It’s that time of year when I’d rather not look in the mirror. That time of year when my skin is at its palest. And of course, spot one flaw, spot them all. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. Is that a double chin? What happened to my collarbone? Where did it go? Is my collarbone showing too much? Why is my butt jiggly. And why are my thighs moving that way? Are my elbows too knobby? Is the gap between my thighs wide enough? Or why don’t I have a gap between my thighs? I do all that legwork and nothing happens in my thighs but now I have a bubble butt and potato-shaped calves.
Can you feel the headache coming on? Have you bashed your head into the wall so much that you left a dent and some blood? Are you done mentally carving yourself to pieces like a butcher? So let’s get the collective knife out our backs and figure out a few things.
Who’s to blame?
It’s not men. They have to fit into tight, low-waist tapered pants that show just a glimpse of ankle, sport perfectly groomed beards, maintain their hair so that it looks like it gets cut every week by a stylist and not a barber, and then their chests. They get to compete with the Hemsworth brothers, the entire cast of SEAL Team, S.W.A.T. and 9-1-1, every fast, strong, agile and drop-dead-gorgeous-super-sexy comic book character from Captain America to Wolverine, AND mutant heroes of the shifter romance genre. So, they don’t have it easy either.
Can we blame the media? Take a moment and look around you. How many twig-like Amazonian women are you seeing right now? If you’re a fashion model or live in L.A., never mind. If you’re a mere mortal woman, note that there aren’t any. However, she is not a mythical creature. She’s been corralled along with every woman of the same body type by capitalism.
Next time you watch TV or Netflix, notice how when an actress turns sideways, her body blends into the scenery. It’s not camouflage. It’s her size. If I don’t focus on her face, she disappears.
It’s scary. At least for me. Because if every woman I see in the media is gorgeous, always made-up, fabulously dressed and laptop thin, I start to think that should be me too. And people, I have never come close to that. And realistically, I never will unless I become extremely sick. It’s just not my body type. Nor is it the body type of most women out there. Why would I even consider that for myself? I wouldn’t except I get bombarded with images of that single body type over and over again.
And this media that’s affecting my state of mind, that’s not just warped unethical capitalism, it’s me and you, right? We repost pics of who we’d like to look like. We spend hours filtering and retouching our selfies. We consume gym memberships, self-help fitness books, try the latest fad diets like we can all be Karlie Kloss or Hailey Baldwin. Yet, in their own eyes, they are as flawed as we are in ours. They are as beautiful to others as we are to others. And they are as unique in the universe as we are unique in the universe.
I’ve posted about Taryn Brumfitt, who is promoting self-accepting throughout her organization Body Image Movement, before. There are also actresses like Victoire Dauxerre who are creating change by exposing impossible realities. Just the title of her memoir says so much: Size Zero: My Life as a Disappearing Model. And we had the beautiful Ashley Graham gracing the cover of 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Self-confidence often lands as the number one most important trait of attractiveness. Let’s focus on building that by adopting a positive self-image. By doing accepting ourselves as we are, we are making our contribution toward a body positive, body inclusive world.
What’s your body challenge? Where do you see change happening? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.