I noticed something the other day that made me think about how as women we are so groomed from young to be so fucking critical of ourselves and each other. We hold ourselves to impossibly high standards of beauty that have been set by the patriarchy and white supremacist values on what is deemed attractive. I don’t know if it is because I am getting older and have had issues with my libido in the last year making me feel asexual and therefore given me a little break from wanting to be “attractive” to find a mate? Mate, I am just not interested. I feel so removed from it all and it has given me food for thought and space to breathe. I have noticed though that I feel a lot happier in myself, generally. I have found myself dressing in a way that makes ME happy and not because I think I should be a certain way to add value to myself so that someone might pick me…
I have made some peace with my body, it is all mine, it is flawed and yet I love myself more than ever.
I am in the fittest shape of my life at the moment even though I am a bit fat, but fit and strong and feeling very powerful as a woman, probably cause I do not give a fuck anymore what anyone thinks of how I look. I also don’t want to hear anyone call me beautiful either, god its so dull. Tell me I have an amazing laugh, I have great style, I am hilarious, or that my essence is compelling. I am magnetic as fuck and that isn’t about my body is it….
What I do find interesting though is recent chats with a variety of women I know who are all up there at the top of the hierarchy of “good looking women”. They tick the conventional beauty boxes: slim, check, pretty, check, big boobs, check, nice hair, check and so on. However; these women sometimes say things that I cannot get my head around. They feel self-conscious, they hate their stretch marks, they worry about wobbly bits, they worry about wearing a bikini. How is it that women who would be looked upon as traditionally beautiful be so insecure? What does that say about our society? Why do we feel stretch marks are disgusting? Why do we aspire to slim ourselves down to the point we all need to look the same? Why do we worry about wobbly bits when our bodies are made up of wobbly ermmmm flesh?
Don’t get me wrong, I have also at times worried about these things myself, especially as I have been fat in varying degrees for most of my life, but in the last few years or so I have done a lot of work on it all and I realise that I am much more than what this outershell is. I have come to appreciate my body for what it does for me, how strong it is, how biologically fucking amazing it is. Because of that I respect my body a lot more and you know what, I am so tired of hearing negatives about women’s bodies, especially spoken from the women themselves. Hearing women putting themselves down actually hurts my heart and then as good girls we rush to tell the woman putting herself down that “she is beautiful” and that she is “stunning” or “gorgeous” therefore perpetuating the very thing that keeps us imprisoned in the negative cycle. And as women automatically say these things to other woman yet they don’t believe it for themselves? Make that make sense…
Imagine we said “yea you have stretch marks” and that is it, full stop. What is wrong with stretch marks? Why do we hate them so much? Most men have stretchmarks too, do they sit round hating on themselves about it? Id say, the majority don’t.
Also, what if we acknowledged that fatness isn’t a sign of ugliness? Also, wouldn’t it be great if we stopped using the world ugly when we speak about humans? What if we accepted that we all come in different shapes and sizes and that we can be free to be whatever we want. If I complain about my body being fat, are you gonna tell me “no you’re beautiful” or “no you have a stunning figure”? But you and I both know you don’t believe that cause you’re terrified to wear a bikini and your body is a “normal size” – see how flimsy and futile all your words are when you rush to validate a woman on her looks.
This validation that women seek and give when another woman puts themselves down is such a major part of the problem of internalised misogyny. If you feel better cause your mates told you you are gorgeous then you have to do some work on yourself.
I plead to all women reading this, stop raking over your body with a magnifying glass and hating on it. So what you don’t look like the models in the magazine, but they don’t even look like that. When you start to tell yourself hateful things about your body, check yourself and stop it. Look at what your body DOES FOR YOU. Say thank you to your body for getting you through another day. Stop telling your friends they are “stunning” or “beautiful” when they are having a moan about themselves. Think of creative things to say about them. Tell them you love their personality and their words and kindness, their strength and intelligence. Stop parroting platitudes that are the very thing that make us sick in the first place. Beauty is more than the way you look, it is your essence and we are all beautiful in our own way, I wish more of us could see and feel that. Be joyful about your body, it is amazing and it is uniquely you, please.