's right!". It's not like I look at other women and think they are disgusting freaks because they don't shave! I usually think: girl, I don't have 45 minutes to shave either! Let's bump fists in hairy solidarity!

Once I realized that there was an option other than being a simulacrum of all teh beautiful Hollywood women in order to gain a guy's love, a lot of that self-hatred (though certainly not all) went away. And man, it was so freeing. I know that this is not every queer lady's experience, but for me, I know that a lot of my hatred of my appearance was tied up into not feeling like I was "hot enough" for guys to notice me. I don't feel that way at all with women.

WaityKatie

@wee_ramekin That's the thing, I mean, no matter how much you want your self-esteem to come from inside, and to be strong and confident regardless of how other people view you, everything is really so strongly tied to external factors, all the time. Like, since moving to NYC I feel straight up INVISIBLE, because no men notice me AT ALL, EVER, and any attention I do get (on the internets, mostly) usually leads to dismissive or outright negative encounters. I know in my heart that it is my environment and not me, and that I look bangin', especially compared to how I looked before getting in better shape, but I still feel bad because people (men) are treating me badly. I don't know what the solution is. If you want to date men and you live in an environment where men only want to date models... My solution has been to just do my own thing and try not to care, but I do care, y'know? I'm not happy being alone and celibate and just working all the time. So my *new* solution is pretty much "move somewhere else." I dunno.

dtowngirl

@wee_ramekin First, that story melts my heart. I guess for me, it's not about looking good for men, but working in a competative and rather sexist environment (world?) with other women. It's like the adage about women not dressing for men, but for other women. I'm not by nature a very competative person, but it's ingrained in us throughout our entire lives.

I know my gf loves me just as I am, and I don't ever doubt that. But, I guess it doesn't erase the sense of inadequacy. It's funny, because I also fell into queerdom around 25 (around the same time I graduated school and joined the workforce). It's not in my romantic relationships where I've felt the male gaze, if you will, but at work. And I don't even want to be thought of as hot/not hot at work! That shouldn't even matter! Seriously, it drives me nuts.

wee_ramekin

@dtowngirl @WaityKatie

I hope my response to both of you doesn't come off as glib, because I don't mean this sarcastically in any way.

I used to feel the same kind of pressure that both of you feel when I lived in Boston. Things didn't start looking up for me, appearance-wise, until I moved to Austin. In Boston I was constantly comparing myself to what I found to be the cookie-cutter good looks of typical New England twenty-something women, which is a very clean, sophisticated and highly-styled look. Since I never learned how to put on make-up, don't know my way around a hair-dryer and don't really give two flips about "fashion", I felt so out of place. I felt very depressed when I lived in Boston, and a lot of that was because I didn't feel like I fit in "looks-wise".

When I moved to Austin, literally the first day I was here, I felt more attractive than I'd felt the whole year I lived in Boston. I sat in a cafe and watched people walk by, and here, there are ALL TYPES of attractive. There's the typical Texan highly-made-up style, the hipster girl style, the hippy style, jeans-and-T-shirt laid-back casual style (that's me!) and everything in-between. Honestly, I feel that people judge people less on their appearances here than they do in other places I have lived (New England). It took me removing myself from places that put a ton of stock on a certain "way of looking" before I could start to feel better about how I look.

So, I really hope that there is an answer other than "move". I really really hope there is. But for me, that was definitely the first step toward a healthier acceptance of my appearance, and entering the Queer Kingdom has been an extension of that.

ETA: Also, now that I have become a card-carrying queer citizen, I have found my attitude toward the male-gaze has shifted. I still like dudes, still find them attractive, and still want them to fuck me. But at this point, after having been in a relationship where I was loved when I presented in a way that I felt comfortable, there is no way I'm going to be with a dude who isn't down with it. Any guy that feels that I am *obligated* to shave my legs, or wear make-up or dress a certain way is not attractive to me now. It's actually made me more confident in my interactions with men, because I really don't give a shit what they think about my appearance. However, I realize that I only think this because I don't feel confined to loving one gender. If dudes don't like the hair on my legs, welp, I will just life-partner the shit out of some gorgeous butch woman, so nuts to them. If I were still in the way of only loving/sexing men, I would be in a very different place.

OxfordComma

@wee_ramekin : TRUTH.

I think there is also a direct correlation between warm weather and body-snarking cultures--thank you, Los Angeles.

For as much as I love my California, and I will always think of it as home, I do wish some of the laid-back Portland and Seattle vibe would trickle down to here.

entangled

@wee_ramekin I actually had a similar experience moving from New York to the bay area. Just being removed from the hyper-competitive ideals that I had internalized in New York really helped. I still feel like I'm not nearly as stylish or polished as most women, but I was able to let go of my expectation that I needed to be supermodel thin just as the admit fee for being a worthy human being.

ETA: and to clarify, I don't really even think that the Bay Area is a more size-diverse, ideal-diverse place to NY to some huge degree (though I think the way thinness is idealized here is different...I could write a very long comment about crass generalizations here) I think I had created this narrative in my head that somehow got lost in the change of environment.

dtowngirl

@wee_ramekin I don't think you're being glib at all. I actually just have never felt that much pressure from men. It's more peer-pressure than anything, and I say screw that. 90% of the time, I feel good about myself. It's that 10% that infects my brain. I would like to extend your attitude not only to people we want to fuck, but also to people we want to/have to befriend and work with. If they don't like me, nuts to them.

WaityKatie

@dtowngirl It may be true about dressing to impress women, but I find that my body self-policing is more about getting attention (or not) from men. I don't feel "too fat" or "too old" because women are looking askance at me. I feel that way because men here find me invisible. (Either way, I dress like crap generally, so that isn't really the issue.) And I'm also in a field/office where the attire is pretty default conservative-blah, so I don't feel the fashion pressure that a lot of women in NYC probably feel. But yeah, I can't say that I feel like many types of beauty are valued here, at least not in the circles I run in.

Passion Fruit

@wee_ramekin WOW, so much of what was written on this thread rang true for me. From my experience, I got that type of affirmation and acceptance from a dude, my boyfriend, and it made a world of difference to me. I lived, for years, feeling sorry and anxious about my future, imaginary boyfriend having to deal with my body-grooming-laziness and hairiness. Then I met someone who totally doesn't give a crap, and it's given me so much relief.

@Waity Katie, yes, my environment has a huge influence on how I feel about myself. I actually felt more attractive in Boston/New York then I do here in the south. I'm not sure why, as I am not tall, thin, white or blonde. But it made me feel like a human being. Feeling invisible is the worst.

@dtowngirl Ugh, fitting in with women is hard! One of my best friends makes me so, so, so anxious about my body because she is always talking about weight and food and diets and body hair, and it's like, please knock it off, you are driving me insane! My coworker used to do that too, and thankfully she moved away. I just got used to sitting as far away as possible from her.

shutthefrontdoor

@Passion Fruit @WaityKatie @wee_ramekin @dtowngirl : WOW. It's like you all live in my head or something. I did not realize these issues were so universal. Usually because when I bring up these insecurities, I tend to get the side eye from my friends. But yeah DC was the same for me. I moved from a rural southern town to DC for school and wow did some out there insecurities raise their head. And for me at least it's an impressing everyone issue. I always compare myself to women/men on the street and come to the conclusion that the girls are prettier and the guys know this/don't find me attractive. Which I've sadly just realized is all sorts of fucked up. Like fuck that shit. Whyyyyyyy do I care?

Bodie issues/negative internal narratives, they're hard to change y'all.

WaityKatie

@shutthefrontdoor Ironically, for me, I got way more attention when I lived in DC than ever since. Although now I'm like, maybe it's just because I was younger when I lived there and now I'm Olllld and I will nevvvver have sex agaiiiiin, etc. I do remember getting a lot of bitchy-ass crap from women in DC, though, for no discernible reason at all! No other city, just DC! I have never figured that one out. Maybe because I used to date pretty good looking guys, but yeah, angry glares all around.

@WaityKatie Ugh, living in Boston has made me so weirdly insecure about things. I feel like I don't fit in there -- too femme/non-granola for the queer kids, not WASPish, not a native New Englander, and not tall/skinny/blond/straight. My cousin and I lived in Boston at the same time for a while, and she moved back to Jersey and was immediately hit on by every guy in sight (we're both nice curvy slavic-looking ladies with brown hair). Not the case in Boston.

San Francisco makes me feel like a total hottie some days, and on other days I feel like a well-dressed square. But a really cute curvy square. Today I rocked a jaunty scarf and a bright dress, and then realized that when it rains, the whole city wears black or gray hoodies.

WaityKatie

@S. Elizabeth A place where the whole population wears hoodies = pretty much my ideal fashion place. Here, it's like, "why can't you put on a sassy jacket? That costs 500 dollars? And doesn't come in anything above a size 8? Why can't you just do that?" Blah.

slutberry

@wee_ramekin To be entirely fair (and honestly, someone might have already said this), there are plenty of guys who escape the patriarchy in the same way-- my gentleman has been so helpful in helping me get over my body freak outs. When we started dating it was December, so I wasn't shaving my underarms (I really prefer hairy armpits, but I would basically shave them during the summer because of societal pressures). I decided that spring that I was going to ignore societal pressures and wear my armpits hairy, like I like them, but then I caved and shaved them for a friend's wedding. Gentleman was upset, not because he prefers hairy or shaved armpits, but because he knew I was caving-- he knew I didn't WANT to shave, but I was doing it because I felt pressured. I haven't shaved them since. He supported me when I decided to let my leg hair grow out, and supported me when I decided, from that, that I prefer to have hairless legs (waxed, not shaved). He has been amazing, and really really helped me avoid the patriarchal "male gaze", by providing an adoring, supporting, encouraging gaze of his own.

Con Huevos

@WaityKatie Worry not. I've always done whatever the damn hell I pleased, and I'm happily married. To a dude. Yeah. So... do whatever the damn hell you please. It works. I promise.

PistolPackinMama

@arrr starr "Pretty is not a rent you pay to occupy a space marked female."

Words to live by.

http://www.dressaday.com/2006/10/20/you-dont-have-to-be-pretty/

PistolPackinMama

@Con Huevos Yeeeahhhh- it works sometimes.

The trick is... I think you just have to come to the conclusion, eventually, that it might not work. For whatever reason, reasons that could have nothing to do with your legs or pants, or that might, you might just end up by yourself.

And you had better be okay with that, because that might be how it's going to be.

The older I get, and the more it looks like I am heading for having "Pistol Packin' Mama, Spinster of the Parish" in my burial records, I've working with that idea. Some women just end up alone. And if I am going to end up alone, do I want to end up alone and having spent my life having tried to be the kind of person men wanted to fuck? Or making up for the fact that I am not the kind of woman men want to fuck by doing things to make me more fuckable?

Or do I want to die Pistol Packin' Mama, Spinster of the Parish, Polar Explorer, Boxer, Reader, Baker, Dress Wearer, Various Wearer of and Non- Wearer of Makeup, Unshaven Distance Canoeist, Shaven Party Pistol Packin Mama, No Shit-Taker, No Nonsense, Badass Lady Human Rights Person?

I'll have option B, thank you.

Fiddle dee dee

@PistolPackinMama I love Option B.

WaityKatie

@PistolPackinMama Yes. Thank you for this. I get so sick of the "just be yourself! You'll find someone!" advice, even though I know it is well intentioned. Like, I've been being myself for 36 years and nobody wants what I'm selling here. It's also entirely possible that someone can Be Herself and straight guys can just be like, "ehhhh. No thanks. This other one over here wants to have my babies."

Wrecking Ball Gown

@WaityKatie That's exactly what's going on in my life with the menfolk. There's only so much awesomeness I can cultivate in my own life before feeling like I've been misled by that old "be yourself and someone will be attracted by that" chestnut.

However, instead of thinking of it in truly depressing (to me) terms of "no one is interested", I prefer to reframe it as poor timing (so many dudes that I think it would work with are already married), mismatched levels of interest (someone likes me but I'm not interested in them, and vice versa) or a plain old percentages game: there are dudes out there who would like me Mark-Darcy-"just as I am" but maybe it's a somewhat small percentage and the wide world being what it is, I just haven't run into them (and may not run into them).

Edit: that doesn't really sound any less depressing (the last one particularly), but maybe it's a fact of life that has nothing to do with what I may or may not have to offer to dudes.

shutthefrontdoor

@Wrecking Ball Gown Has anyone seen the movie TiMER? Because this conversation sounds just like the plot of the movie. And it has Emma Caulfield too!

WaityKatie

@Wrecking Ball Gown Well, yes, I suppose I did mean more that "no available straight men that I have met and find attractive are interested," rather than "no one is interested." I do get occasional expressions of interest from people I find unattractive, and strictly platonic male friends who have been stalking me from afar for almost a decade (ok, just one of those). But, that doesn't really make things any more awesome, when seemingly everyone around you is coupled, so even your regular hanging-out-with-friends type life is majorly diminished by your status. And for the record, I have no problems hanging out on my own with a couple or even a bunch of couples, but oftimes they seem to have a problem with/forget about me. Well, boo-hoo, first world problems, really. But now I will go off and think about Colin Firth as Darcy and feel better.

Wrecking Ball Gown

@shutthefrontdoor Hmm, I had not heard of that movie until you mentioned it, but from what I just read about it, it sounds intriguing (esp. the main character without a timer).

@WaityKatie I guess the "reframing" exercise helps me to see it less as a merit-based problem (I'm not finding anyone because I'm not ______ enough) and more of a "things just not worked out that way for me" problem. (Though the cynic in me is mostly waiting for the statistically-inevitable wave of divorces to free up some of those already-taken dudes.)

The flaw in this plan is that it sometimes leads me to wonder what the disconnect is between how I see myself/think I'm presenting myself to others and who I imagine would be attracted by that vs. who is actually attracted by that. Like so: if Guy X likes me, what does that say about me/what is it that I'm projecting that made him like me when I have no interest in him whatsoever? And I can fall down that crazy rabbit hole for hours and hours...

WaityKatie

@Wrecking Ball Gown Oh god, if I let myself think that it was something about me that caused all these weirdos to be attracted to me, I would never leave the house again!

In my experience, the guys I am most attracted to have usually immediately categorized me as a fuckbuddy-transitioning-to-just-regular-buddy (at my insistence). For some reason, they never categorize me as "girlfriend material," even when they are attracted to me obviously and we have tons in common. But I think it's just luck, to be honest, because there haven't been enough of them to really make a statistically significant sample anyway. But oh god, the freaks who do want to date me....*shudder for days*

entangled

Yes - this is awesome!

I struggled with body image and disordered eating and tend to be pretty open about it, partly because I am an open person but also because I am PISSED OFF that we live in a culture that rewards the kind of orthorexic behavior that fucked me up. The way I see it, it is much, much harder and takes a hell of a lot more discipline and willpower to fight the images and mentality we see every day than to it does to deprive yourself in some flawed self-destructive pursuit of perfection and get rewarded by society for it.

Passion Fruit

@arrr starr YES, the social rewards. Ugh. If every day I looked happy and seemed mentally healthier, someone was to chirp at me "Wow you look like you've lost... a lot of emotional baggage!" life would be slightly better.

WaityKatie

@Passion Fruit Mine would be something like "you look like you haven't spoken to your mother in a month!"

limnupon

@Passion Fruit Every so often, if I come across some toxic image, or article, or nagging voice, telling me that I'm a terrible person for being an "unhealthy" size, I'll chant to myself, "Mental health IS health." This has has saved me from so much misery.

bocadelperro

This is exactly what I needed right now. I currently have eczema patches on my face and neck, and I am under doctor's orders not to cover them up with makeup. Even though I know they're not very big, my self consciousness is making me crazy, and as Megan pointed out, I have WAAAY bigger things to worry about. Just bought your book for my kindle. Thanks.

maybe partying will help

@bocadelperro

Honestly, I think this is what I need all the time. Because despite being young, white, and of reasonable conventional attractiveness, I have body image problems four days out of seven at least. My head is always in that space of self-loathing, hyper-critical, not-enough. It is very rare that I look at myself in the mirror and think, Hey we have a "When Everything's Right Quotient" going on here.

I venture it is that way for a lot of women. Lots of unlearning to do.

maybe partying will help

@maybe partying will help

Aasjhdfb and by including "white" as a descriptor, I mean that women of color have approx. 1000 times as many horrible messages being hurled at them on a daily basis regarding their bodies and how they should look.

This has been a badly worded post. D:

bocadelperro

@maybe partying will help ugh. yes. I know that voice. It doesn't help that I'm very detail oriented and aesthetically driven, and am the kind of person who immediately notices if a picture isn't completely straight, etc. I'm never quite able to accept that the sort of aesthetic perfection you can achieve in a set table or a flower arrangement is totally impossible with a living, breathing, moving body.

bocadelperro

@bocadelperro So I finished the book this morning, and I think it's just great. I love the suggestion about writing notes to yourself to read when you're feeling down. There's a lot of wisdom in those 50ish pages.

sarah girl

I struggle with this so much! One example: I have been dealing with depression for most of my life, and gone through quite a roulette of medications trying to find one that will work and keep working. Without fail, every time a med was suggested or prescribed to me, the first I did was go home and google "[medication name] weight gain." Every time. And I would sit and just hate it, hate myself, because sure, it might help my depression, but isn't it a little better to be depressed than FAT?

I'm working on this, but haven't gotten very far yet. Sigh.

roadtrips

@Sarah H. I've found myself more than once making a choice that wasn't the healthiest in the name of superficial appearance. When I quit smoking one of the things that made it most difficult was my fear that I would gain weight. WTF!? It makes me frustrated beyond belief that gaining 10 pounds (maybe) seemed like a bigger deal than getting lung cancer or emphysema (probably). We're taught to make choices that benefit us in superficial short term ways ("hotness (read, socially sanctioned hotness)" now vs. being happy and healthy and ALIVE in 30 years) and it's not just limited to body image.

OxfordComma

@Sarah H. : Right there with you on this.

Judith Slutler

@Sarah H. ME TOO ahahahahahaha what is wrong with our brains? I mean, besides the depression.

steve

@roadtrips
Turns out the patriarchy owns most of the shares in big tobacco.

Derevkova

@Sarah H. I do that, too. When it turned out that I had to augment my meds with something that would actually put me to sleep, I refused to add any antipsychotics because of the weight gain. I actually pushed for the Wellbutrin prescription when I needed another anti-depressant to help with my first one because of the weight loss indicated on the PI sheet.

PistolPackinMama

@steve And anti-depressants.

Stavromula Beta

@roadtrips "We're taught to make choices that benefit us in superficial short term ways ("hotness (read, socially sanctioned hotness)" now vs. being happy and healthy and ALIVE in 30 years"

I think something similar goes on with tanning (which is, granted, not nearly the killer that tobacco is). I'm pretty pale, and people often assume I can't tan, because the idea that I would choose not to is so foreign to them.

WaityKatie

@Stavromula Beta Yes, I hate it so much when I show up somewhere with a sunburn and everyone praises me for "getting some sun." That was a mistake, guys. Burning one's skin is a mistake, not a goal!

Stavromula Beta

@WaityKatie Ugh, that's awful. You would at least expect some sympathy for the sunburn!

Xanthophyllippa

@Sarah H. This is why I stayed off anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds for a LONG time. (I gained 13lbs in a month on Lexapro and it look me over a year to lose that weight.) But I actually had the approval of my therapist, my GP, and my endocrinologist on that one, because they all knew how heavily body image fed into the depression for me and they knew that even if the drugs could cut the peaks and valleys, I'd still be depressed because my body didn't feel right. Then the Wellbutrin came along and I was all, "Hell-O SAILOR" with the idea of anti-depressants with possible weight loss.

JadedStone

BOUGHT IT.

Now I will buy it for EVERYBODY I KNOW.

Daisy Razor

One of the first things I promised my daughter, before she was even born, was that I would do my damnedest not to pass on the Body Crazy to her that my mother passed on to her daughters.

I mean, my kid is the bottom of the growth chart and my mother still tells me not to give her too much cheese or peanut butter because that will set up "unhealthy habits." My kid is TWO. She has CELIAC DISEASE. I can't.

madge

@Daisy Razor THANK THE LORD FOR MUMS LIKE YOU!

MmeLibrarian

@Daisy Razor But peanut butter is awesome and full of protein! Ditto cheese! As a former kid vegetarian, I wouldn't even be here were it not for peanut butter and cheese!

SarahP

@Daisy Razor Good for you! Because she'll get it everywhere else, and it's wonderful and reassuring to have a mother who will actively stop you from thinking bad things about yourself. (My mother is like this! I am so grateful for her.)

EpWs

@Daisy Razor YOU ARE THE BEST

Nicole Cliffe

@Daisy Razor I am basically constructed entirely out of peanut butter and cheese.

Daisy Razor

@Nicole Cliffe Excellent. They are the building blocks of Awesomeness.

@Everyone Thanks for the support, guys! Here's to a generation that doesn't have to fight that exhausting craziness.

Midie

@Daisy Razor
This is great! My mom has always been the most affirming person in this regard, both in her attitude about body image and sharing with me balanced habits of moderate exercise and overall healthy eating (she herself never got caught up in any fad diets nor tried to manipulate her body for purely aesthetic ends). Despite having a father and brother who frequently make dumb comments about overweight people, she's helped me keep a fairly level head. Don't underestimate how much good you can do as a mother, even when other influences are inevitably going to work against you!

Xanthophyllippa

@Nicole Cliffe Me too! With some fresh fruit to counteract the effects of the cheese.

(Also: grilled peanut butter and gouda sandwiches with Granny Smith apple slices!)

rosaline

@Xanthophyllippa Oh my God I need to try that sandwich immediately!

dreeski

@Daisy Razor The best thing that ever happened to me, food-issue-wise was celiac disease. Now there's none of this "can't have this, it will make me fat". It's "food is medicine, if it's healthy for me, I will eat it."

RK Fire

I literally have just gone through a brief phase where I was like "OMG, why do I even both with photos, I should just wear a big paper bag and avoid them for the rest of my life" the last time I got tagged in a photo on facebook. Part of it is the whole body fat percentage thing--even though I do a lot of weightlifting, I'm not as naturally svelte as many other women in my gym (or many other oly lifters, for that matter, so I can oscillate fairly quickly between "fuck you all, I have put 100 lbs over my head" and "oh god please don't judge me for being squishy when I wear tank tops." Craziness is the exact word to describe how I feel sometimes.

I tell myself that I don't need to be attractive to all men, all the time, forever, and all of that good jazz but it is, as always, a work in progress.

roadtrips

@RK Fire Yes This! Grrrr, the fact that there is something that makes us think that we have to be this fake ideal that would supposedly appeal to all men! Oh, it makes me so angry, and I do it too! For a long time (and I still actively fight against this) I thought that if someone was interested in me it was a fluke, or a mistake - it couldn't be because I was actually... attractive in some way? Don't even get me started on the fact that how a man looks is actually a fairly small part of what I am attracted to - and yet, it's almost impossible for me to imagine that it would work both ways. That perhaps who you are could be as much of a factor as what you look like.

RK Fire

@roadtrips: Oh, I still struggle with this, and I have only been able to feel comfortable enough with admitting it. but seriously, whenever people do compliment my appearance in real life, I think that it must be because a) they're just being polite to me because they are a friend, b) they are creepers and hit on everyone or c) something is seriously fucked up with their sense of aesthetics.

That's a really fucked up way to think, you know? Even if any of that is true, it still makes more sense to take people at their word. However, that is totally my initial, internal reaction to compliments.

H.E. Ladypants

@RK Fire Yeah, I hate that back and forth. I oscillate between being very, "fuck yeah, my body is awesome, look at me backpack for four days in a row" and cringing at back fat in photos. Crazy is exactly that feeling.

What I hate, hate, hate is the voice inside my head that rages and hates fat shaming and all the harmful negative body imagery, etc., etc., and then quietly follows it up with, "but it's different for you. You need to be thin. And you could do better if you just worked harder."

Ugh. Shut up you crazy, hypocritical little voice.

madge

@H.E. Ladypants i have this voice, too. it is truly a dick.

RK Fire

@H.E. Ladypants: Yes! That is totally the voice I have too. Jerkbrain, indeed.

roadtrips

@H.E. Ladypants Thirded. :/

redheaded&crazy

All of this, yes.

OxfordComma

@RK Fire : YES to the strong and also not svelte! IT'S IRRITATING.

Because I could benchpress most of the dudes in my office, but my body doesn't *look* like it *could*, and I just want to cry sometimes.

Even though I know that I am crazy strong, I just wish it showed a little more.

DUMB BRAIN PLEASE STFU.

RK Fire

@OxfordComma: YESSSSSSS.

Also because I go to a crossfit/strength gym, sometimes I even all like "ugh, I'm like this and I'm not even the strongest woman (even for my bodyweight) at the gym WHY GOD OH WHYYYY" but you know, again, jerkbrain. Progress is the important part, etc..

OxfordComma

@RK Fire : I do Crossfit, too! And trying to focus on progress--WHY IS IT SO HARD.

dtowngirl

@RK Fire I have the exact same voice in my head. I work out regularly, am not overweight, yet I still judge myself far more than I should. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I actually had an emotional breakdown last week when the dress I wanted to wear felt tight on me. It's a pretty constant battle between body-crazy and sanity for me, and I actually feel like I have pretty good self-esteem. Why is it so hard?!

madge

@dtowngirl it just is. it's our generation's battle to fight and win, like our mom and grandmas and further back lady ancestors had their battles to fight and win.

we can do it!! TEAM!

PistolPackinMama

@RK Fire Ohhhh, pictures. I hate them. And mirrors. If I am not looking in the mirror or at photos, I am usually OK.

WaityKatie

I recently had a phone conversation/argument with my mom, who believes that she (at 69 years old) needs to lose weight because she's "up to" 115 pounds. And her "fat stomach" is so "ugly" because of all this "extra" weight on it. My whole life I always thought my mom hated my body and wanted me to lose weight because it was so different from hers - she has the tiny petite "French maiden" looking body and I have more of the big torso- husky "German fraulein" look. But that conversation made me realize that she has been doing the same body-hate thing to herself, probably forever, despite the fact that she always had the "ideal body type" in my mind, and her body-hate directed at me was really probably just spillover of the body-hate she directs at herself. It was both depressing and kind of a revelation.

Leanne

@WaityKatie Totally. Typical conversation heard for all thirty one years of my life:
Leanne Mom, to Leanne: why are you so hard on yourself? You are beautiful!
Leanne Mom, to self: I used to weigh 102 lbs! I'm so disgusting! I never used to have this roll around my stomach. I'm ashamed of myself.

Welp. End.

clarkie

@WaityKatie Yes. This is my mom, too, and these are her values. I'm never going to be as skinny as her, and she's never going to be skinny enough for herself. She doesn't like anyone's body, I don't think. Especially not her own. I am terrified to have daughters because I know those values are now somewhere in me too and I don't want to see them come out.

madge

@clarkie they're in all of us, because our culture is sexist. just like racist values are in all of us because of our racist culture. that is what it is, and unavoidable.

whether they come out or not is up to us, though!

redheaded&crazy

@WaityKatie My mom is also like this! She is so skinny and it's like, effortless seemingly? I mean it's not, she eats way less than I do, but she hasn't passed on her body type at all to me and my sister.

Moms. MOMS. MOMMMMMMMS.

bocadelperro

@clarkie my grandmother was like that. She constantly harped on my mothers' and my appearance (we are small, stocky and round-shouldered), while praising my aunt, brother and cousins (tall, angular and thin). This got worse as her dementia set in. The last time I saw her, she blurted out "what is wrong with your face?" I decided at that point that I was through, and got up and walked away. I hate her deeply for many reasons, but this is the one that always rankles.

maybe partying will help

@redheaded&crazie

Moms, for serious. Once mine told my sister (who actually looks like a supermodel, for real) that she probably shouldn't wear that two-piece bathing suit. It's so strange to hear her say things about weight and the way we look, because she raised us to...almost be ashamed of caring about that. And at the same time she will say we're not fit enough to wear this, or tell me that my haircut is too masculine.

Koko Goldstein

@WaityKatie Oh man. My fiance's 89 year old grandmother constantly talks about how fat she is and how she needs to lose weight. If I am worried about how much I weigh at 89 I will just want to jump off the planet.

noodge

@WaityKatie my mom is the same, she just can't let go of the 15 lbs she gained post-menopause, which took her to a whopping 115 at the age of 72. she's so intelligently independent in most ways, but then she'll go on about that and it kinda blows my mind.

Megasus

@WaityKatie I have a friend whose Mom is like this, and is basically one of those exercise anorexics.
I grew up with a single Dad, and basically did not have that many body hangups until he got together with my ex-stepmom, who was a bundle of body hangups.

WaityKatie

@clarkie I feel like I would probably overcompensate in the other direction, and be like, "You're not allowed to care about your appearance! Stop exercising! Eat this cake!" Either way I'm not gonna risk it.

WaityKatie

@Koko Goldstein Not to mention that it's probably dangerous for people of advanced age to weigh too little. I tried to use this argument on my mom, but she responded with "but how can it be healthy to have all this ugly fat around my stomach?" Facepalm.

MilesofMountains

@maybe partying will help My mom is the same. She tries to be positive and supportive, but has serious issues with her own body thanks to my grandmother, so for every three "you look wonderful just the way you are" there's a "do you really think you need to go back for seconds". Sometimes I think the whiplash makes it worse because it comes out of left field.

OxfordComma

@bocadelperro : Good on you for walking away. You are better than that bullshit. *highfive*

maybe partying will help

@MilesofMountains

Yeah, I think at a certain point I expected those sorts of comments to go away. Like, we're grown-ups now, we get to talk about grown-up things like books and traveling and not pick at each other because Mom will respect that now that her daughters are grown-ups, they get to inhabit their bodies and not be nagged or shamed. Ho ho ho. If only.

WaityKatie

@maybe partying will help Haha, my mom recently also told me that my interests of books and traveling were not "real hobbies," and demanded that I get some real hobbies. It's still better than hearing her talk about my weight, though, I'll give her that.

bocadelperro

@OxfordComma: Thanks. My grandmother was a piece of work, I tell you. Luckily, I was pretty shielded from it, and had a lot of awesome, supportive female role models in my life (in the form of my other grandmother, my mother, and my lovably crazy great-aunts).

The best part about this story is that it happened in German, which none of her nurses spoke, and so nobody had any idea why I just got up and walked off.

queenofbithynia

@WaityKatie yeah, my mom is 75 and likes to go out and fall down on her icy steps like five times a winter. Her other hobby is complaining about being fat, as she has done for the 32 years since I was born. I tell her, so, you realize if you were thin you would have sixteen broken hips from FALLING DOWN ALL THE TIME by now, right? but it has no effect.

schmuhl

@WaityKatie I think we have the same mother! Same age, same weight, same complaints!!

carolita

@WaityKatie Ha, I was skinny all my life, TOO skinny sometimes, and then one day I started exercising, basically because I looked around at my family, who were a bunch of (self-described) "buttless wonders", and decided I was going to grow me an ass. So I did all these glute exercises, seriously went for it, and it took years! But I finally got a butt. It's not J.Lo's butt, but it's a butt and I'm happy I have it! :) But one day, I'm over at my mom's house, and she looks at me in this plaid skirt I'm wearing -- and this is the woman who used to drag me down to the basement to show me pictures of skeletons in anatomy books and say, "This is what you're going to end up like if you don't eat your dinner! -- she says, "I don't know WHERE you got that caboose!" A caboose? Yeah, okay, you wanna talk about crazy? You wanna talk about not being able to do anything right? Some moms exist solely to make you crazy, I think.

TheLetterL

@WaityKatie I have turned and walked away from my mother in a store when she started bitching (again, again) about her body. It felt good.

That said, my parents are everyone's parents on this thread and I still struggle with it. Appearance-related compliments had to do with the clothes I was wearing, the highest being "That slims you right down!" It makes me sad to read about everyone's grandmas, though. Whatever she did or did not pass along to my mother, she was the only person who could tell me "You look beautiful" without me hearing the unsaid "for a fattie."

HoliandIvy

@WaityKatie
My grandmother (unlike my mom) never said ONE THING about my looks ever: good or bad. She liked me for who I am.
I miss her.

OxfordComma

@HoliandIvy : That's...amazing. Wow.

Nicole Cliffe

It's so fitting that I'm reading this on a recumbent bike while looping "Call Me Maybe" like a goddamn fool.

anachronistique

@Nicole Cliffe Be less crazy, Carly Rae! Don't give that boy your number! You just met him!

Lily Rowan

@anachronistique He's gay anyway.

Xanthophyllippa

@Lily Rowan And in love with your brother.

likethestore

I like my sad, unfulfilling hookups just fine, thanks.

MmeLibrarian

I just had a baby and I was tickled pink to discover that I thought I looked fucking *awesome* the whole time, even when I was two days post c-section, in the hospital, covered in bandages, bruises, and iv ports. I don't know if it was pleasant surprise that I didn't look worse or real live actual happiness about the crazy thing my body had just been through. Now to somehow translate that into feeling good about how I look all of the time.

anachronistique

@MmeLibrarian Mazel tov!

TheBelleWitch

@MmeLibrarian Congrats! I think it's super-sad that pregnancy and labor are so often framed as this body-ruining thing when the response really should be, "daaamn check out this crazy-awesome stuff my body can do"

Edited to add: Not that I have the secret to this attitude adjustment or anything. I wish.

EpWs

@MmeLibrarian Congrats and hooray! (You made a HUMAN, lady. How bout that?)

ETA I am assuming you made a human. If you managed to make something else, I feel like maybe even more congrats are in order?

MmeLibrarian

@TheBelleWitch Here's my current, working theory on the matter - Being pregnant made me feel like a badass. I know that it doesn't have that effect for all pregnant women, but it does for some. So of course it benefits those who want women to hate and fear themselves/their bodies to frame pregnancy as not an empowering experience, but as one that will ruin your body/brain/life. It makes me sad to see women who haven't had babies reject the notion because they fear it, and not because they are making a smart choice that makes sense for them.

But we ladies don't have to get pregnant to feel like badasses, right? I think the key to translating that sensation to a more lasting experience is to do other things that push your body and make you feel strong/special. I have decided that, once I recover, I am going to get even more into yoga than I was before BabyLibrarian arrived. Additional toughness! Watch me stand on my head! Feel my bicep!

TheBelleWitch

@MmeLibrarian This is absolutely brilliant, both the working theory and the general-badassery solution.

TheDragon

I needed to read this. I was a competitive runner all through high school and had pretty much the minimum possible body fat and maximum possible abs for a girl.
However I now am a "workout? it's 99 degrees and I have work at 7 am tomorrow!" and it's showing. I've been having some serious body hate.
Thanks pin for teaching me to be a girl, and a strong, confident girl at that.

OxfordComma

@The Kendragon : You are awesome just the way you are.

TheDragon

@OxfordComma Thank you. I'm pretty sure we all are. You can't enjoy the Pin unless you're awesome

cecil hungry

@The Kendragon OMG, this is me. Except sub in "soccer midfielder." I always thought I had this amazing metabolism until I messed up my knee and had to quit. Turns out I have a really terrible metabolism, and I've added 40 lbs in the last 5 years and it KILLS me. I was honestly probably too thin in high school, but I just can't love the way I look now (but am also too weak-willed and lazy to actually do anything about it. I love food and hate exercise). It's the worst. (Nobody else has ever really said anything about it but sometimes the shame of looking at old pictures of my thin, gorgeous self overwhelms me. Where did she go?)

effystonem

@cecil hungry Ughhh this is me, too! For no discernible reason, as a late teen/early twenties person I had distinctive abs even though I never exercised, as well as a lovely thin stomach and a fairly slender yet curvy figure in general. I have a pretty good metabolism, but due to office settings in my post-college years, I haven't made great food choices (plus I LOVE FOOD, so even when things aren't too terribly bad for you, it's still not good to eat them ALL THE TIME like I do) and I loathe working out. I think if I could trick myself into doing something fun as exercise - like tennis or some other game - I would peel off pounds, but no one ever wants to actually commit to playing with me (although this being Southern California, everyone happily offers to hike with me. FUCK HIKING. I hate it). Anyway, I basically avoid FB for many reasons, but mostly because there are tons of photos of me from college, only 5 years ago, being pretty and thin and it makes me sad and disgusted with myself (which somehow only makes me want to delve into a bottle of wine or a bowl of mac and cheese, which obviously makes matters worse). I even hide from parties sometimes when I know a bunch of people form college will be there, because they will see how much of a fatty I am now.

OxfordComma

@effystonem : Being as you're in SoCal (hey, neighbor!), you should czech out Cirque School LA

I take handbalancing there, and the Acrofit and Aerial Fit classes will kick your ass--but they are SO MUCH FUN.

mystique

About 5-6 years ago, I read that a theory that the amount of brain space a woman devotes to her body is set up by the media as a way to take away brain space focused on their career, dreams, how to make jetpacks, etc. This BLEW MY MIND and every time I had a body image thought after that, I tried to redirect it to thinking about college/career/daydreams of hanging out with Mindy Kaling. Though sometimes I'll just nitpick on a small thing about my appearance (like my secret double chin you guys don't tell anyone it's a secret) that no one else really cares about, but seems like the one thing keeping me from being happy -- which is actually part of the principle I stated above -- but then I'll watch The Daily Show and forget about it.

WaityKatie

@mystique Kind of a corollary to Chomsky's theory that professional sports are a way to absorb all the time, passion, and intelligence of the masses, to prevent them from fomenting revolution.

pterodactgirl

@mystique Shhh. What secret double chin? I definitely don't have one of those.

Nicole Cliffe

@mystique It's actually completely true. Sometimes I think "if I hadn't bothered to memorize the carb count in all foods available on the planet, I could probably have pretty decent conversational Mandarin by now."

geek_tragedy

@mystique YES!!! This has always been my theory! I blew up at my parents one day when I was sixteen and shouted: "I'm not going to write the great fucking American novel if I'm constantly thinking about gaining weight!!!!!" and ran off into a field next to our house. They were...perplexed, but really toned down the rhetoric after that.

yeah-elle

I'm so crazy in the head about this, I don't even know where to start. I struggle with an (in recovery [???]) eating disorder and at the same time, my natural form is slim and more or less conventionally hot (which makes my skin crawl to type) and I hate to admit it, but when my self-esteem and body image start to claw at rock-bottom, my first line of self-reassurance is "But your body is conventionally attractive!" which just reinforces all my negative and narrow ideas about physical attractiveness, ughhhhhhhhhhhh and then the self-loathing just compounds with another layer.

OxfordComma

@yeah-elle : Recovery blows, doesn't it? Because honestly, being in the middle of an ED is...kinda comfortable in its predictability.

You are stronger than this. And it's awesome that you're admitting where you are. Keep going, lady. ♥

Judith Slutler

@yeah-elle You can do it. Go to therapy, sort that shit out, kick its ass. Things will still be complicated but seriously. It will be better.

yeah-elle

@Emmanuelle Cunt @OxfordComma Thanks for the support! I'm in a weeeird place right now, that weird place where it's been 8 years since my last hospitalization and about 5 years since the last time I was in outpatient treatment, and everyone thinks I'm "okay" (??? WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN). And I do my best as far as behavior goes, most of the time. Every few months, I go through a period of restriction before I force myself to realize how much I don't want to lose my independence right now...but my BRAIN, man. My brains are nuts all the time. It's constant self-loathing, second-guessing everything I eat, examining and picking apart my body, taking forever to leave the house because I don't want anyone to see me, etc. Aaaand this was an essay. A huge, confessional essay.

But basically: thanks. Support always helps!

OxfordComma

@yeah-elle : "Okay" is such a lie. I know for a fact that I will be fighting my ED for the rest of my life.

I have recently come to a place of peace with that fight--because if I *know* that the monsters are under the bed, I can arm myself accordingly and beat the shit out of them when they rear their heads.

(Although this doesn't always work...)

If it helps?

I completely understand where you're coming from. I'm still there myself much of the time.

BUT. We are more than our bodies. We shall overcome. :)

Judith Slutler

@yeah-elle Yeah bottom line... it's a process. You may NEVER be done. But anything is better than just knuckling under and letting it take over. Get it girl.

@OxfordComma It makes me so happy that violent metaphors are apparently part of your attitude toward it too.

And now I kind of want to get a tattoo of a dead monster with its head chopped off and a bunch of arrows stuck in it.

OxfordComma

@Emmanuelle Cunt : RAWR, MOTHERFUCKER. RAWR!

yeah-elle

@OxfordComma @Emanuelle Cunt WORD. It's so heartening (in a kind of backwards way?) to hear from other people who understand that it's ALWAYS an ongoing process. I once had a therapist who told me that I was being a little melodramatic by thinking I'd never be "cured" of my eating disorder. Maybe she thought I was undermining her ability as a therapist? But I know I'll never be truly rid of this disorder—it's just a matter of showing it who's boss. Rawr, motherfucker, INDEED.

OxfordComma

@yeah-elle : ...If I made t-shirts or bracelets that said this, would you want one?

PistolPackinMama

@yeah-elle Hey there. I am unconventionally attractive. Or conventionally unattractive. And you know... just don't worry about what you have to tell yourself to keep your head above water.

When you are ready to let go of the narrow ideas of physical beauty because you don't need them any more to keep yourself on your ED recovery, people like me will still be here and we'll be OK.

I refuse to let the patriarchy divide and conquer on this, yo. Fuck that.

yeah-elle

@PistolPackinMama Ahhh, internet hugs.

The insidious thing about my disordered thinking is that I have made great strides in celebrating and appreciating all kinds of beauty, both conventional, unconventional, fuck-conventional-so-much beauty, all of it. And it's brought me a lot of joy. Just when it comes to my stupid self, that voice won't shut up. Which hugely undermines all my other thinking. Poop.

madge

@yeah-elle the voice may never shut up ... but maybe you can learn to stop listening to it.

Stacy Worst

@yeah-elle This is interesting because I am all to familiar with the inverse line of thinking. As a kid I was smart and, for my age, an almost-prodigy at some things. I was also kind of fat. My ego was completely built up around my alleged intelligence and talent, and yet... my reflexive thought, when I thought of something I had accomplished, was "yeah, but I'm fat". Everything else was irrelevant in the face of that.

yeah-elle

@Sister Administrator When I think of grown women struggling with this, it makes me sad, but when I think of CHILDREN dealing with it, it makes me SPITTING MAD.

SultanPepper

@yeah-elle I used to have the exact same voice in my head, until one day my dad was harping on me about my weight (I'm thin, but I have major cellulite, which to him = fatty), and something inside me that used to care just...snapped.

And suddenly I was able to look at him and his poor, sad, narrow thinking and beam and say, "THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, NOT MINE."

And since that day, I have stopped caring. I will look the way I look, and I will live a happy life and if the way I look upsets you, you should probably discuss it with your therapist or another paid professional. Me? I'll be the dimply-assed girl having a great time, without a care in the world.

PistolPackinMama

@SultanPepper Am I off base for just... REALLY not liking it when dads have things to say about daughter's weights in a pejorative way?

I mean, the thing that codes as "sexually valuable" is just not a dad's business to comment on in a "you're not good enough" way. Or any way, really. That is not how dads should be conceptualizing their daughters.

I mean, that is not how anyone should value anyone else, really. But fathers who are saying to their daughters "I am displeased with you because you are not sexy enough?"

God almighty. No.

Nicole Cliffe

You are correct, it is disgusting. Dads, memorize this phrase: "You are beautiful to me in every way."

Repeat when there's a pause in the conversation, then STFU.

timesnewroman

@all I read this personal essay on eating disorders the other day and liked it, some of you may as well:

http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/on-anorexia.html

(Particularly pertinent to Oxford Comma's comment about "monsters")

OxfordComma

@timesnewroman : Oh, man, that conversation she writes about?

Happens in my head ALL THE TIME.

Sometimes healthy wins.
Sometimes the ED does.

Honestly, I'm just trying to get to a point where I don't question everything I eat. It *is* craziness. And I am sorry, Hiroine Protagonist--that is the correct and accurate word for this.

playingpossum

@Sister Administrator Oh God oh God - are you me? I still think this ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!
Fat negates every success I have and all the love that surrounds me. I am utter shame personified.
And I can't seem to stop it because the truth is I AM FAT!!!

ThisLittlePiggy

Ugh, thank you! This is so timely. I have a story from only yesterday...

I was having lunch with my Good Friend (GF) and her older Sister (Sis). The two of them don't get along all that well, but they're both getting married this year (whole other drama) and S is GF's maid of honor. I'm a bridesmaid. I'm not friends with Sis at all, but we know each other and generally get along. Anyway.

We're having lunch at a diner. It's about 100 degrees outside in NYC, and both GF and I are freeboobing it in sundresses. We look good. But Sis keeps giving GF a hard time about going braless, just making inane little jabs and making these crazy-eyes to imply that what GF is doing is wrong or weird, all in a joke-y way but still, pretty annoying.

After a few "jokes" I say, "hey, look, there is nothing wrong with not wearing a bra, especially in this heat." And then Sis says, "yeah, but your boobs are literally half the size of GF's, haha!" GF kinda of laughs, but stops when she sees me just sort of look down and frown. I say "uh, what?" And Sis replies, "Actually, probably more like a quarter the size." I just look away, and GF says, "let's not go there." And the convo carries on.

WTF!!!

She basically managed to bodyshame us BOTH at the same time. GF is a curvy gal, and she has very large breasts - which Sis was shaming for being "too big" and "inappropriate." I have a small frame, but helllooo I'm a 32D! So it's not like I'm lacking boobage, but she was certainly trying to make me feel as though my breasts were small...which they aren't! And if they were, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, too! So the whole thing is just bullsh*t!

Sigh. But then, this is the same Sis who, when bridesmaids dress shopping, refused to try on any dresses because she was offended that the J Crew people said she was a size 14. So she kept trying to squeeze into the 8, and then got mad and left.

redheaded&crazy

@ThisLittlePiggy Good riddance. Ugh I hate spending time with people who I wouldn't want to spend time with. Ya know? Like, in this situation you have to spend some time with her! It makes me feel very grateful that I don't spend a lot of time around people like this. What can you even do except brush your shoulders off, right?

ThisLittlePiggy

@redheaded&crazie Exactly! And I have to be at least cordial, because it's the right thing to do, but also for my sanity. I see nothing to gain from opposing her, especially because we have a bachelorette party to plan and all, but there is def a part of me that's like "maybe I can change you...maybe I can set you free." Cue self-acceptance montage.

redheaded&crazy

@ThisLittlePiggy Oh yeah true, I have thought this "LET ME SHOW YOU THE LIGHT". It's so weird because I'm used to talking to women like on the hairpin, or my feminist-y body accepting-y friends, so it totally throws me off guard to meet somebody who isn't like that. But really, is me arguing with this person going to help them? Probably not. What approach even can I take? aaaaaieeee.

EpWs

@ThisLittlePiggy WHAT. That is just offensive in ALL the ways, what the hell? And girl, as someone who is in a bridesmaid potential drama situation, I know how it feels to have to keep the peace and stay friends with all involved, at least through the wedding. You kept your cool much better than I could have! (Also, as a fellow 32D-at-least-sometimes, RESPECT for your freeboobing self.)

Also, sidebar. Bridesmaids' dress sizes are WHACK. This could be said for the entire wedding industry, actually. Can I get an amen?

ThisLittlePiggy

@redheaded&crazie Exactly! It's like you're talking to somebody and thinking, "okay, we're all people here, we get it" and then they say something like "...and we all know that the moon landing was faked." And they look at you, fully anticipating that you will share the same wacky beliefs. She body shamed us, and then got confused when I didn't play along, a la: "oh yaaa omg my titties are so tiny and hers are so FAT AND GROSS." She expected that sort of affirmation! To reference the article, THE PATRIARCHY IS COMING FROM INSIDE HER HEAD! Maybe I will get my revenge by never wearing a bra in front of her ever again. And then being like "yeah, you couldn't pull this off. Because you have low self-image. Tis a pity." And then I shimmy.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher - I KNOW!! There was no part of it that was good or right. This has happened a few times as of late, with the wedding-keep-the-peace-God-is-testing-me thing. And yeah, bridesmaids dress sizing IS whack! AMEN I SAY!

Mira

@redheaded&crazie My favorite is a big grin and "I think you/I/we/she look(s) great!" Repeat as necessary.

Usually the critical lady just looks at me weirdly, but I like to think I'm planting a seed? Who knows.

ThisLittlePiggy

@Mira That's pretty genius. YOU'RE A PRETTY GENIUS.

Mira

@ThisLittlePiggy WE ARE ALL PRETTY GENIUSES, AND DAMN IT, WE LOOK GREAT.

PistolPackinMama

@ThisLittlePiggy Oh my god. Does that not just make you want to say "hey, let's play the really fun game of hide and go fuck yourself?" Because that was some masterful meanness. Jeesus.

Hiroine Protagonist

Can we talk about ableism?

frigwiggin

@Hiroine Protagonist What do you want to say?

Judith Slutler

@Hiroine Protagonist I kind of agree but then again I am legit crazy about my body image and it is an integral part of my clinically diagnosed craziness, so it kinda resonates.

frigwiggin

@Hiroine Protagonist Ah, was it the use of "crazy" you were talking about? I thought it might be but didn't want to assume. I have been trying to temper my own use of it in everyday language (no more "whoa, that guy is crazy!" or "that's such a crazy thing that happened!") but I don't feel comfortable calling other people out on it.

Hiroine Protagonist

@frigwiggin It's not mental illness to respond to the prompting and programming of a culture with concern and dread. It's not "crazy" to acknowledge that the power structure of this society rewards a very narrow set of physical characteristics and punishes those who don't fall within that range. We are not mentally ill. People living with mental illness can manifest symptoms this way, because it's a dominant theme in our society, but women aren't just crazy, damn it! These are rational responses to massive amounts of bullshit! And calling everyone crazy reduces our agency, our autonomy and trivializes the experience of living with mental illness. I'm sure intentions are good etc, but intention: they're not magical. The author needs to re-think her political analysis and her approach.

sarah girl

@Hiroine Protagonist I can also see an issue, because a lot of the body-positive rhetoric focuses on "It doesn't matter how your body looks, because it is awesome and can help you carry things and run and jump and be strong!"

If, for whatever reason, your body is NOT capable of those things, I can see that it would be quite alienating. Like, well, okay, I don't love how my body looks AND it doesn't "work" - what's left?

madge

@Hiroine Protagonist i hear you and i think i understand your point of view. what i am pointing to is not "crazy people" but a subjective feeling of craziness -- of being overwhelmed with negative emotions you don't want to feel, having a serious gap between what you feel and what you want to feel, and somehow falling into patterns of behavior and thought that you don't want to fall into.

many women on this thread have expressed that they feel crazy about their bodies. i'm hoping we can talk about techniques to shut those feelings down or at least sidestep them so they don't occupy so much of our brains/energy/time.

i don't think that crazy always means mental illness, do you?

Hiroine Protagonist

@madge I really really really do. It is referencing a mind state that is represented as negative and uncontrollable and easily deployed to have the person labelled that way dismissed and dismissable. It minimizes the problem to call it crazy. These are not crazy thoughts. They aren't. They are reasonable, on a scale of course, responses to a really fucked up view of the world. I'm pretty sure we're on the same page of the root of this, word choice is really important here. You're also making crazy (which yes, means mental illness) to be the most negative undesirable thing. It's a crappy word that's been used like a weapon at so many women. Is a woman depressed because she's confined to a few professions and not allowed to have her own chequebook "crazy"? Or is that a rational and human response to the trampling of her autonomy? Second wave feminism was founded on the idea that no, that wasn't crazy, society was carelessly and cruelly exerting the power of its hierarchy and that cruelty had consequences, in real terms, on women's health and happiness.

You can say all this without making crazy more stigmatized and without falling into the "women be crazy" trap that is so commonly hurled at us and while asserting that patriarchal capitalism has a hell of a lot to answer for. Without making us irrational or weak.

madge

@Hiroine Protagonist i hear what you are saying ... and i do think that we are on the same page in a larger sense, but i am talking about something different. i am not calling women crazy. i am calling the way we think about ourselves crazy. and it's not genetic, it's infectious. so if we want to change the way the world is, we need to take it on.

at this point, we (relatively privileged western women) are held back by our (conditioned and hurtful) thoughts at least as much as by external forces in the culture. i contend that taking on the things that make us feel crazy inside our own heads is actually the best way we can effect change in the culture.

i'm sorry to use a word that is loaded for you and for others, i'm sure. but i do think that, because it resonates with the way so many women subjectively feel, it is the right word.

Hiroine Protagonist

@madge I'm really sorry you feel that way. That's disappointing.

Hiroine Protagonist

@madge I'm really disturbed that this is going on. I urge you to read this and think about how you are continuing to pathologize women's responses to oppression.

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/were-all-mad-here-race-gender-and-mental-illness-in-pop-culture

Judith Slutler

@Hiroine Protagonist I have so much trouble with this conversation and I really don't know what side I come down on. Partly I think, what ISN'T pathological (not pathologized, pathological) about starving ourselves, over exercising, wanting to hide our perfectly acceptable bodies, passing on body hatred to our kids, all that stuff? It's all a horrifying response to a horrifying culture.

But also, I guess describing those responses as "crazy" is a double edged sword. For me "ah I'm just being crazy" is a comforting thought, reminding me that my brain is kind of a jerk and maybe I should just calm down about things a little. Calling body image worries "crazy" can also sound dismissive though.

In any case, yes a loaded word. It's one I am ok reclaiming, but that doesn't mean I think everyone else has to be ok with it.

Oh, squiggles

Just to chime in, perhaps needlessly...

Crazy is a word. And it does have different meanings for different people. I know it has been used in very bad contexts for invalidating women, and also as a casually cruel way of referring to those who are suffering from mental illness. But the English language kinda sucks. Most words have to do the work of 2 or 3 or more. And people being the unique snowflakes that they are, also add on their own personal interpretation of words, so that they end up meaning a myriad of things.

So maybe it wasn't the right word for everyone, but it seems to have been the right word for the author. I don't think it is hurting anyone in this context provided we make the effort to understand the meaning the author intended.

Hiroine Protagonist

@Awesomely Nonfunctional

While that's a very soothing viewpoint, it isn't really accurate. Words may have different meanings for different people but it doesn't mean they don't have one meaning the culture generally agrees on, otherwise people can't communicate. Do you also say that about racial slurs? Come on. And ultimately, this isn't about a word, it's about ignoring the history of women's struggle for rights. What's the oldest, most surefire way to marginalize women? Call them crazy. Or hysterical. Or other words that imply a medical condition to explain a phenomenon that has some very concrete roots. Advertising anyone? Psychological manipulations to make women want to buy things to make themselves feel better? It's not some woman's disease that just keeps happening for some reason. And feminism might not battle it perfectly, but political awareness of how much money is made of your so-called "craziness" and how convenient it is to the existing power structures and how it saps women's ability to fight back are potent weapons against this infantilizing and disempowering way of dealing with the true effects of capitalism and the kyriarchy. Which, yes, I get people here aren't really into getting into a lot, by and large - but when stuff like this comes up and SO MANY WOMEN are grateful for a space to finally hold some of their feeling, their legitimate feelings of being under attack, BECAUSE THEY ARE then we should really look at why words and our history matter. Not everybody has access to this information. Not everyone is aware of the history of feminism and being viewed as mentally ill and then having agency removed. We have to do better.

And here's another opinion on the worthiness of individual attempts to subvert a fat hating culture - and a woman hating one too, I might add.

http://onegirlrhumba.tumblr.com/post/24580327473/on-loving-your-body

adorable-eggplant

@Hiroine Protagonist I totally get this feeling too. Crazy is not quite so loaded as, hmm, let's see... hysterical, but it's in the same ballpark of talking about the mental fallout of living in a patriarchal world as a weakness particular to women.

But I have a lot of sympathy for what I think the author is trying to say, about how we don't have a choice about whether we live in a patriarchal society, but we do have a choice about whether we become enforcers or perpetrators in our own lives. For me, it makes sense thinking in terms of the cycle of alcoholism. Say I grew up in that environment, it makes me more likely to drink myself and/or marry an alcoholic, but instead I could choose to get educated and work through my associated pain and not repeat those behaviors. The damage happens, but then it's time to reprogram. And if the damage keeps happening then just keep reprograming. One day a time, as they say.

Passion Fruit

@Sarah H. YES, exactly. It should be, "Look at how much your body can DO" because what if your body can't?

It should be, "You are a human being, and you have inherent dignity and worth. You are respected as a member of this communal species." No explanations, no apologies.

Passion Fruit

@Passion Fruit

Meant to say, "It should NOT be, "Look at how much your body can DO." Whoops!

jenjenjen

@Hiroine Protagonist Thanks for bringing up this point because it's one that didn't strike me immediately. Unlike if someone says "that's so retarded" or something along those lines. But at the same time, I don't think crazy always implies mental illness. I think it can also just mean irrational. As in "I'm crazy about you" or "I'm crazy about Olympic swimming." And so if the effects of media/patriarchy/whatever make us look at and treat out bodies in unhealthy ways, despite the fact we as self-aware, discerning, and insightful women - I think we can say that it is irrational. And that we feel crazy because of it. Because I KNOW I shouldn't restrict what I eat, or throw up what I eat, in order to fit some idealized fiction of beauty, and that my value is not based on what my scale tells me, but I may do it anyway. And maybe it's not MY fault I have these thoughts, but I think I have the right to label my thoughts as aberrations that I'd prefer to purge from my mind. Now that doesn't give me the right to tell some other woman that she is crazy. But if I say that my OWN thoughts are crazy, in recognition that they are irrational and often externally imposed, I don't think this is continuing in the pattern of maligning and disempowering women.

jenjenjen

@jenjenjen Also sorry that was an essay and possibly didn't make sense buttt I'm trying to describe what I perceive as a subtle difference in multiple uses of the word, which might not even exist haha.

Xanthophyllippa

@madge I agree with you wholeheartedly -"crazy" doesn't always mean "mentally ill" just as "lame" doesn't always mean "has mobility challenges." The "definitions change" argument has already been mentioned, but I do think it's worthwhile still to note that terms like "crazy" or "lame" have been detatched from their use as formal medical diagnoses and entered a more common usage to describe general emotions/reactions. The problem isn't so much that we're collectively ableist and dismissive as a culture (we can argue that another time) as it is that we have a woefully uncreative vocabulary that doesn't always capture nuance.

I agree with @madge that "crazy" is the right term here, because it certainly describes the analogues between what I used to feel when I looked in the mirror and burst into tears and took some pretty irrational approaches to eating *and* the descriptions of mental illness I've read. This doesn't mean seeing the term in this context won't be hurtful to some who have different experiences/interpretations, but that potential offense shouldn't have to mean that we revert back to that now-outdated (and inaccurate) medical definition as the exclusive use of "crazy" or "lame."

Especially since those usages themselves are ableist and dismissive, since they lump the mildly depressed in with the dangerously psychopathic with no attention to nuance, exact diagnoses, different symptoms - exactly the sort of problem that was present in earlier approaches to psychology and psychiatry.

slutberry

@Hiroine Protagonist Ariel of the Offbeat Empire has some really, really great posts about language choices, and how different words mean different things for different people. I'd encourage you to start with this post: http://offbeatbride.com/2011/03/egg-shells and jump around the links for a while, just to get a more thorough picture of what's going on.

I agree with @Xanthophyllippa and @madge that "crazy" works with body issues, because damn, my eating disorder IS a mental disorder, and it makes me crazy.

puppies

@Hiroine Protagonist Thanks for this. I think I see what the author is trying to get at, but words are important and I wish she'd taken a bit more care with them.

Also, "Ask a Sane Person"?! Editors, couldn't you have found something less insulting to tag this post with?

Xanthophyllippa

@puppies In sharp contrast, I read "Ask A Sane Person" and my immediate reaction was, "Oh, thank you - FINALLY!"

OxfordComma

@madge : It is the right word for me, that is for damned sure.

Alexmen

I read "Ask A Sane Person" and my immediate reaction was, "Oh, thank you - FINALLY!"...Flat Fee MLS Florida

Alexmen

, I read "Ask A Sane Person" and my immediate reaction was, "Oh, thank you - FINALLY!"...List on MLS

Genghis Khat

I am crazy about my body all the time. I am into fat acceptance and am not actively trying to lose weight, but I still totally have the fantasy of being thin and wish it would just happen for me already. I hate how much time I spend agonizing and obsessing about it. I hate seeing pictures of myself because I am both fat and tall, so I look like I'm a separate species from my tiny friends. (And somehow I'm always foregrounded! WHY!?)

In the last year or so I've started hooking it up with men over thirty who seem more realistic about women's bodies and dear god has it helped. I hesitate saying that because I know I should be validating myself from the inside, but hooking up with dudes who will just like, grab my belly roll and bite it or kiss it makes me feel better and more beautiful.

redheaded&crazy

@Genghis Khat Yess with the dating dudes who are super body accepting but ughhh why can't it just be intrinsic aaagh blah.

parallel-lines

This is well timed since I am getting married in a month and am in full meltdown mode about having lost 0 lbs. Does the dress fit? Yes. Will the end result be that at the end of the day, no matter what the scale says, I will be married? Yes. But I still feel like a failure and worry I should have tried harder to look like someone who isn't me at this very moment.

Koko Goldstein

@parallel-lines
Please, hold me!

I am getting married in 3 months and have been telling myself all along I'm going to lose (at least) 20 pounds for the pictures, dress fit, etc. I haven't lost anything. I'm beginning to lose my mind. Aggghh.

noodge

@parallel-lines

i think you're going to look beautiful.

the entire "you must lose weight to be skinny on your wedding day" thing is fucking awful. they're already trying to juggle so much, why would you ask a bride to add something like "weight loss" to her to-do list?

Fuck that noise. f'real. you will look like you on your wedding day, and it will be a beautiful sight, one that your husband and you will cherish forever.

madge

@parallel-lines @Koko Goldstein i am dealing with this too! and it is indeed crazy! can we be a mini be less crazy about your wedding support group?!

@teenie, amen! well said!

noodge

@all: I completely understand where it's coming from - I'm fortunate that I'm, if anything, slightly underweight. But my boobs grow a full size (and shrink a full size) depending on where I am in my cycle, so I have my own anxiety about not wanting small/funny shaped boobies in my unstructured hippie dress, so yeah. I hear it. But really - "fuck that noise" is going to be my mantra when it comes to the growing unrealistic expectations with my wedding. We can make a choral version of it if you'd like to join me.

parallel-lines

@madge I hate that I care about it but I do...I feel like I'm buying into the WIC 150% with this shit.

Dancercise

@teenie
Coming from a conservative Christian background, I think a lot of the "get skinny for your wedding day" pressure from that group is actually "get skinny for your wedding night" pressure. 90% of the people I went to school with who are now getting married are freaking out about "looking good in the dress," when in reality they are concerned about their husbands seeing them naked for the first time. Talk about messed up.

OxfordComma

@parallel-lines : It's totally normal to feel that pressure.

And yes, fuck that noise. You are not a failure for:

A) Feeling said pressure to lose weight

Or

B) Not immediately kicking it to the curb because FEMINISM

Take a breath, go do something you love, even if it means ignoring a wedding to-do chore. You are going to be fine. *hug*

noodge

@OxfordComma

yes, what she said. i don't want anyone to feel bad for... feeling bad either. Fuck that noise, but don't feel bad if you struggle to fuck that noise, ya know? It's caarrraaazzzyyy how much the WIC has infiltrated the most reasonable circles. When you add family pressure to that it's bound to get even more hectic. Our bodies feel like the last bastion of things "within our control" sometimes when we're trying to manage everyone else's expectations about a very momentous occasion, so turning it inwards and starting to freak about our weight/appearance? sounds completely normal. hugs from me too.

(and seriously... fuck that noise, you're gorgeous)

bot
bot

@teenie Ladies, it makes me feel better to hear that other smart feminist ladies have worried about this, and worried about worrying about it! I had a full on freak-out last week, like "Everyone will be SO disappointed that I will just look like regular ol' me! And there will be a million pictures living on in perpetuity of disappointing, non-model-y me! AND I am such a failure of a woman for caring -- and crying! -- about this!" The only resolution I've reached is (1) I'm too busy to be hungry or worrying all the time (and too cheap and ornery for professional makeup and all that), and (2) the people who love me already know what I look like, so I doubt they'll be too too disappointed when I show up looking like that. [Right?!? I hope???]

noodge

@bot ...YES! i mean, have you ever gone to a wedding and been disappointed about how the bride looked? granted I haven't been to many weddings myself (a half dozen or so?) but I know for a fact that every time, I've looked at the bride and MELTED because I know this is such a happy occasion for them! and I think they are glowy and beautiful because of this!

madge

@teenie YES! and the understanding that this weirdness is happening in your brain and being willing to talk about it and not act in accordance with it is, i think, totally the smart feminist thing to do.

parallel-lines

@teenie This is truth, and if someone ever did say something they are the biggest juicebox alive. Ever.

kinbarichan

@parallel-lines: I wanted to lose weight for my wedding, because I felt like... Well, it's just one of those things a bride does, right? So I went into one of those lose-weight chain stores, got weighed, (aaagh, aaagh, TOO MUCH, and the lady wrote the number accusingly in red ink on an index card!) and then was given the sales pitch - it would cost a lot of money, but it would ALL BE WORTH IT because I would be THIN on my wedding day!

And then the lady blew it - when I seemed worried about the cost of the diet plan she asked me, on a scale of one to ten, how much I wanted to lose weight. I thought about it for a minute, and then feebly said, "Um.... seven?" Furious, she jabbed the red number on that index card and shouted, "It HAS to be a TEN! IT HAS TO BE A TEN!!"

And I thought, well, it's not. It's not a ten, so I really don't need to be here, do I?

Since then, I've had lots of things in my life that rank as an absolute, must-do, ten. But weight loss has never been that important to me, and I am grateful to that woman and her scary red fingernails for that epiphany. So maybe you should ask yourself, really honestly, if losing weight for your wedding is a ten for you - compared to everything else, including the person you're marrying, is it a ten? And if it's not, move on and concentrate on the things that are a ten for you. You will feel so much better!

Koko Goldstein

@Dancercise This makes me want to go pounce my fiance right now! Ahh. . .premarital sex, the best!

Scandyhoovian

@all ARGH, the lose-weight-before-the-big-day pressure! I feel it too :( And at the same time, it's like... why am I suddenly feeling it more than I was before? Before I got engaged I was already working on losing weight--to the tune of having lost over half of my ultimate goal (I was really, REALLY overweight, and unhappy about my health), and so why in the hell does getting engaged suddenly ADD to that!? I was already doing it! What!

And then I realized it's because I'm getting BOMBARDED about it from all sides. It's not just the bridal magazines and websites talking about "working out your bridal trifecta" (shoulders, back, arms, for the record) or "lose that last 15 pounds!" or "20 pounds to the perfect wedding body!" or "Bridal boot camp!" or blah blah etc, it's also apparently one of the default questions people ask right next to "Can I see the ring?" and "When is the date?" -- "Do you have a dress yet or are you waiting to lose a few pounds?" "I remember when I got married I didn't eat bread for six months so I'd look great!"

What the hell, people! STOP IT! STOP! AAaaguhhhhh

parallel-lines

@Scandyhoovian When I helped myself to a plate of food at MY OWN BRIDAL SHOWER this weekend I got snide replies from two ladies who couldn't believe I was still eating normally this close to the event, and one asked if I was planning on getting married "looking like that." I said yep, I planned to look like myself and my cousin hi fived me.

Seriously, the nerve of some people.

noodge

@parallel-lines

:-O

good for you for saying what needed to be said. what a couple of dicks. i would be tempted to take them off the guest list.

OxfordComma

@parallel-lines : W.T.F?!?

parallel-lines

@teenie I should probably add that one of them was MY MOTHER, who literally said, "Look at her fill up that plate, good god!"

noodge

@parallel-lines

D-:

There are no words. Next time, tell her she may never see her grandchildren if she keeps it up.

OxfordComma

@parallel-lines : My head just exploded. The FUCK is your ma thinking????

frigwiggin

I am so grateful my mom has never been critical of my body, or of her own body in front of me. I mean, she was happy and supportive when I recently told her I'd started exercising semi-regularly and was riding my bike, but I can't think of an instance where she has ever, ever said anything negative about my weight or my body shape or the food I eat. MOM I LOVE YOU.

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin My brother, on the other hand, made fun of my butt and called me "fat" sometimes, but I don't think that did any lasting damage, as I like my butt and I no longer think of "fat" as a pejorative. BROTHER I LOVE YOU EVEN THOUGH.

hungrybee

@frigwiggin Same here. I love my mom for this. GO, OUR MOMS! (Oh, and my dad, too. Go Dad!)

Judith Slutler

@frigwiggin My mom never did either, yet somehow I vividly remember seeing her get out of the shower and thinking "oh God I hope I never look like her". This is basically the moment when I became anorexic as a teenager. How fucked is that shit that I saw MY MOTHER, THE AWESOME LAWYER AND FEMINIST WHO SUPPORTS ME LIKE WHOA as some kind of cautionary tale because her body wasn't ideal after having popped me and my brother out, gone to law school w/ 2 small children to care for, started her own business, and tended a fucking amazing veggie garden?

So twisted. I feel like I still owe her some kind of apology, though she has no idea and I NEVER would've spoken aloud on what I thought of her weight.

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck

EpWs

@frigwiggin I have a mom like this too! She is the best! She and I both started up Couch to 5k this spring/summer (she a few weeks behind me, but I've kind of fallen off of it and she's catching up) and I am so proud of her for being generally healthy and awesome and an amazing role model of how to keep yourself functioning and working properly without turning yourself into the crazy.

frigwiggin

@hungrybee Go our moms and dads! (Go my dad, too--nary a peep out of him about my body.)

@Emmanuelle Cunt Ahhh, that's the problem. Your mom sounds amazing and awesome, but we are completely not raised in the vacuum of our households, and it's a terrible damn shame that advertising and the beauty standard and all conditioned you to think that about her. I think the fact that you're aware of it, and (it sounds like?) have changed your way of thinking about it, is a good way of making it up, if you feel you have to.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ahh, your mom! This sounds great. My mom has been taking long walks recently on the doctor's orders (she had to get her stamina up before she went in for surgery), and my heart in general overflows with love for her and pride of her. She always encouraged me and my brother to be active and had us try different physical activities (riding bikes together, informal tennis, tumbling, horseback riding), and while I'm a pretty sedentary person now, I'm grateful for those experiences and just learning to have fun being active with other people.

barefoot cuntessa

@frigwiggin On the opposite end of the spectrum, my mom talks more about her weight than most 13 year old girls. My first memories of eating family dinner are of her talking about her diet. I was heavier than the rest of my family, and teased mercilessly about it. My feelings about all that today is FUCK THAT SHIT. Sure, I have a few moments of crazy, but I am fully aware that it is insane and get over it. My shitty experience has given me such an amazing perspective that I'm (almost) not sorry it happened, and really pity the rest of my family for spending valuable energy on what is really utter bullshit.

New Commenter Name

@frigwiggin "I am so grateful my mom has never been critical of my body, or of her own body in front of me."

Your mom is awesome.
I am the mother of two girls, ages 8 and 4. I have consciously made efforts to be exactly how you describe your mom. I want them to know that their bodies are strong and healthy and good.

Countless times growing up I witnessed my own mother looking at her reflection in the mirror, moaning and groaning about being fat, refusing to have her picture taken, harshly criticizing the appearance of everyone she sees. I will not subject my daughters to this. It took me a long time to realize the problem is in her own head. I know I can't change society's expectations and definitions of beauty, but hopefully I can manage to NOT be responsible for fucking up my daughters' self esteem. I am their mother, they need my love and acceptance because they won't often find it among the rest of the world.

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

This song seems highly relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU17oIHGUCc

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

@wamanda I have an Ani Difranco song ready for every situation. ;)

steve

@wamanda
I suppose this would have been too obvious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh0RDba6teY

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

@steve
I am not an obvious girl. That is not what I do.

cosmia

Ughhh I am feeling weird about my body lately too (who isn't?), but kind of for the first time in a really long time? I never cared for awhile because I had friends who generally looked like me, and I was more worried about how my face looked because as a teen I had really bad acne. And then I got older and went to a new, very small college with girls that I see every day who are gorgeous and thin and have celebrity-perfect tiny facial features and I have a strong jawline and a huge nose and really big hips and thighs even though I am small-ish altogether. I also gained like 8ish pounds in the last year which is not that bad but on me it's looking more and more obvious every day to the point where even my mom said something and it made me feel like shit. I am okay with how I look some of the time, because I am hourglass-y even though my boobs are too small for me to be a true hourglass, but every time I try on a pair of pants that used to fit me 2 years ago I die a little inside.

New Commenter Name

@cosmia
Go get yourself a couple pairs of pants that make you look GORGEOUS and wear the hell out of them because you are beautiful, and you need to rock that hourglass because that is some sexy shit!

cosmia

@Curiouser and curiouser This is the sweetest comment, thank you :)

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@cosmia This is so not what I should be saying (because I'm all talk and no action) but I WISH I had an hourglass figure! I keep trying to figure out how to fake it with clothes.

Also, it's perfectly normal for clothes to not fit you after two years. Not because of something you did. Just because it happens. Our lifestyles change (especially during and after college.) Our eating habits change. So our bodies just decide to do what they want, and basically everyone finds themselves not fitting into those pants or putting that dress at the back of the closet or frantically going shopping because what the hell is wrong with every pair of jeans I own, like, seriously

Basically what I'm trying to say is that it happens to all of us, and we all get self-conscious or whatever about it, but we shouldn't. We're just going through something normal because our lives are getting awesomer, and we should be able to see ourselves as awesome!

City_Dater

So good, thank you for this.
And for all you young ladies (the under 30s): the full-on "OMG I AM SO HIDEOUS" nonsense in your brain starts to go away as you get more experienced and accomplish things, things you want to do that have nothing to do with how you look.

angelinha

@City_Dater Yaaaay can't wait!

apb
apb

@City_Dater I wish this were true for all of us. It's a constant, daily struggle for me, still.

WaityKatie

@apb Yep, me three. I'm proud of my accomplishments, but the appearance-insecurity still comes up in the personal life sector. Doesn't help if you were a "smart but UGLY/FAT" kid, just reinforces all those ancient messages every time you get a promotion/write a brilliant (ha) legal argument, etc.

barefoot cuntessa

I have a friend who is fiercely independent, so smart, and as ambitious as it gets. She's amazing, which is why she's my friend and I love her dearly. But it makes me so sad (and kind of sick to my stomach) when she gets gross attention from men and feels the need to tell everyone about it. You can tell she's a little grossed out, but also finds it really fulfilling at the same time. Men objectifying you is not a compliment! It is debasing and disgusting.

madge

@melissamachete oh man, i remember that! for some reason, every time a dude expressed any kind of sexual interest in me, i felt the need to tell everyone. like it was a badge of honor or something. a symbol of what i was worth.

blerg. so sad.

cosmia

@melissamachete I have a friend like this too, and part of it is because she has a huge chest, like an E cup, and has a really tiny waist. It sucked being newly single and hanging out with her because all this guys, gross or otherwise, would hit on her and ignore me and I felt both relieved that I wasn't being catcalled but also depressed that no one preferred me to her.

barefoot cuntessa

@cosmia She sent me a text message while I was on vacation just to tell me about a 60 something year old man saying that he would "keep her up all night" if he were 30 years younger. WHILE SHE WAS AT WORK. After I threw up in my mouth a little bit, I questioned for half a second if I was so disgusted because I was maybe a teensy bit jealous. Then I came back down to earth and realized I was disgusted because it is fucking disgusting, and don't want anything to do with people who give that kind of attention. I got instantly thankful for all the men in my life who are all kinds of respectful and awesome.

madge

@melissamachete aw. she must really not feel like she is attractive. :(

dotcommie

I have to say, I still think Betty Draper looked mind-blowingly beautiful after she "got fat." I wish I could look that put together all the time. And I think she's a fascinating character who often gets treated overly harshly by the critics--sure, she's strict and not necessarily likeable, but let's not forget how horribly she was treated by our darling Don.

That's it for this edition of "moderately off topic." in other news: body acceptance! Will we ever get it?

cosmia

@dotcommie I wanted to punch through bricks when people on the internet were like "LOL BETTY HAHA UR FAT U DESERVE IT." Being fat is not a goddamn punishment. I adore Betty as a character and I really don't understand the intense hatred for her when I find myself being more sympathetic to her than anything. She does cold things sometimes because she's a deeply unhappy person.

bocadelperro

@cosmia "Being fat is not a goddamn punishment. " Yes. This. A Thousand Times This. Let us shout it from the rooftops.

ThisLittlePiggy

@redheaded&crazie Exactly! It's like you're talking to somebody and thinking, "okay, we're all people here, we get it" and then they say something like "...and we all know that the moon landing was faked." And they look at you, fully anticipating that you will share the same wacky beliefs. She body shamed us, and then got confused when I didn't play along, a la: "oh yaaa omg my titties are so tiny and hers are so FAT AND GROSS." She expected that sort of affirmation! To reference the article, THE PATRIARCHY IS COMING FROM INSIDE HER HEAD! Maybe I will get my revenge by never wearing a bra in front of her ever again. And then being like "yeah, you couldn't pull this off. Because you have low self-image. Tis a pity." And then I shimmy.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher - I KNOW!! There was no part of it that was good or right. This has happened a few times as of late, with the wedding-keep-the-peace-God-is-testing-me thing. And yeah, bridesmaids dress sizing IS whack! AMEN I SAY!

ThisLittlePiggy

@redheaded&crazie Exactly! It's like you're talking to somebody and thinking, "okay, we're all people here, we get it" and then they say something like "...and we all know that the moon landing was faked." And they look at you, fully anticipating that you will share the same wacky beliefs. She body shamed us, and then got confused when I didn't play along, a la: "oh yaaa omg my titties are so tiny and hers are so FAT AND GROSS." She expected that sort of affirmation! To reference the article, THE PATRIARCHY IS COMING FROM INSIDE HER HEAD! Maybe I will get my revenge by never wearing a bra in front of her ever again. And then being like "yeah, you couldn't pull this off. Because you have low self-image. Tis a pity." And then I shimmy.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher - I KNOW!! There was no part of it that was good or right. This has happened a few times as of late, with the wedding-keep-the-peace-God-is-testing-me thing. And yeah, bridesmaids dress sizing IS whack! AMEN I SAY!

sarah girl

Also, I'm definitely wading into it here, but this resonated way too much:

"I didn’t even know what molesting WAS, but I already knew that my body was supposed to elicit some kind of reaction in other people — that’s what it was FOR — and if that didn’t happen, there must be something wrong with it. And me."

I didn't feel that way when I was that young (that I can recall), but it happens whenever I'm in a conversation about how EVERY woman is catcalled and EVERY woman is harassed on the train, etc etc. I never do, so... am I not a woman? Is something wrong with me? Or is something wrong with me because I find myself sort of wishing I got harassed?

FUCKED. UP.

redheaded&crazy

@Sarah H. ohhhhghrgajkflgjad i get this too like at clubs if guys are hitting on my friends but not me. even though i don't want guys like that hitting on me!

OxfordComma

@Sarah H. : ME TOO. I know it's messed up, but if I don't get attention when I'm dressed up? Disappointing. Le Sigh.

RK Fire

@OxfordComma: I suppose we are following each other around, but yes! I have a close girlfriend who is skinny/conventionally attractive/etc. and she is constantly like "oh hahaha, men don't care if you're married, they hit on you anyways" and I'm just like "uh, yeah.. no one hits on me. I've been married for nine months" and I get a little down on myself but really, I don't want to be hit on anyways! I love my husband! bleeeech.

My husband is also awesome and when I talked to him about this, he was like "well, [your friend] is always super gregarious and loves flirting with guys and getting attention, whereas you've always been more straightforward.. which is why I love you. don't worry about it."

barefoot cuntessa

@Sarah H. I never get hit on. Ever. Never really have, even when I was younger. At the same time, I've never really been at a loss for guys being interested in me. I honestly think that they can smell self esteem, and that that shit won't get them anywhere.

annejumps@twitter

@Sarah H. Yeah, like, the "I get catcalled wearing no makeup, and sweatpants" thing -- I understand that, but as for me personally, I'm basically ignored even when I dress up? So....

sarah girl

@annejumps@twitter Yes yes, to everyone.

It gets even more fraught when I try to figure out why it is I don't get hit on. I don't think it's because I'm ugly, because I've heard stories about women who aren't conventionally attractive/dressed up/etc. getting catcalls... But at the same time, I don't want to say things like "Oh, it's because I'm confident! My energy isn't nervous! I have a strong self-image!" or anything like that, because then I feel like I start participating in the culture of victim-blaming for those who DO get harassed.

I don't know! Such a difficult issue.

WaityKatie

@annejumps@twitter Yeah, I find most of those remarks to be very much in the line of backdoor-bragging, and not helpful at all. Maybe some women do think they are genuinely fighting the patriarchy by complaining about getting hit on "all the time" but they have to know that doesn't happen to all, or even most, women. Nobody wants to be hit on by gross strangers, but it definitely happens to a certain type of woman way more than most. It's not "privilege" exactly to be objectified in that way but some women tend to treat it like it is. Yeah, fucked up.

Genghis Khat

@WaityKatie I think this is an area where patriarchy should be blamed, not other women. I don't really think of this as backdoor bragging, and it is something I complain about. I have some appearance privileges, being white and having had class opportunities to have braces and so forth, but I'm also pretty fat and over 30, so I'm not really the milkshake to bring all the boys to the yard. I do, however, work with the public on a fucking cash register, so I get drive by hit on at work with some frequency just because I encounter a lot of people. And I feel like complaining about that is not doing my sisters a disservice because it's fucking disgusting to get hit on at work, and it's not a comment on anyone else's attractiveness that I basically encounter and have short convos with 700 people a day vs like, an office with 15 people in it.

PistolPackinMama

@Sarah H. Exactly. About the victim blaming thing.

I am a little mystified at a friend of mine who is all "let's go salsa dancing and pick up hot Cuban men to dance with us! You just go up to them and ask!" And then she never has to go ask anyone because men fall over themselves to get to her first.

I usually just go get a drink and hide in the basement or whatever. And try and avoid just us two going out, because that is REALLY fun, being a wallflower.

Ugh.

But yes, victim blaming. Not gonna.

redheaded&crazy

@Genghis Khat Getting hit on at work is actually the worst. I don't want to be perceived as bragging or anything, but I do get hit on by the doctors I work with and it is so gross and I can't do anything about it because they're not people I work for or even people who work within my institution, they are just doctors I visit who feel entitled to make comments about my looks. yuck yuck yuck doctors yuck.

WaityKatie

@Genghis Khat You're definitely right, and I don't want to blame the victims, but it's kind of different to say that you get hit on all the time because you encounter tons of people or because you walk by construction sites all the time, etc., vs. "I get hit on everywhere I go! At the grocery store, at starbucks, when I'm in sweatpants, when I'm on crutches, when I'm drooling out of one side of my mouth from the dentist..." That's the kind of thing I meant to be backdoor bragging.

OxfordComma

@WaityKatie : God, yes. It's also a humblebrag. A friend of mine does this PERPETUALLY, and I just end up wanting to beat her with her own femur.

Faintly Macabre

@Sarah H. Thank you for this comment! I get hit on/catcalled semi-frequently, but but it's not because I'm super-hot (non-weirdos have almost never shown romantic/sexual interest in me) or give off fuck-with-me vibes. I'm pretty street-smart and have mostly perfected the dead-eyed stare/bitchface, but it still happens. I've had weird incidents since about age 10, since I've always been tall, and it's screwed with my head a little. I have no idea why it happens, except for maybe that my height makes me stand out and I spend a lot of time in a big city.

Sample incident a few months ago (I might be forgetting lines since it was a while ago)
I step aside to let a guy past on the subway because I think he's trying to go to the next car. He stops and stands next to me:
Him: "You're the most beautiful woman I've seen all day."
Me: ...
Him: "Are you with the government?"
Me: "No."
A few other obnoxious comments I forget...
He harasses the middle-aged, professionally-dressed woman next to me for a bit, then turns back to me.
Him: "Do you hate them for what they did to you?"
Me: "Who, the government?"
Him: "Yeah, they've got you here with your lips all chapped...Are you on medication?"
Me: ...
Him: "Are you rich?"
Me: "HA. No." And then my stop came, thank god. I should add that this was all said loudly on a subway car full of people who stayed almost dead silent throughout. No one told him to leave me alone.

As far as I can tell, there's absolutely no correlation between getting hit on and hotness or insecurity in the situation or approachability. Seriously, none. People who take weird pride in it are a bit sad, but not getting catcalled is nothing to feel insecure about or regret.

redheaded&crazy

Also: identity of A Lady (a A Lady) revealed?!

Dancercise

I feel like this is a no-win situation no matter what. I took up dance a couple of years ago and have lost about 80 pounds because of it. I posted a bunch of pictures of my dance team on Facebook recently, and people I hadn't heard from in years were commenting about how great I looked. Which, yes, I appreciate the compliments.

But it was as if these people from my past didn't care at all about how my life is now or the fact that I'm on an incredible dance team... all they cared about was how I looked. It makes me uncomfortable when I should be really happy about all the amazing things going on in my life right now.

This has been a semi-pointless, stream-of-consciousness comment from yours truly.

angelinha

@Dancercise I find in-person comments really hard - "You've lost weight!" or "You look so skinny!" What do you say to that? I am not going to say "thank you" on principle, but at the same time, I know they're trying to pay a compliment.

Dancercise

@angelinha The worst one I got was a woman I hadn't seen in a few months who came right up to me in public and said, "You've lost SO MUCH weight!" I mean, come on. That wasn't even a compliment; it was more like an observation. I just stared her in the face and said, "Yes, I have."

But usually I just hem and haw and mumble, "Oh, thanks..." Can we just outlaw all comments about other people's bodies? That would be great.

Been There Done That

Thank you for this. I've always been A Lady Of Sizable Hips and it feels like my entire life there's been this question hanging over me of WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LOSE THE WEIGHT? As if the other accomplishments in my life don't matter until I fit into a smaller size and my limbs look a certain way. Meanwhile, life is passing me by and I don't have time for that negative nonsense.

MyBeatenHeart

My ex suffers from an eating disorder, and it seems still frequently goes through the same intense self-talk about her body, needlessly so except that she, like many of you, has had it pounded into her head that her weight is some kind of moral judgment or ultimate measure of worth. She even got mad at me that I did not comment when she gained weight. She actively wanted me to be more critical about her body because, for her, that meant I cared. And, I did care about her very much, just no her weight. She is hot, smart, sexy, accomplished but still can't get the demons out of her head. I was not a perfect partner but I never shamed her body. I loved it! But it did little to stem the tide of self-criticism. It makes me sad because she is so great. (Can you tell I miss her?) I hope this does not sound self-aggrandizing. I really wanted to add to the chorus here that it is fucked up that women feel their self-esteem/value is tied so closely to their weight especially when they are doing so many amazing things.

TheDragon

@MyBeatenHeart
From the girls out here who have dated guys at the opposite end of the spectrum, I'd like to thank you.

CasualElegance

You gotta love yourself ladies. I went through a thin-obsessed phase in high school, and then again briefly in college, but at a certain point as an adult you have to accept yourself and love yourself so that you can free up some of that mind-space for other awesome things. And if you don't feel great about yourself there is NOTHING wrong with making a change like learning to exercise and eat right. We are WOMEN after all, and we like to feel good about ourselves. We SHOULD feel good about ourselves because we really are special and beautiful creatures.

sarah girl

Also, reading all this is making me thinking about a friend of mine who is dying, literally dying, from years of anorexia and bulimia. She is 28 and has full-blown osteoporosis. I saw her a few weeks ago for the first time in a while, and after I left I burst into tears. She is funny and kind and generous and incredibly smart and creative, but she has this awful disease, and every time I see her I worry that it might be the last time.

Also, yes, we have talked to her about it several times over the years, both gently and in a more intervention-style manner; she's taken some baby steps a few times, but then falls right back into it. At this point, she needs long-term inpatient care, that's all there is to it. But, we can't make her go, and she isn't ready to take that step for herself, so all we can do is stand back and make sure she knows how wonderful she is and how special she is to us. Agh.

Judith Slutler

@Sarah H. omg. I'm so sorry.

PistolPackinMama

@Sarah H. Oh, I am so sorry. :(

Trilby

Personal disclosure-- I am not the pretty young lady in my avatar, that's my daughter. I am now "older" as in older woman, and here is what sucks about my body now-- it does not fit that well into standard woman's clothing. I have no waist! My ass withered away! These are things that happen as you age and my problem with it is that it's hard to find nice clothing. If I didn't go to work in a Manhattan law firm every day, I would retreat to the muumuu-of-no-return but instead I have to play this game of hiding my "figure" with strategic clothing. We all want to look professional, somewhat sylish, somewhat attractive. If I was heavier but had a waist, I might not care so much. Ach!!! It's agravating. No feel-good-abut-yourself article is going to make me feel good about myself when I can't wear the clothes I would like to wear. BTW, I don't give a shit about being attractive to men.

OxfordComma

@Trilby : Oh, that sucks. :( You've probably already done this, but can you take those clothes that you want to wear to a great tailor or seamstress and have them altered to actually fit *you* instead of an arbitrary mannequin?

entangled

@Trilby I found a link to this on Megan's blog and it is fascinating: http://darkgreener.com/introducing-what-size-am-i

Maybe I am easily entertained by interactive charts and graphs, but I found it really fascinating and enlightening as to the proportions that different stores are using. I don't have a huge amount of trouble with clothes, but I also have Waist Issues... my waist is maybe an inch or so larger than clothes manufacturers think it "should" be (based on the rest of me) but it's really high so the waist on the clothing sits closer to my hips.

It's really not a huge issue (comfy stretchy and baggier clothes yay) EXCEPT with suits where buying to my largest measurement means the entire suit looks terrible. So my option is either have the waistband (and shoulders) be tight and uncomfortable or buy for the largest measurement and spend a fortune have the entire remainder of the garment tailored in so I don't look like a slob. UGH I HATE YOU SUITS!!

WaityKatie

@Trilby Hey, some of us have been rocking the "no waist and no ass" look since adolescence! It's not just something that happens when you get older. But yeah, clothes don't fit. (I recommend empire waist everything and dresses in stretchy fabrics ONLY).

angelinha

@arrr starr What about when sizes are drastically different within the same store/brand? I recently walked into Old Navy in a pair of jeans and left in a new pair THREE SIZES SMALLER. They both fit.

entangled

@angelinha ugh. yeah, I'm not sure that chart is the most useful thing in the world (since I've also had problems with same-store consistency), but I did find it really fascinating to see what the general expectation of shapes looks like (and, um, how very few people fit it) as well as what range of measurements stores tend to carry. I'm also kind of horrified by how many stores' size charts cover a very small slice of the population.

WaityKatie

@angelinha I think part of the problem is that there is zero quality control anymore for the major brands. I've had two pairs of pants in the same brand, style, and size fit TOTALLY DIFFERENTLY, many times. I think it has to do with which sweatshop (I mean factory) they are produced in.

madge

@WaityKatie i did an interview with carolita about this -- she said that some of the factories ask for and receive as much as 1.5" tolerance for error. on jeans! there is no rhyme or reason to it. or, i dunno, a bad rhyme and an illogical reason.

WaityKatie

@madge Ugh, I really would like to return to the era before mass-produced clothing, when everyone owned like 3 outfits but they were well-tailored.

entangled

@WaityKatie I was thinking that the other day, but then I realized I'd have to do laundry more frequently.

madge

@arrr starr or maybe invest in pretty slips and dress shields to keep your clothes stank-free longer!

Meaghan Widmer@facebook

Holy fuck, she's right. We are all crazy.

antipretty

Tears, everywhere, at my desk. I want to hug all of you with my size 12-14-who-the-fuck-knows-anymore-body that looks grotesque compared to my impossibly-thin, modelesque sister and tiny mother.

Ugh. I hate when my feelings leak out my eyes.

@antipretty Solidarity. Size 12-ish curvy chick here with a skinny mom and gorgeous, athletic, distance swimming, Norse God body having brother. SO MUCH LOVE.

anachronistique

@S. Elizabeth Size 22, sister is an athletic and bootylicious and beautiful size 8, brother is a lanky beanpole, mother is incredibly thin and aging gorgeously. GROUP HUG.

mabellegueule

Yes I want to hug you SO hard! And buy your book for everyone!

The weird thing is that my mom was super comfortable with her body and never made snarky remarks about mine growing up but I _still_ hated my thighs from an early age and am dealing with weight and eating issues. I blame society?

WaityKatie

I would also like to compliment you on your excellent bathing suit, and inquire as to where it came from??

madge

@WaityKatie thanks! it's vintage! i still have it -- it's kind of like a fun suit? woven cotton, with pockets and a zipper! <3

TheDragon

Reading the comments about supportive boyfriends is giving me hope. My ex used to call me fat and tell me that if I loved him I would get my high school body back. Let's see - H.S. = a few hours of homework, mom or dad cooking dinner, full 8 hours of sleep, an entire team to motivate me, and a xc coach from a family of 6 generation of H.S. and College track coaches on his dad's side/an olympic marathoner mother. College = cooking for us, taking 19 credit hours, cleaning house, hours of hw, a job, only your bitchass to motivate me, and only me to plan workouts.
Also. DUDEBRO. 125-130lbs at 5'7"? THAT'S NOT FUCKING FAT!

Ugh.
'Pinners. Thank you for always letting me bitch.

redheaded&crazy

@The Kendragon THE KENDRAGON SHALL NOT TOLERATE BULLSHIT BODY SHAMING FROM DOUCHEBAG EX BOYFRIENDS.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie seriously WHAT THE FUCK. I would actually set him on fire. I mean, I'd make it look like it was an accident, but.

madge

@The Kendragon yeah, also? even if that was fat? STILL fuck that guy.

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon Wow. I kind of hate him.

No kind of about it. Actually.

I just hate him.

Was he going to get his modicum of human kindness and unconditional love back? No? Then fuck him.

TheDragon

@madge Oh, I know! I think the only time it's EVER appropriate to comment on a partner's weight is if it's on either end of the spectrum so far that doctors are worried. And then it should be in a "hey, I love you and think you're beautiful, and this is going to be tough and scary for both of us, but I'll be here every step of the way."

@redheaded&crazie dumping that dude is the best decision I've ever made! (He's also the one who thought that the kitchen and laundry room were a woman's domain, and that he "deserved" to sleep around cause I'd been with more people than he had. And holy shit, what a temper!)
So, the Kendragon's only checklist "Mellow. Splits housework fairly. Thinks I'm hot"

Nicole Cliffe

@The Kendragon (maniacal peals of harsh rage-laughter at your ex)

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon Jeeeeses. Where do these guys come from?

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama I figure they are out there so I know to appreciate the good guys? I mean, there has to be SOME reason for their existence?

Nicole Cliffe

@PistolPackinMama Follow-up question? WHERE CAN WE SEND THEM?

OxfordComma

@The Kendragon : Can WE set him on fire????

PistolPackinMama

@Nicole Cliffe The Land of the Lost (Bad Boyfriends)?

redheaded&crazy

@OxfordComma oh shit ... was i supposed to leave some for the rest of you?

OxfordComma

@redheaded&crazie : HA! Naw, we can exhume his remains and piss on them instead.

...Wow. Apparently, I feel strongly about this.

TheDragon

@all
I love you all. *sniff* Can I piss on him too?

OxfordComma

@The Kendragon : Please do!

Jane Err

@The Kendragon Yeah, I feel you there. Awful guys are awful. My very first boyfriend when I was 18 made it, like, his mission to 'fix me'? Basically, he recognized that i was somewhat self conscious about my body, but instead of telling me that I was amazing and perfect, he told me how amazing and perfect I would be if I just lost 10 lbs, then 15 lbs, then 20 lbs. So I got a gym membership and he and I would go together, and then he'd be like "now we've worked really hard, so there's no harm in rewarding ourselves", because he wanted to go to Wendy's or BK or wherever.
So he's telling me to lose weight, then wanting to eat fast food all the time, then getting upset about my lack of motivation when I'd "only" lost 12 lbs in a year.
It ended up taking a lot more shit than that for me to be okay with not being with him, but 25 year old me is really grateful that I never have to talk to the asshat again.

EDITED TO ADD: Your checklist is my checklist. . .we may have dated the same asshat.

TheDragon

@Jane Err It's actually kind of freaky because my mom dated/got engaged to a man who was, personalitywise(and lookswise) a dead-ringer for my ex. When she finally got rid of him, she promised herself to find the most easy going man she could, and marry him.
She found my dad (who I've seen mad maybe twice? ever.) and married him 51 weeks after her first date with him. He is about the best dad/husband ever, they've been married 29 years, and I hope that my history continues to mirror my mom's!

sovereignann@twitter

Aaaaand it's this kind of craptastic crazy thinking that has kept me from having a relationship or sex for the past (cough) few years. Yep. I mean, before that it isn't like I was setting any records but...anyhoo...you guys know I'm looking into therapy right?

TheCheesemanCometh

@sovereignann@twitter Let me know if that works for you, because I'm going on (oh holy crap) 13 years?

Oh wow. I can't even believe that. What happened here?!?!!!!!

TheCheesemanCometh

@TheCheesemanCometh Obviously I should add that I have more than just body image issues at work here, but still. Thirteen years. What.

Passion Fruit

@TheCheesemanCometh Ummmm, I'm just being nosy, but can you tell me more about your experience? I went 6 years without anything, and yes, therapy helped a bunch!

TheCheesemanCometh

@Passion Fruit Ack! My browser ate my reply! Anyway, super long story short:

Cheeseman=MAJOR introvert, all girls HS, so never really dated. The only guy I've been with is my deadbeat ex, whom I net on the Internets when that was a super scary don't even think about doing it! thing to do (I didn't have to make clever conversation, or do my hair!) and the sex just was never all that. When we divorced, my daughter and I had to move in with my folks, because I was in undergrad as a returning student, and even though I was working on and off campus, I couldn't afford a place for us that wasn't in gangland, and the deadbeat has never paid a dime. And, nine years later, I still underemployed, and we're still there.

tl;dr - I have the whole, "I'm fat" thing going on in my brain (even when I was at WW goal weight, wtf?), plus major scars on my torso from various surgeries, emotional fall-out from the break up, a daughter I adore, but is definitely a high maintenance extrovert, and I still live with my parents.

I'm just too tired to deal with the drama of a guy, and wow that was long. But, safe space, right?

TheCheesemanCometh

@TheCheesemanCometh And I apologize for all the typos, but I was tring to get it out fast before IE ate my reply again, and it won't let me edit, damn it!

sovereignann@twitter

@TheCheesemanCometh I am currently on year...7 I believe. I don't have a story so much as a really awful, awful voice in my head telling me horrible things about myself. Apparently when you are creative, there is an almost unending supply of reasons you are unloveable or just plain don't deserve anything in life. Plus I have severe trust and control issues and who knows what else. My mom asked me the other day what she might have done to me to cause this and I honestly don't think anyone but me did this to me. The biggest problem I have now is that I have taken all those desires and feelings and wadded them into a ball and pushed them all the way down (you'd think I would be at least a foot taller!) and like anything you ignore, part of it haunts you mercelessly while the other part whithers away. I feel weirdly less human or less of the human experience because of this and a lot of other things, so I have to get my sh*t together or just disappear all together because this standing on the sidelines crap is quite literally killing me. This actually extends to all areas of my life, not just sex and relationships. REALLY testing the safe space theory now!

I wish I had advice for you that didn't sound like "Dr."Phil or everything that everyone else has ever said to me. But I do think we all need to give ourselves a break sometimes because life is a real kick in the teeth without all the other head stuff going on. Right now I don't know how I feel about a relationship because like you say, drama. But also, I'm older. I don't know what I would do if I had to share stuff and time and I don't know...it all just feels daunting for someone who has been on her own for 20 years.

As a nosey-noserson I was wondering, is there a reason you haven't taken this guy to court as a dead beat dad? I mean, I don't think it costs you anything because it is a law, you "just" report him and they will send you money from his checks. I only ask because of the various women in my office going through all of this.

Typos and spelling, not a problem with me. I am horrible at both.

Cat named Virtute

@sovereignann@twitter Thanks for talking all this out. I have really similar issues (awful brain voice, trust and control issues, no obvious childhood cause), but I'm younger, and it's scary (good scary? incentivizing scary?) to know that it can just get worse and eat you up more. It's let up a smidge in the past year, since I developed a fwb situation that, while it has its own issues, has picked up my self esteem a bit, but deep down I know I can't wait for it to get better on its own because it's starting to spill into the rest of my life (school, career-planning). Time to find shrink #3 and pray I don't hate them?

sovereignann@twitter

@Cat named Virtute My best advice would be sort yourself out now. Do not wake up at 40 like I did wondering why you don't have your own family when that is what you wanted all your life. And don't wake up underemployed because you didn't think people would hire you to do your thing and always have that idea in your head that if you were just thinner maybe things would have gone differently. Not that I know anything about your weight but I know even when I was thin I still had those thoughts. I wish you luck and I hope you are able to turn it around. I am looking at behavrioural therapists because I think those might help me because of the way I look at life. Do more than I did and earlier so you don't regret what y ou missed. Good luck! Let me know how you do.

angelinha

OMG RELATED TO BODIES
I just read through all these comments, feeling super inspired and wanting to buy this book (can I do it without a Kindle? how do online books work?) and THEN, as if I didn't have enough motivation already...an okcupid message. See below:

I was about to message you about how I work at a non-profit agency as well, which advocates for individuals struggling with mental health issues, but then i saw how tall you were. I'm only 5'7-5'8ish lol. You are pretty darn cute though. I really like your smile.

FUCK YOU RANDOM OKCUPID MAN
BE LESS CRAZY ABOUT MY BODY

Oh, squiggles

@angelinha Well, he was saying that you are cute and have a good smile!

I think this probably stems from his own height insecurities, and you definitely shouldn't take it personally.

sarah girl

@angelinha You can read the book without having a Kindle! There are Kindle apps for smartphones and PC/Mac computers, and apparently there's also a web browser version because after I bought the book Amazon offered a link to "start reading right now!"

angelinha

@Sarah H. Thanks!

Oh, squiggles

This is pretty awesome. Yes, I want this, not just for me, but for all ladies (and guys! my dude feels bad about his appearance just as often as I do!) and for any future peoples too.

Passion Fruit

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I am so curious, why does he feel bad about his appearance? Where does it come from? And is it as all-day, every-day, oppressive as (I feel) a woman's experience is?

Oh, squiggles

@Passion Fruit He feels bad about being slightly overweight, a thinning spot in his hair, and just not looking like a "classic hollywood hunk". And I have a male friend, who is very lean and skinny, and feels bad about not being 'ripped'. I think there is plenty of pressure on men to look manly, fit, muscular ect. Too hairy, not hairy enough. Bad teeth, acne...

Is it all day, and as oppressive as what I feel? I cannot tell you. As much as I might like to, I can't ever fully understand someone else's experience! But he seems to have similar experiences to me. Feels self-conscious going swimming, gets upset when his pants size goes up ect.

While it might be worse for women, this appearance obsession we have as a society affects men and women alike.

steve

@Awesomely Nonfunctional
It's there, but it's not the same. I think it's rooted solely in the regular biological imperative "I must make myself a viable candidate for spawning young" rather than the whole of society joining in on the act.

H.E. Ladypants

@Awesomely Nonfunctional That's terribly true. My boyfriend has some body image issues that top mine by a long shot. I think they tend to be far more universal but some men do pick up on the pressure to look and be perceived a certain way, internalize the hell out of it and go nuts trying to live up to the impossible. It's much less socially acceptable for men to talk about their body images, though, so when it does hit the dudes that way, I think they tend to be pretty quiet about it.

This is a pretty good run down of the whole thing: http://www.amazon.com/The-Adonis-Complex-Secret-Obsession/dp/0684869101

fondue with cheddar

Megan! I didn't realize it last time, but in that picture YOU LOOK JUST LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG. It's sort of freaking me out.

Congratulations on being published! I'm so buying your book; it sounds fantastic.

wee_ramekin

You guys, I am going to tell you a story about how dumb my self-hatin' (almost) made me.

It turns out that a couple of weeks ago, Edith Fucking Zimmerman was here in Austin, and was meeting up with another Pinner I know. This Pinner asked me if I wanted to come along and meet Edith, and my first response was obviously "AGSDFTHGAHTHRAGHMYESSSSSSSSS!!!!". Because...meet the woman who curates a site that is such source of happiness for me? Um, FUCK YES!

Tripping on the heels of that thought was "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! You can't go! You CANNOT meet Edith Fucking Zimmerman! You have seen pictures of her on the Internets, and she definitely Knows How To Be A Girl™, if you know what I'm sayin'. She will probably be so posh-looking, and will know how to wear ALL The Make-up, and you know how to wear Only The Mascara. You are too ugly (and by extension, not funny/smart/nice enough/etc) to meet Edith Fucking Zimmerman."

You guys, I literally thought these things. I told my Pinner friend that I probably wasn't going to go. I ruminated all day about it, just kind of pickled in self-loathing, and then loathing of my self-loathing, until I was like the Jörmungandr of self-sabotage.

I did end up going out for drinks with Edith (who is incredible, y'all) after some serious words with myself (and a couple of G-chatted browbeatings from @melis). But you guys...I almost didn't. THAT'S how dumb craziness about my appearance almost made me.

#closecalls

madge

@wee_ramekin this is why we need girlfriends to tell us the truth! so they can lend us a cup of rationality when we are feeling bananas. i'm so glad there is a big ALMOST in this story!

sarah girl

@wee_ramekin I'm so sorry you went through that mental torment, but I'm really glad you made the decision to go! I feel like each decision like that, where you say "hell no bad thoughts, you can't stop me," slowly chips away at that awful layer of self-loathing we all seem to have.

carolita

@wee_ramekin hey, Edith came to my birthday drinks a while back, and I was full of foreboding that she'd outshine me with her beauty and youth and smarts. It's just natural. But whatever! I'm sure she outshone me, anyway! How could she not? Ha! But what the heck, I adore her, so let her outshine me, is all I can say. I just forgot about it, and enjoyed her and everyone else. I hope someday she feels the same way -- I mean, about being happy for them, not about being full of foreboding!! -- about some other beautiful young thing she befriends when she's older like me, and I'm sure she will. I've always admired people who can look at other people and just be like, "wow, she's so amazing" without the slightest hint of jealousy or insecurity, and I try to be like that.

marz

"As sure as the sun rises every morning, whatever lives inside our brains will take up residence in theirs. Just like our parents’ craziness lives on in us."

Noooooooooo this is why I'm afraid to have children!

ba-na-nas

My 5 months post c-section body and I thank you for this.

babs

I work as a stripper, which more or less requires having a body that conforms to patriarchal "standards of attractiveness." I'm still not sure what the psychic effects of cash-based validation are; sometimes, it's pretty rad for the ego to have some (drunk, socially awkward) dude tell you you're the hottest thing he's ever seen, but when you're NOT getting that attention it makes it hard to feel worthwhile in social situations. I can chat anybody and their grandma up when I'm naked, but I'm a total wallflower at a normal party. Paradoxically, I despise getting hit on or cat called in public - nothing makes me want to go home and never come out again more. I think it's the underlying message of "You're only worth sexing" (that I kind of exploit and profit from?) Which makes me think of my dude friends who are genuinely cool and nice, but also probably hang out because they're secretly hoping to get laid at some point. (Trust issues!)

Anyway, despite making a decent living as a dancer, I still feel like my ass isn't round enough, my boobs aren't big enough, I'm not tall enough, photogenic enough, pretty enough, well-clothed enough. This shit never stops. We're all smart, charming babes with better things to do, but shit. never. stops.

carolita

@babs I'm a fit model for my day job, which is one of the more sane forms of modeling (you're supposed to be relatively normal, otherwise clothing fitted on you won't end up fitting most people your size in a given brand), and it's just a constant vigil, watching your boobs and ass, making sure they're not drooping, or getting flat due to not enough exercise. You can't exercise too much, or your body will change, but you have to exercise just enough to keep it the same. You can't eat too much, but you can't eat too little, either, as consistant measurements make you successful. Well, it's like being an Olympic athlete or something, this constant monitoring of your physical status. But the job pays well. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be in such decent shape if I weren't being paid to look this way. I kind of hope I would, because I feel really healthy (I used to be way skinnier -- believe it or not, I had to put on weight to do this job properly), and it's not like it's my dream to just "let myself go." I'm just saying, it's good to separate your physical requirements from your self-image a little, and see yourself as a professional. I don't hang with ANYONE from my day job. I don't need the mind-fuck. I have one friend who's a photographer, and whenever I'm with him, I know he's thinking I'm "fat." It's crazy! Yes, because a size 6 is actually "fat" in the fashion world. It really is. And let me tell you, if I have a bad fit day, meaning everything came from the factory too small, and it all makes me look like a sausage, and everyone looks at me dubiously, as if I put on ten pounds since the day before (really?), I go home still thinking that I look like that sausage-y woman I saw in the mirror during the fitting. It's hard not to.

If you work in a business that makes you nuts, do be sure and not hang around with people too entrenched in it. I hang around with other writers and cartoonists (that's my "real" job). It's much healthier.

Passion Fruit

@babs I think it makes total sense that being sexualized on the street is repulsive whereas having that happen during work is totally fine, and maybe even enjoyable(?).

The former is like "Dude, back off, I'm just trying to get through my goddamn day without feeling uncomfortable." And the latter is a situation in which you are in control of the interaction and your customer's (client? patron?) attention is like, "Yay! A job well done."

Rubyinthedust

i HATE the fact that my mom can bring me to tears with comments about my weight when i am 25 years old with a great community and my dream job. But my mom telling me to lose weight in my arms somehow opens the floodgates. I can objectively see that I am thin but somehow an outside opinion counts more than what i see in the mirror, and that's why I will never comment negatively (or ideally, at all) on any future daughter's weight, body, or appearance.

Better to Eat You With

I have been sitting here starving myself all day because THE THIGHS. This was just what I needed.

she's full of secrets

Apparently, my parents were already fixated on my physical appearance while I was still in utero. My mother recently confided to me that one of their primary concerns during their pregnancy was how my nose would look when I was born-- pointy with a large, sharp bridge like my father's or, like her own, terminating in a bulbous tip. (PRO TIP: If these are the sorts of things you consider MAJOR CONCERNS when you're about to voluntarily reproduce, maybe you should have second thoughts about having a kid.)
Luckily, I popped out with the best of all possible noses, as Master Pangloss would say, but that doesn't mean that I didn't get bullied for it most of my life. Even as an adult, at least one self-proclaimed feminist has made some snide jab at my looks, although I'm lucky enough to at least have a body that hews closely to the societal ideal (thin, hourglass proportions).

My relationship with my body, and appearance in general, has vacillated from toxic to healthy throughout my adult life. I vividly remember being fourteen and noticing for the first time that I had,seemingly out of nowhere,developed an adult woman's hips. My mom promptly told me that having voluptuous thighs was repulsive, a family curse, and I accepted her advice to "work them off" without question. This was odd and out of character for me, considering I never accepted authority figures at their word. I did spend a lot of my post-adolescence trying not to become like my mom and resisting her negative body image-related messages, though

I often find that I start fixating on body image/appearance issues I wasn't even consciously aware of having after I read about body positivity. Even if these feminist messages subvert body hate and validate our insecurities, they can't help but dredge up the negative sentiments that we've tried to suppress, ones I can't always react to in a logical/self-affirmative manner.
It's frustrating that most people I encounter seem to support full -political- equality for women but won't examine their misogynistic social views.

Umm, also, I'm a long-time lurker here, but first-time poster. So I apologize for writing a navel-gazing novel up there.

Passion Fruit

@introverted excavator Even if these feminist messages subvert body hate and validate our insecurities, they can't help but dredge up the negative sentiments that we've tried to suppress, ones I can't always react to in a logical/self-affirmative manner.

Yeah, sometimes when I'm feeling especially angsty about my appearance, I find it easiest just to ignore the whole topic.* Like no matter how "yay, women, we are all beautiful just the way we are" the message is, it brings up real gross, dark feelings for me. BUT these are the topics I am always attracted to... Dangit.

I've found I feel best when I'm away from 1) people who hate their own bodies, and 2) the internet. Which is a shame, because I really love 1 & 2 sometimes.

*I'm not certain that this is what you meant, so if not, my bad!

sarah girl

You know, I bet none of this would be happening if Mister Rogers was still alive.

Passion Fruit

Personally, I hate, hate, hate that I believe that if I was more attractive, I would have a better job, be treated better day to day, and be valued more by my acquaintances and extended family. Do other people secretly believe this?

WaityKatie

@Passion Fruit It's not just your belief; sadly there are studies that tend to bear this out. :(

Passion Fruit

@WaityKatie I know, I know! I read them and they make me shudder.

I guess, as a nurse, I try to tell myself that at the end of the day, human beings as a species takes care of their old, ill, and dying. I don't have to be young, beautiful, and in perfect health to be a member of this community. Maybe I won't get as many drinks bought for me as I'd like, but I will still have people around to care for me and to care for...

carolita

@Passion Fruit It depends on what you think is "better." Is it better to get stuff you don't deserve and then be made to feel obliged to your benefactors? Is it better to be preyed on by superficial horndogs and hated by jealous women? I really don't understand this question. I mean, look at Hillary Clinton, or Sonya Sotomayor, or Eleanor Roosevelt, or Bella Abzug (before your time, I'm sure). They're not beauty queens, and they went far. I'm not into being treated either badly or unduly benevolently for my looks, and believe me, I've experienced both ends of the stick. Neither is very validating or helpful in the long term.

madge

@Passion Fruit totally! and there's also the fact that attractiveness is very subjective and very personal. when i regard someone warmly it's typically all about the particular brew of physicality and personality that someone is serving up. being a lovely person comes through.

Passion Fruit

@carolita I guess by better I mean visible. Like people smile back when I smile at them. And I guess, from my acquaintances, listened to more. I feel ignored a lot of the time. I don't really need or want the free anything, just some niceness.

WaityKatie

@Passion Fruit Exactly. It sucks to be objectified, and it's even worse to live in a society where objectification is the primary way women are valued, and to NOT "measure up" to that standard, and therefore be treated like you don't even exist. Yes, a few women (Hillary et al.) have been able to achieve power and prestige outside of this paradigm, but they are by far the minority. Most of us are just toiling along in mediocrity and will never come remotely close to achieving those heights. So for us, it's meet the standard or be ignored. I know it's not validating or enjoyable to be preyed on by douchebags, but it's even worse to have juicebags step on you on the street because they don't even see you, or turn around when you're behind them at the bar and go "Ugh!," loudly!

WaityKatie

@WaityKatie And...I just accidentally coined the word "juicebags." I am going to use this all the time now.

carolita

@Passion Fruit I think you just need some better acquaintances. Seriously. I had bad friends for a long time, and it sucked. I found better ones. It took time, but damned if I was going to feel unimportant around so-called friends. Also, sometimes people just feel weird about people smiling at them, I guess. They wonder what you want. Maybe they don't want to feel obliged to smile back, for whatever reasons. People can be fearful or paranoid, or just plain unfriendly. I learned to stop smiling at people all the time when I moved to the big city. Anyway, what I'm saying is, I don't think it's a reflection on you. You're just surrounded by people who don't relate to you. I think it's also a matter of not really caring if people smile back, etc -- people are like cats. You know how cats gravitate always to the one that doesn't try to play with it (like me, the allergic one), but never go to the ones who call it? People are weird, you have to give them a break. It's not any easier for so-called goodlooking people. Really.

Passion Fruit

@carolita I know what you're saying. You're right: I do need new friends and people are weird (I am a weirdo myself). I am not entitled to smiling friendliness. But dammit, it'd be nice if I got it in return! (And yeah, I don't smile in the cities, and I feel more comfortable there because I am not expected to give or recieve it. But in the south, I'm like, "Hey, what the crap? THINK YOU'RE TOO GOOD FOR ME??" in my brain all the time.)

@WaityKatie your bar story sounds awful. Maybe the answer is to move away?

carolita

@WaityKatie I really have to raise a little objection to that. The minority of people are "goodlooking," and yet everywhere I turn there are people in positions of power (power over me, power over you, over lots of people) who are in no way what you'd call "beautiful." They're successful and powerful warts and all. The majority of people toiling in mediocrity are doing so because, well, in this world we live in, mediocrity is what's left over when all the powerful people get the choice pickings. We can't all be the CEO, any more than we can all be Miss America. Someone's going to win, and everyone else is going to lose. And how can you know what's worse than whatever? Each of us suffers in our own way from whatever life hands us. Can you doubt that it's painful for, say, a model to only get asked out because guys want to fuck a model? And then never get taken seriously as a mate by guys who want to settle down? Do you really think that's any less painful than a guy not wanting you because you aren't tall and skinny enough? It's always that we aren't THIS or THAT enough. There's always something. I've been rejected for not being smart enough, good enough, skinny enough, young enough, old enough, motherly enough, slutty enough, blue-blooded enough, white enough, spanish enough, rich enough, successful enough... You name it, kids. It hurts whenever you're not enough for whoever or whatever it is you want, whatever you look like. So, let's please not say that it's worse for one kind of person to be rejected or dismissed for their looks than it is for another.

carolita

@Passion Fruit Just let go, be yourself, and be happy, and all else will follow, I think. Don't worry what people think of you. If you're a "weirdo," well, then, you're just one of those folks, like me, who will need to be patient with the world while you find your crowd. I'm sure you'll find it. It took me years and many bad friends. Just concentrate on the stuff that counts for you, and it'll all come, sooner or later. If all else fails, get a dog, borrow one if you have a friend with a dog -- I found myself being much more sociable when I had to walk a dog three times a day. I just had to get used to talking to people, everyone has to talk to you when you have a puppy, it seems. It was an unexpected side-effect. :)

WaityKatie

@carolita I'm not trying to invalidate your experience at all, but if you think that only beautiful women don't get taken seriously as a mate, or only beautiful women get used for sex by guys, you are quite mistaken! That happens to all women. And I think your advice to "get a dog" is more than a bit glib. Yeah, some of us are stuck with "getting a dog" because we can't find a partner for whatever reason or no reason, but I really don't think "just be more sociable" is a solution at all for most people.

carolita

@WaityKatie I never said only beautiful women don't get taken seriously as a mate. In fact, I used that example because I know that many women don't get taken seriously as a mate, and that it was one that anyone could relate to. And yes, I was, in fact, being a little jokey with the dog bit. Not everyone can have a dog. But the fact is, I was very antisocial and lonely, and when I got a dog (someone gave it to me), I did, in fact, find myself being approached by strangers, and forced out of my comfort zone. So I don't think it's necessary for one to take that advice literally, like oh, get a dog: what I'm saying is, get out of your comfort zone. I have a friend who is very lonely, in his 40's and not meeting women, and doesn't get out much, and you know what? He's very very good-looking. So, I'm just trying to say that you can be lonely and overlooked whatever you look like. It's not a matter of me saying something as inane as "just be more sociable." Sometimes situations will force you into being more sociable, and that's all I was observing. I did not say, "Oh, just be more sociable."

You know, I'm beginning to suspect that there's a few people here who think that painful loneliness, and lack of success in one's profession or with the sex of your preference is something that only certain people who look a certain way feel, and that no one else does, or that perhaps attractive people indulge in by choice. Can you imagine that? Attractive people saying to themselves, "I think I'd just like to be lonely and misunderstood and overlooked in my profession?"

And frankly, I'm not speaking for myself, I'm speaking for my friends, the ones who are skinny or not or old or young or beautiful or "not," who are lonely and sad and wish they had a husband or wife or a better job or a better life. They come in all sizes and shapes and with faces everyone's mother loves or "only their mother would love" (but which I do).

WaityKatie

@carolita I don't think any of those things, and I'm pretty sure I have never said or implied that only certain types of people can be lonely or that "beautiful" people's lives are without tragedy or misery. I don't think that at all, and that would be an insane thing to believe, in fact. I do think that we all have privilege in certain areas, and that can make us blind to others' experiences, and that it's just not "equally bad" to be conventionally hot in this society as conventionally not. I know that there are problems that come along with conventional hotness specifically, and also that we all have some of the same basic being-human problems. There are also problems that come along with not fitting the mold appearance wise, and it seems you might be blind or indifferent to those. Which is your right.

carolita

@WaityKatie "we all have some of the same basic being-human problems"? If you're saying I'm "blind and indifferent" because you're working under the assumption that I'm "conventionally hot," well, I think that would be quite a backhanded kind of compliment. For that matter, in case that's what you're assuming: I am NOT conventionally hot. There are a lot of people who don't think I'm attractive at all: like my mom, for one. But not just her. There are men who have looked at me with disdain and dismissed me outright for not being blond and willowy. I know that look, the look that says, "you don't measure up." Do you think it feels less crappy for me, than for someone else? It's the same feeling.

In fact, I have been treated like crap by a lot of people all my life, belying your assumptions, it seems. I've been a very lonely person with very few friends for most of my life, as have other members of my family. When I was an illegal immigrant, I was preyed upon by men in power, bosses, just because they thought they could get away with it, and it did not feel a compliment to me: all it feels like is that you have no power. It's not a luxurious, "oh, I'm hot, so I have this special little problem" kind of feeling. No, it's a feeling of being scared and trapped, and not like a woman at all. I doubt anyone aspires to having that feeling as some kind of validation of their looks.

And who is anyone to tell anyone that they can't know what it's like to not fit the mold? My personal experience has been that I didn't fit the mold. I was mercilessly mocked and bullied and called "Ape-Face Johnson" in middle school, and then somehow, in college, started modeling. I had about two lovely months of thinking I'd become a swan from being an ugly duckling, before I realized that everyone thought I was with an agency called "Ugly People." The whole time I was a model, people have called me "ugly," "short," and "too ethnic," among others. My own mother offered me plastic surgery to improve my looks. And that was AFTER the modeling.

So let me tell you, by the time my looks were no longer objectionable in the modern world, I didn't know how to enjoy them, okay? For that matter, once I stopped modeling, my looks didn't amount to a hill of beans -- nobody ever looked at me and thought hey, there goes an ex-model. In fact, most people looked at me and thought I was the nanny when I walked with my friends and their babies. I worked in software for two years before quitting to draw and write. It wasn't my looks that made me the best network installer, tester, and tech support they had for two years.

"Basic being-human problems" -- that just boggles my mind. There are a million ways not to fit the mold. You cannot look at anyone and assume they don't know how you feel. I do not believe that Megan wrote her book in order to say that skinny women, or even "conventionally hot" women can't possibly relate to anything she feels and wrote about. I have actually dined with Megan, and we have both talked about the aches and pains of not fitting the "mold," from our different points of view and personal experience.

WaityKatie

@carolita Ok, you win. You seem to be projecting all kinds of business onto me, and it's Friday and I'm not in the mood to take any of that on. Have a good weekend.

LaLoba

@WaityKatie Haha juicebags!!!

carolita

@WaityKatie if that's how you see it, I apologize.

silviesays

@carolita Thank you so much for your articulate responses here. No one has a monopoly on feeling lonely, or feeling different, or feeling unattractive. NO ONE. I really appreciate the point of view you've demonstrated here.

carolita

@silviesays I've been agonizing over this exchange for the last few days, wondering where I went wrong. So, thank you for that reply. I was almost afraid to look when I got the notification! Really, thanks. I appreciate it.

WaityKatie

@carolita Ugh, well, maybe I was the one who went wrong? I didn't mean to cause any agonizing! I wasn't trying to say or imply that anyone had a monopoly on feeling anything, but merely that in some ways, conventionally pretty people have it easier in certain arenas than others. I have no idea what you look like, so I certainly didn't mean to imply anything along those lines. Although this whole thing is making me think that everyone here now thinks I must be incredibly hideous and malformed, when I am actually quite normal looking and some have occasionally even said attractive. Argh blargh.

carolita

@WaityKatie I don't think anyone thought that! ;) All I was trying to get across was that I really don't like to generalize about anyone (except the rich, really), when it comes to advantages in life. What I'm really talking about is what our culture is doing to our own vision of ourselves, whatever we look like, more than what someone else thinks of us. It's like everyone can have (and seems to have) body dysmorphia, no matter what they look like physically. It doesn't matter whether it's justified or not, it's just as painful and stunting.

WaityKatie

@carolita Well, we can definitely agree on that! But, I don't know, I'm not really willing to give up my observation that looks really do matter in the way people are treated. So I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

carolita

@WaityKatie Ah, but I don't disagree with you at all! I've just been saying again and again that it's our self-perception that we need to concentrate on. Yes, I agree that the perceptions of other people CAN be preferential for some, but it can also turn around and not be. Have I told you that I've been called skinny and fat on the same day? I've also gone from being treated like a wonderfully exotic thing in Germany to being treated like a dog in Morocco. (I found both experiences to be equally perplexing and annoying, in different ways -- who doesn't just want to be normal, really?). So I know what the regard of other people can do to/for a person's level of comfort in life. So I'm just saying we need, as healthy women and men, to take the control of our self-perception away from The Other, or we'll all go crazy. The regard of the other is incredibly fickle and mean.

Isn't that what Megan is promoting? Taking back that control? I think she's an example to us all.

WaityKatie

@carolita I think it would be wonderful if we could all take back control, and not care about what anyone thinks of us, and all that. But I think it requires us to change society as well as ourselves. And, it's a lot easier said than done. I mean, I spend a lot of time mentally telling everyone to fuck off and saying that I don't care what they think of me, and to a large extent I don't, but...people want acceptance, too. It's all great to say that I don't need anyone's approval, but then...I'm single and apparently fated to be so eternally, and frankly I don't love that. And yes, if I were constitutionally a more bubbly and outgoing person, I'm sure that I would be more popular, but...I'm not. Anyway, people suck. That is my takeaway. Not Hairpinners, though.

carolita

@WaityKatie Naturally, we all like approval, not least me. However, society begins with each of us. Society is not out there, against us. We are part of society. Let's start with us Pinners, our little microcosm, we're not like those nasty people you're talking about. We're part of society, and we're influencing people, with our comments, not to mention the articles we publish here... We are admired by a lot of people, people who come here after being disappointed by glossy magazines and other self-hate-inspiring paper and online women's magazines. It's very important to not pit yourself against society, however tempting it is. I learned this from a psychoanalist. "People" and "they" -- we can't be giving them power over us constantly. It's crazy-making, even when it's favorable. So, try to remember WE can change society, starting with us. Nobody's going to change because we sit with our arms crossed glaring at them, thinking how much they suck. I've tried that on many levels, and it's useless.

I think I told you my mom constantly told me I'd never find anyone to love me? Well, by the time I was in my late 30's I'd begun to think she was right. By my 40's though, I was beginning to think that if people were going to force me to "be" a certain way before they could love me? I'd be better off alone. I don't know, that attitude certainly made men treat me differently. As I like to say, it was only the "ones who had nothing left to lose" who approached me. Yeah, the man of my life turned out to be a white-haired guy twenty years older than me, nearly a senior, broke and confused after a divorce. But he turned out to be a gem. And let me tell you, all the neggers, and dominators: suddenly, not interested in me at all. I couldn't get arrested by those types. And just as well. And Sarah Silverman even said something like "Wrinkles and lines are a great way to weed out douchebags." Sometimes I joke that he thinks I'm beautiful because he needs bifocals. ;) I'm not letting him get them, either!

So, I didn't get into a longterm relationship till I was 44, meaning, over the years or decades, I had several boyfriends who didn't ever want to move in with me, get married, all that crap. I was like, hey, it's easy enough to GET a boyfriend, but it seems to be impossible to get any of them to actually LIKE me. So, I never even lived with someone till my 44th birthday. (I don't even get along with ladies in a cohabitating situation). I did not think I ever would. (Let me tell you, after all those years alone, I almost wished I was STILL alone, it's not easy to change, so be prepared for a year of adjustment, if you're as far gone as I was).

I was prepared for this eventuality by a 58 year-old woman I met at a pool, who, in response to my telling her my nobody-would-ever-love-me story, told me she hadn't fallen in love for real and had a satisfying relationship till she was 55. Fifty-five! She made me promise to hold out, and not settle. Not that this is an easy thing. But it was edifying to meet someone like her. Not everyone meets the right person in their youth. Particularly not people with special needs like me. I'm not everyone's cup of tea. Ask my mom. Haha.

Anyway, that's all to say, take heart. I'm sure you have a great future.

WaityKatie

@carolita Aww, that's really sweet, actually. I agree, we must change society. Although, I still retain the right to do some arms-crossed glaring, because I kind of enjoy it? (Ok, I really enjoy it.)

madge

@carolita @WaityKatie you guys, reading your exchange here made me so happy. that is all. <3

carolita

@madge :)))) or here's my happy ape-face emoticon:
(:())

carolita

Anyone think we can ever make it to not shaving our legs anymore? I don't shave my legs on the weekend unless I'm dressing up for something. I consider the weekend my days off. I always find myself admiring women who don't ever shave their legs and just wear a dress or shorts anyway. I suspect if I ever did that (which I can't, at least for now, due to my job), I'd feel like a giant or something, you know? Like a proud, slightly animalistic woman. Or not. It's just a fantasy.

madge

@carolita i enjoy all parts of the leg hair / shaving cycle. my favorite thing is to let them get pretty furry, then shave and bask in the feeling of rubbing my smooth legs against each other.

Oh, squiggles

@carolita Yes! The body hair thing is so weird! Why is hair location such a big deal?

carolita

@madge Mine get itchy after a while, so I find myself jumping out of bed after scratching for hours and shaving them in the middle of the night anyway! :) Luckily my BF doesn't care one way or another, so I'm free to experiment with my hirsuteness. I had to yell at my little brother, though, for being outraged that a date showed up with unshaven legs and a "tuft on her big toe!!!" I was like, hey, buddy, we're all humans, we all have hair, get over it: if your girlfriend has a mustache, it doesn't make you gay.

carolita

@Awesomely Nonfunctional it's the whole child-woman thing, I guess. I mean, if you think about it, even men shaving is sort of like turning them back into little boys. It's the youth obsession.

madge

@carolita you know what's fun? burning off your toe hair with a lighter! other than that i don't think i've ever noticed or done anything to my toe tufts! let's all yell at your little brother! (in a kind and funny and impactful way)

Exene

@carolita >if your girlfriend has a mustache, it doesn't make you gay.

If your girlfriend is a beard though...

Stavromula Beta

@carolita I'm rocking a week's worth of stubble with a skirt today, and I definitely know what you mean about feeling like a giant. It's kind of like, "Fuck you, world. I dare you to say something about my hairy legs. Go on. I double-dog dare you." (There's part of me that wishes I didn't think about it that way — it shouldn't be a big deal! But it is.)

LaLoba

@carolita I've made it there, right here, right now! Every so often I shave for the thrill of it.

@carolita I'm super attracted to women who don't shave their legs. Ladyfriend shaves and sometimes I want to tell her to stop because her leg hair is SO CUTE and I love it and yes please wear those madras bermuda shorts with your furry legs because DAMMIT i LOVE THEM. But I don't because, you know, her body.

she's full of secrets

@Passion Fruit

That's exactly what I meant; no worries!

Yeah, it's especially hard for me to be at family gatherings because of the way all my female relatives talk about their bodies/how their bodies will be ruined by the party foods/you know. My female friends never just sit around and trash their bodies, but I can't avoid relatives partaking in this odious form of "female bonding." I've been thinking of confronting them about how uncomfortable it makes me feel next time we're getting together, but I'm not sure they'll understand where I'm coming from (at least from past experience with my mom).

You'll never tear my away from the internet. But, luckily, I'm usually able to avoid the comment sections on mainstream news articles about women. Those are the worst.

Passion Fruit

@introverted excavator

I HATE when people talk about all the calories/fat grams etc that's in food. I just want to be "Shut up, then, and don't eat it," which is overly hostile. But for real, don't ruin it for me with your weird diet talk.

Yeah, I hear you on being hesitant about bringing it up. I want to bring it up with my best friend, but I'm afraid I'm just going to make her defensive...

WaityKatie

@Passion Fruit Ugh, yes. What's even worse is the "you're so lucky, you can eat that" talk, when, most of the time I'm bigger than the person saying it. Next time I'm going to just be like, "yes, I CAN eat it!" and put it in my mouth.

Xanthophyllippa

@WaityKatie Or the "you do triathlons, so you can eat whatever you want," talk, usually given as they watch me eat my plate of ho fun and sip sadly at their miso soup. No, no I can't eat whatever I want because I do triathlons; I can, however, eat a fair bit of what I want because I eat in moderation and exercise regularly.

she's full of secrets

@WaityKatie I usually just shrug and go all Allie Brosh on the cake they feel too guilty to eat. Though I stop short instead of going all that-one-poor-kid-from-Matilda-who-had-to-eat-the-whole-cake; I'm not a monster.

lora.bee

@introverted excavator BRUCE BRUCE BRUCE BRUCE

WaityKatie

@introverted excavator I will eat all the cake! All the cake!

TheDragon

@WaityKatie I will too! I will also eat a large pizza by myself. In one sitting. :)

WaityKatie

@The Kendragon That was, like, a competitive sport in college. I had a roommate who could consume an entire large papa john's pizza by herself, and I was in awe of her. I could only do about half before starting to feel ill.

@WaityKatie last night I ate a whole thing of pad thai. :D

Diana

Weight articles on The Hairpin make me feel all the feelings. I grew up with a mother who was so overweight it has led to debilitating health problems in her older age. I've spent my life terrified of getting fat - not just because of the social stigma my mom has faced, but because of the very real, very inescapable torturous pain she suffers when her other conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis) are greatly exacerbated by her weight. When you mentioned your friend being worried about her baby being fat, my first reaction wasn't "God, how shallow" but rather, "God, I don't want my children to deal with diabetes at age 12." I have a really hard time talking about weight because I have seen it from all sides: I've had an eating disorder, I've been overweight, I've had an obese mother, I've seen her health problems, I've tried to suss out patriarchal bullshit. But I haven't found a satisfactory narrative yet, because I rarely find anybody who is willing to talk about weight truthfully, the good and the bad. People talk watching their weight to "stay healthy and fit! I just care about being *strong*" while eliding over the social stigma/fat shame that they're actively avoiding. Other people (and NO, I am not including the entire fat acceptance movement or health at any size folks here, this is not an all-inclusive indictment) talk about body fat as though it is this wholly harmless, innocent substance that just happens to rest on our bones without any adverse effects. Like, yes we are all fucked up in our desperate desire to achieve thinness at any cost. But yo, we are also fucked up because we are all getting fat to death, we are all giving our 11 year olds diabetes and heart conditions, we are giving our college students arthritis. Part of the solution will have to come from understanding the ways in which these two contradictory relationships to weight are intertwined. A narrative that addresses JUST social/patriarchal bullshit or JUST health and fitness is not going to cut it. I don't think this is a very clear explanation of what I'm trying to say, and that's why it's so frustrating to me that I haven't found a helpful narrative to speak on my behalf.

One thing that helps is when I stop thinking about human beings as "people" per se, but as one type of animal among many. Animals that don't eat are sick and will die. Animals that eat too much are sick and will die. Animals that subject themselves to mating rituals which require too much energy expenditure and require unreasonable standards will tire out and will die. We are bags of meat like all the other beasts, and loving ourselves and being healthy requires us to admit this to ourselves. We are not existing exclusively on some transcendent, higher plane of being, we are firmly connected and tied to our physical bodies, which require minimal standards of care like anything else that can die.

shutthefrontdoor

@Diana THIS! My family is obese and has been obese my entire life. The medical issues alone I've witnessed because of said obesity. You are absolutely hitting all my nails on the head. There has got to be a way to talk about bodies without shaming, but without promoting behaviors that ultimately kill.

Also, I think your last paragraph is a great start to finding that illusive narrative. Thanks for putting into words something I've been having a lot of trouble trying to articulate!

madge

@Diana i totally agree with you. my goal for myself moreso than "loving my body" or whatever is mostly just to be objective about what's going on with it. tell myself the truth without having a cow about it. i have to be able to say to myself "OK, that's probably enough ice cream" AND "body you are fucking great" ... because both things are true and leaving either of them out leads to problems! thanks for bring this up.

OxfordComma

@Diana : We have also moved from an agrarian lifestyle and physical work to processed food and sitting behind desks all day--there are so many damned factors that go into our weight and health, there's no sense in adding shame to the whole thing...and yet... :(

Why is it so hard?

madge

@OxfordComma i kind of look at it like, okay, we are now at the stage of human history where our task is to learn how to judiciously handle abundance. we're not that good at it yet, because we haven't had so much abundance available to us for very long. but we'll get better!

(by we, i mean privileged people who have access to enough food to eat non-stop from sun up till sun down if we want to.)

OxfordComma

@madge : DINGDINGDINGDINGDING

shutthefrontdoor

@Passion Fruit @WaityKatie @wee_ramekin @dtowngirl : WOW. It's like you all live in my head or something. I did not realize these issues were so universal. Usually because when I bring up these insecurities, I tend to get the side eye from my friends. But yeah DC was the same for me. I moved from a rural southern town to DC for school and wow did some out there insecurities raise their head. And for me at least it's an impressing everyone issue. I always compare myself to women/men on the street and come to the conclusion that the girls are prettier and the guys know this/don't find me attractive. Which I've sadly just realized is all sorts of fucked up. Like fuck that shit. Whyyyyyyy do I care?

Bodie issues/negative internal narratives, they're hard to change y'all.

LaLoba

Here is my current little tale about body image:

To give a summary, I've had a torturous time with my body but we've had a kind of renaissance together for the past few years. The healing starting with writing a play about women's bodies (and periods!) for a college project that involved intense personal story telling and a lot of intimate sharing, and really took off when I started actively pursuing dance. ANYWAY

I am a strong woman and I value my being extremely capable and extremely utilitarian and being tough and strong and fast. It is what makes me me. I have no beauty regimen or routine. I wash my hair, I never dry it, I don't have to brush it, I don't regularly remove body hair. I don't wear make up and I will never wear make up as a daily habit. While I don't really begrudge other women their need to wear make up or do whatever to whatever (they can do whatever the hell they want) I can't help a quiet and secret resentment that says, "STOP WASTING YOUR TIME AND YOUR MONEY. If all of you stopped, nobody would have to."

I know that some women enjoy self decoration for the sake of it, and I might be a hypocrite because I love clothes with a fervor. But sometimes somebody is like, "HOLD on, I have to go put my make up on before anybody sees me" and I'm like, what the fuck. Everyone stop doing that.

LaLoba

I got side tracked above. What I really wanted to do was make a confession.

Confession. There are times I love my body so much that I want to stand at a mirror naked. I want to hold my breasts in my hands and marvel at their smoothness and their weight. I want to turn myself to different angles and feel light zapping through the hairs on my skin, feeling electric at how much I love to look at myself and feel power in the curves of my spine and my shoulder blades.

But I think I only feel this way when I've just slept with a man and he's told me that he finds me beautiful. Or a man has said something illicit or inappropriate or tried to seduce me in a brief and guileful moment.

These things build up, one or two at a time, and then I begin to love myself and feel fire coming out of my pores. But it's only then.

And even though my body and I have come so goddamn far, I think that I am still doing it wrong.

insouciantlover

@LaLoba I can relate to this.

for me, something that I did in my twenties that changed the way I viewed my own body was model for life drawing classes. There's something about standing there completely naked in front of a group of strangers, knowing that they're trying to capture the essence of you. It made me feel differently about myself, and I would look at Mucha paintings with a fresh eye and notice the omnipresence of the soft curvy belly. Then when back on that little stage with a scarf and a grapefruit I would think less "how do I minimize my belly bulge" but rather "how do I curve my body to create interesting plays of shadow and negative space, belly bulge be damned."

Now, a decade later, I still love the feeling of being enjoyed by my significant other. But just occasionally when he's not home I'll play dress up with some long gold necklaces and red lipstick and nothing else, attempting to emulate a painting I've seen or a vision I've had.

LaLoba

@insouciantlover I have a friend who has done a lot of modeling for life drawing in the past and she tells pretty much the exact same story as you! Especially about how freeing it can be to be watched and nude in a very different way.

carolita

Back when I worked in Paris every year during the fashion weeks, there was one buyer who'd come in every season, and she was a cute, petite, blond woman, with a face just like a pretty Kewpie doll, very sweet, very gentle. There was nothing at all wrong with her that I could see, but every time she came in she'd done something to herself with plastic surgery. One year it was her nose, another it was her cheekbones, I think, then her eyes and eyebrows, maybe her chin. She couldn't stop "fixing" things. One time she came in and she appeared to have had implants in her calves. There just didn't seem to be anything about herself that she was happy with. And yet, believe me, she was beautiful. You could tell. It wasn't just the look in her eyes, it was the way she was. Well, maybe just for me: she made the other folks there uncomfortable, and they took to calling her "Robocop" behind her back. "Robocop is coming in today," they'd tell me. The sad thing is, I never did know her name, I only knew her as "Robocop." One year finally rolled around and she didn't show up. "Where's Robocop?" I asked. "Didn't you know? She died on the operating table, getting another procedure." I still cry when I think of that day when they told me she'd died. The weird thing was, she always looked the same to me. Maybe what I saw was what she saw, only she didn't like it, while I thought she was just adorable.

Man, you can be perfect and still feel all wrong in this world, and kill yourself trying to get it right. And that's all I can say about not being crazy when it comes to your body.

Myrtle

Rant: Looks like I have to be the (first?) to bust Tina Fey for talking out both sides of her mouth. Her show reinforces every sexual and ethnic stereotype out there, all the way to the bank. Watching Alec Baldwin's snide remarks to her about her getting fat while he gets Enormous isn't entertainment. And Tina's brisk dismissal of the brilliant Rachel Dratch in casting for 30 Rock b/c Dratch's "look" wasn't right-sdfsdfslkasdk. Rachel had probably carried Fey for years when they were coming up.
I just saw an ad featuring Fey obviously holding her breath in some practiced "cute"pose as she was shilling for some product. Gag. Too bad Rachel didn't team up with Amy Poehler... May your crummy attitude die in a fire, Fey.

sovereignann@twitter

This post had me off my game all day. I don't know what it is about this stuff that makes me even nuttier. I think some of it has to do with the fact that I try and push all of this out of my mind because if I didn't I would never leave the house. I just have this perpetual mask on and it takes a lot of energy to pretend it isn't there so when stuff like this comes up, the cracks start to appear. Like I had a cupcake and I wanted to go into the phone room at work and eat it so I didn't have to be the fat woman eating a cupcake at her desk at work, in front of people. (the horror) Then the whole day was kind of fraught with triggers and pit falls that had me questioning everything about me and my abilities. I used to feel empowered when I would read stuff like this, the sort of, "FUCK YEAH! Stop doing THAT to yourselves! Unite and we can change the world!" but now...I don't know. I just want to not leave the house and see people because this stuff points out all my fears that the people at the grocery really are looking at me and my food and judging me. As if the content of my heart and head had no baring on me being a good person at all. Oooohhhh how I "love" being crazy.

@sovereignann@twitter I want to eat a cupcake with you. In fact, I want to make you a delicious plate of cupcakes and make you coffee and tell you that everything will be okay. *hug*

sovereignann@twitter

@S. Elizabeth Thank you. I would love to split a plate of delicious cupcakes and have coffee with you. Thanks for the hug.

OxfordComma

@sovereignann@twitter : I do that all the time.

Trying to just eat without judging yourself or the people around you is stupid hard. :(

shutthefrontdoor

@sovereignann@twitter I'm a little late with this, but I keep revisiting this post, because agh! So many issues, but so many smart women (and men!) articulating things I haven't yet! But yeah, judging I do it all the time and it's mainly at myself, but I worry because I'm so capable of it, that others are too.

David Foster Wallace kind of helps me? I really like his Kenyon Commencement Speech (http://publicnoises.blogspot.com/2009/05/david-foster-wallace-kenyon.html) and this quote:

"If you can think of times in your life that you've treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it's probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we're here for is to learn how to do it. I know that sounds a little pious."

Doesn't mean it isn't stupid hard though.

indiemaiden

I just watched all of Girls in about three days, and this article reminds me of Lena Dunham's character's declaration: "No I have not tried a lot to lose weight, because I decided that I was going to have some other concerns in my life, okay?"

WaityKatie

@indiemaiden I'm about 10 years older than anyone on that show, but Lena's willingness to display herself on television in "unflattering" outfits and camera angles is the number one most amazing/inspiring thing about that show to me. I find the show a little boring otherwise, but I love that aspect of it. I have taken to looking at clothes in stores and thinking, "well, Lena Dunham would wear that, so maybe I should try it on too," rather than my prior default "oh, that's not going to look good on my waist/arms/torso/pasty skin." Maybe a little pathetic for me that it took a tv show to get me to that point, but whatever works?

@WaityKatie Yoga did that for me. I'm not a tan, skinny, tall, bendy yogi? Fuck that noise, I will wear leggings as pants in this studio and you all can kiss my size 12 ass.

And nobody even cared.

Xanthophyllippa

@S. Elizabeth Unlike my previous yoga studio where all the instructors were twiglets (and the one before that where the instructor yelled at people who didn't do the poses the exact way she wanted), my now-favorite has instructors of all body types. I make a point of going to the class with the pudgy instructor because I know that if she can be chubby and teach, I can be chubby and do the poses just fine without open judgement. I wear a sleeveless running top from Target and a pair of old men's running shorts with the lining cut out (also from Target, 8 years ago) and anyone who doesn't like that can say hello to my giant Calves of Death.

@Xanthophyllippa Over the weekend I did yoga in the park because in the middle of Dyke Day/Pink Saturday, there was a little corner of the park with yoga mats, blocks, and a gorgeous (GORGEOUS) butch dyke hosting "Dykes Do Yoga!" for free. And so I did some yoga, and while I was coming out of a chest opener, I sat up using only my core. And instead of looking at my chub, or my thick thighs, or my weird hips, the (gorgeous, beautiful, I may be in lust with her) instructor said "wow, GREAT core" after I was almost all the way up and held myself there (shaking a bit) with my abs for a few seconds.

FUCK YES I HAVE A GREAT CORE. I had SUCH a yoga high for the rest of the day.

randummy

Oh the looks thing! (One of my) favorite subjects!

Whoah, Tina Fey always seemed compromised (coming up in SNL I think she had to try too hard to be "one of the guys") Still though, sometimes it's the compromised folks who push things forward. I just watched the Absinthe doc. and the fake/whack Czech stuff paved the way for legalization (I didn't realize absinthe was legal now?) And, mean girls was awesome, so Tina Fey, good girl/bad girl in both meanings of the word (good girl, suckin' in your stomach!)

Anyways... yeah, looks. I love that y/a book Uglies (gonna be a movie soon!) it's pretty revelatory. There is so much beauty that is missed and obscured by superficial gleanings of the world.

I think a lot of the beauty stuff comes down to jujitsu vis-a-vis women (since men have always been able to compensate with power the "ultimate aphrodisiac").

PP (sorry to be vulgar, but pussy power) is pretty strong, arguably even stronger, and certainly as strong, as the vital energy in men, but if your opponent is constantly off balance, it's easier to tip them over. As a man fearing rejection from his own self-doubt (is he *really* man enough...?) it's safer if you can convince your counterpart that there's something wrong with them. That's a winning strategy. Underhanded, sure. But when your backs against the wall, you play dirty. (I think women do the same, in passive-aggressively using their power, men always have the weak spot, and it can be women who goad men and reward them and who have more power than we maybe admit or realize).

It's such a losing game, because snow-white style, you're always losing ground. As a woman, most particularly. The peak is 16-17, maybe 21. Worship (and it's concurrent hate) of the young is silliness and self-defeating.

And self-love is so much more fulfilling and rewarding. Helps one in loving others, too.

So if you have others intentionally trying to throw you off balance and you've internalized the message, how do you get back on course? I think the basic answer is, what are we all so afraid of? And the answer seems to be our shadows. So I think it's worthwhile (and a useful strategy) for us all to just start facing our shadows and be a little brave, because ironically what we find when we do so is actually a huge amount of beauty, not the beast we've so been fearing. When you look behind the curtain, yes it's just a man (human/person wizard-of-oz style), but that's not so bad, after all. It's kind of amusing.

And humor, really, at the end end of the day, is our salvation.

Bullet-proof beauty is an armor against ridicule, but really... that's pretty ridiculous in and of itself, isn't it? We HAVE seen this, over and over (in our collective dreamscape, movies, and particularly more so, recently) where realness triumphs over superficial perfection -- it is far more layered and nuanced and intriguing and three dimensional. That golden cage is not so great as it seems, and to be loved for something other than you are (yourself) is not really much love at all, it's actually fear. Which sucks. It's lose-lose (beautiful people/ugly people) when it could be win/win (everyone rocks).

I think facing your shadow means going OMG what if nobody loves me and I'm a total elephant-man freak? And then loving that creature. Elephants are awesome! Grace is transformative. Perfection is impossible, and not even desirable. Our flaws make us approachable and human.

Marilyn died for our sins, and we should not let that be in vain. There is a better, more beautiful and effervescent way, that's just sillier and more fun.

As an unrelated woman-thing side note, I was on the subway the other day and there was a little girl wearing a short skirt, and a part of me sort of fretted, there's some upskirting panty showing going on, and this totally cool young dude started chatting with the middle-aged mom & daughter being very friendly and awesome. He then moved across from them as the subway emptied, and solicitously told the mom about the skirt thing. Well, the daughter, who just turned 4, seemed to pretty unconsciously start to unconcernedly let her skirt ride way up, so she was full on undies showing and I thought it was so cool, like this little kid was going, fuck you, I don't have to "cover up" you dolt. I'm not sexualized, I'm a little kid, these are my legs, these are my undies, get over it. I think we can just get over it a little wee bit, bit by bit. Beauty, meh. It's a thing. It's not THE thing, there are lots of things, and the most important thing is feeling halfway decent about yourself and having a good time with it.

bellekaren

Ah, the molestation thing :( Occupied me when I was a bit older.

randummy

@bellekaren I wonder, if we deconstructed molestation, what's going on there... certainly there's that same issue of empowerment, to have integrity over your body. I kind of get the feeling that there's some "feeding" on innocence, because little kids are so open and kind of wonderful in that way. Molestation is so dark... it puts a cloud over feeling like you own yourself because of a violation and a transgression... but at the same time, those dark corners seem to exist in *everyone* as part of the human condition which we wrestle with and creatively resolve thru being empowered human beings who don't wish malice to ourselves or others, and who don't need to steal because we already have.

I know, as far as the beauty thing, that it used to be really important to me for people to perceive me as desirable, but that desire was at the same time equally a burden, because while I felt like if I was beautiful then I could (safely, without fear of rejection) "just be" but at the same time, if I was the projection of others' validation then I actually couldn't "just be" because you are then sought out by others for validation. It's just the opposite side of the scapegoat coin, but it's not really so very much more comfortable despite seemingly being so.

I think it's really good if we strive to be healthy, and the best way to do that is to realize that we *are* empowered, and it's not so much the conspiring of outside forces that don't encourage us to be amazing, yes that's one truth, but a more significant truth is that we can take steps forward to allow ourselves to be, and then society will take the cue and it becomes a positive feedback loop rather than a negative one. I think if we all try and stop slapping ourselves around so much, that there'd be a lot less outer violence as well. Breathing... seems so simple, not so simple.

Cat named Virtute

@carolita I've been rocking sundresses for a couple of months now, and I haven't shaved my legs in about a year! I also shaved my armpits recently for the first time in five months and was a big whimpery baby in the shower because of the razor burn. Admittedly, though, my hair, while pretty damn long, is also light brown.

Arlowa

It's just so hard to BE sane D:
It is definitely a rare thing for me to feel beautiful and/or empowered. Most of the time I just feel stupid instead. Like I'm wasting my time even trying :/

kintrados

like the article mentions, i am sure i've spent more of my life in some sort of body-obsessed-thought-rut than actually living it and i have long suspected that is exactly why we do it. and i have to point out that i think pouring compliments all over ourselves is just as pointless as drowning ourselves in self-loathing - two sides of the same coin.
it seems ridiculous when you plot it out on a map: here, tell yourself you're ugly/gorgeous, worthless/deserving, flaw-addled/the standard, etc.. simply because it's a familiar (read: safe) place for your mind to go. it doesn't matter what the content of the loop is, what matters is that you don't have to pay attention to what's actually happening right now. and i don't mean to imply that we are avoiding some sort of traumatic event happening now or even in the past, but i do mean that paying attention is hard to do, no matter what is going on. facing life is pretty demanding for all of the big obvious reasons down to the tiny subtle ones. distracting ourselves is incredibly easy - we've built an entire culture that offers mostly that. retreating into the cascade of events that are set in motion by eating more/less than your body needs is a safety rut. if you can obsess about your body that means you don't have to think about... anything else. whether i'm feeling desultory or overwhelmed, the remedy is always there waiting for me.
it's all at once the perfect coping mechanism and a symptom of how we are dealing with (or not?) modern life. i've only recently had small-but-honest chats with my mom about body stuff, and like a lot of the comments here have already said, it wasn't so much that their generation was free of self-loathing (my mom thought she was ugly most of her life, still does to a degree) but i have a theory that without the information behemoth known as the internet (or even cable tv, in this case!), her generation was freed up to just live a little bit more than ours, and the same goes for each prior generation. doesn't mean they didn't make mistakes, or indulge in distractions, but they didn't have so many resources available to add to the mental din.
it's not that i think we should all go luddite either, but pointing out that the consequences make a whole lot of sense to me; that this pattern seems to be amplified with each generation as the cultural structures we've built fractal off into infinity.
i like to pretend that at some point in time people just ate when they were hungry, fucked when they felt the spark, marveled at life and just generally made merry when they weren't doing things like washing themselves or the dishes.
small addendum: you can sub pretty much any distraction/addiction in for this body stuff: drugs, booze, sex, food, pinball, civil war reenactment. there's this tiny tipping point.moment.voice.something where you can feel it filling up an emptiness/distracting you away from life. the things commonly labeled as Overtly Escapist (which are all ok by me, for the record) are only dangerous or threatening because, on some level, you can feel them being used to get away from something else and it's just missing the point.
i think i could type about this shit forever...

madge

@kintrados i love this comment so much and i can't agree with you more. in fact i think that's why being mindful is the one thing that can snap you out of the thought rut and into the present.

i also think your historical context is right on. i've been reading "2312" by kim stanley robinson, and in his vision the human species itself fractals off into variations. i don't know if this is a good or a bad thing, but i do think that our generation has a unique task in history, which is to learn how to remain human while also managing and using all these machines. i think we can figure out new ways to bring our human capacity for mindfulness and depth into the distraction-soaked present and even more vexing future.

kintrados

@madge yes and yes. and now i have another book on my list.
it's strange, there are very few things i'm sure of but that our generation is a bridge of sorts is one of them. it's palpable. as is the responsibility.
i was just sidestepping it with a healthy swim in my television and saw this perfectly related commercial for a car that apparently honks when the tires are filled to the correct pressure (!?!?), but the ad applies it to the guy's entire life. i wish i heard a honk every time i drifted off into mindlessness. not really, but the shift is so incredibly subtle and we are so jaw droppingly good at coming up with new and creative ways to spin out that i'm... mostly stunned by life, a lot of the time. which finds me getting quieter and quieter by the second (until i read a post like this, glimpse what you're pointing to and have to type back)so that i might actually be here for it.
the longer i ponder the honking car the more i want to pop the tires. if the guy was just paying attention in the first place, there wouldn't need to be a computer chip in there. ack. powering down brain.

madge

@kintrados did you ever read "island" by aldous huxley? it's his utopia, written 30 years after BNW. in it, there are all kinds of amazing things, but one of my favorite is these wild mynah birds that wander around the island saying "attention!" and "here and now, boys, here and now!" this has stuck with me for a long time ... and sometimes i imagine little mynah birds in my head reminding me to come back to now ... anyway i bet you'd really like that book. lots of strageties for building a society that raises sane humans.

kintrados

@madge summer reading list taking shape. i haven't read 'island', but i will now. the mention of bravery gets me excited, too because it's only recently that i even recognized it as one facet of paying attention (thankyouverymuch cozy.wonderful life).
i've been dabbling with this principle within buddhism (shocking! i know)called dralas. in short, it implies that there are free-willed intelligences "out there", everywhere, all the time, waiting to chat with us. what struck me about it is that it's this simultaneous motion of inviting them to communicate with you, and with that you're standing there, paying attention, participating in life exactly as it is right now - and i've sort of come to think of the internet as one of them, or one way to access them?
anyway, i tend to keep any sort of system/religion/hierarchical deal at a distance, but is fascinating stuff.

madge

@kintrados that is a cool idea about the dralas -- i've never heard of them before. i feel like there is intelligence embedded in the world all around us and we can access it if, like you say, we just pay attention to what's happening.

and that intelligence is embedded in us, too. we are children of evolution so all its genius is just naturally in us -- we just need to calm down our neuroses long enough to listen. it takes quiet and stillness, you know? and that's a hard thing to get when the internet is around!

kintrados

@madge yes. i think most generations and many cultures outside of ours just took the intelligence (both in and outside of us) as a matter of fact.
i catch it in conversations with my mom, and even more when she speaks to the way her parents raised her - they just trusted everything about who she was and what she did, without much fanfare or criticism. so much was a given. and clues me in that it still is.
funny thing is, she and my father didn't raise us much differently, but she admits that she didn't foresee (i can't see how she could have) the changes that came with our generation. and she's blown away when i tell her about some of my past mental journeys around men, body stuff, whatever the topic might be. usual response being, "when did life get so complicated...". which is something of a mynah bird call right there.

madge

@kintrados haha this totally reminds me of a conversation i had with my favorite teacher, a math teacher, when i was visiting him about a year after graduation. i was like "but sometimes i don't even know if i'm actually wanting or feeling something or just working myself up to want or feel it because i'm supposed to or i want some kind of rush or something" and he just kind of laughed and patted my hand and said, "no one does, but at a certain point you just decide to take things at face value because otherwise it's too exhausting."

kintrados

@madge eerily, so eerily that echoes a convo i had just a month ago when catching up with an old college professor. we were talking about what each of us had figured out via recent relationships and really, how the whole game was changing when my tone shifted from revelation to retreat. can't remember exactly, but something i said implied "i'm out". anyway, i do remember his reply, "i say bring on the chaos, there's really nowhere else to go".
strue.
related:
i have this friend who dives into everything. face first. no matter what happens - and so much happens to her in big dramatic ways - she plays it off as if it was exactly as she planned it. even if she's detailing an incredibly embarrassing moment, or a car wreck, there's this "well of course, silly!" tone to her presentation. most of our conversations are spent being boggled by the other because we are at two ends of whatever that spectrum is.

shutthefrontdoor

@kintrados You are a like a much easier to read version of David Foster Wallace. Also, love everything you said above.

Xanthophyllippa

From the NYT: She's 350 Pounds and Olympics-Bound

Discuss? I was really pissed off by the bit about her "enormous brassieres" and how the (female) reporter kept commenting on her weight/size.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Xanthophyllippa I kind of want to turn this into a discussion about how female athletes' looks are almost ALWAYS discussed, no matter the subject matter of the piece?

It shouldn't matter whether she's hot or single or big or has freckles or whatever. I'm so sick of it.

Xanthophyllippa

@Rookie Yeah. Case in point: any article written about Martina Navratilova, EVER.

Actually, I could see a reason for putting her weight in the headline if this were an article about fat ≠ unhealthy by definition - if it were about see, you can be bigger than average and still be fit. But instead, the entire article seemed to be about "WHOA LOOK AT MADAME MAXINE OVER HERE!"

pawtism

@Rookie Related: During the Women's World Cup in 2011, the TV commentators (specifically Ian Darke) continually felt the need to discuss the marital status of the players. I found it very surprising and annoying. These are world-class athletes and the World Cup isn't some meat market/pageant. And I have never encountered similarly obsessive coverage of players' relationship-status during a male sporting event.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

I loved, LOVED this article because I honestly don't know how to feel about my body. Some days I feel too skinny. Some days people tell me I'm too skinny. Some days I feel like holy crap what is wrong with my legs why are they so wide. Or I wonder whose standard of beauty is the most important. Or I hate how half of my old summer clothes are too big for me, but what will happen when I gain weight and the stuff that fits like a glove, doesn't anymore? Or why hasn't my time at the gym given me a more "athletic" body?

And then most days I try to just not give a fuck because let's be honest, like a lot of other commenters have said, there's more important stuff to spend time on. I can't afford to stare at myself in the mirror because I need to get to work and worry about job stuff, okay?

(Sorry, I just kind of needed to let this out)

OxfordComma

@Rookie : Dude, let it out! Your body is *your* body to have FEELINGS about.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@OxfordComma Thank you! Hopefully I'll remember this next time someone says something.

OxfordComma

@Rookie : ♥ Anytime, lady. Anytime.

Scandyhoovian

@all ARGH, the lose-weight-before-the-big-day pressure! I feel it too :( And at the same time, it's like... why am I suddenly feeling it more than I was before? Before I got engaged I was already working on losing weight--to the tune of having lost over half of my ultimate goal (I was really, REALLY overweight, and unhappy about my health), and so why in the hell does getting engaged suddenly ADD to that!? I was already doing it! What!

And then I realized it's because I'm getting BOMBARDED about it from all sides. It's not just the bridal magazines and websites talking about "working out your bridal trifecta" (shoulders, back, arms, for the record) or "lose that last 15 pounds!" or "20 pounds to the perfect wedding body!" or "Bridal boot camp!" or blah blah etc, it's also apparently one of the default questions people ask right next to "Can I see the ring?" and "When is the date?" -- "Do you have a dress yet or are you waiting to lose a few pounds?" "I remember when I got married I didn't eat bread for six months so I'd look great!"

What the hell, people! STOP IT! STOP! AAaaguhhhhh

shutthefrontdoor

@Wrecking Ball Gown Has anyone seen the movie TiMER? Because this conversation sounds just like the plot of the movie. And it has Emma Caulfield too!

1963248500@twitter

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1963248500@twitter

In fact, I want all of that for ALL of us. Right now! Limitless possibility made possible by our amazing bodies! For us and for all forthcoming babies! mountain house

1963248500@twitter

In fact, I want all of that for ALL of us. Right now! Limitless possibility made possible by our amazing bodies! For us and for all forthcoming babies! mountain house

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