I’ve noticed in my social media circles recently that there has been a lot more attention given to body shaming, and how it needs to be addressed and abolished. There are nipple activists (why do women’s nipple need to be hidden, when men can “out” them whenever they feel?”), there is a movement toward ethical consumerism toward companies that support body-positive outlooks, and a growing resistance to over-the-top diets, what’s an acceptable bikini body:
Thank God, and it’s about time. I know that maybe I’m just seeing this more and more because of the social circles I travel in, but it is refreshing.
I’ve been battling bad body consciousness for most of my life (save the first few years of my life when I was blissfully ignorant and unaware of what a girl’s/woman’s body is supposed to look like). How could I not when all I heard from the women and girls around me was “diet” this, “workout” that, and don’t forget all the images and “advice” from helpful teen magazines on how to look hot to get the guy (because that’s what life is all about, of course).
I went through adolescents believing I was ugly because I – gasp! – had glasses, and a bit of hair on my arms and upper lip, and because I didn’t have boobs, and then because I did. Because I didn’t have a perfectly flat stomach, or because I had “flat” hair.
When I gained weight in university, and went ALL THE WAY up to a grotesque 145 pounds, I thought it was the end of the world. And, I was proven right when I lost over 20 pounds after a very bad breakup and everyone told me how great I looked. I spent the rest of my 20s trying to get back to that magical weight where I was loved and appreciated by all for my looks.
When I turned 30, I started to be conscious about trying HARD to love my body the way it is at any state. Be that my “normal” state, during pregnancy, or being down to my lowest adult weight after my stroke. But, it’s a difficult thing to achieve, especially with the constant comments from others about whether I look good or or not (during pregnancy, is the WORST, of course, because somehow your body becomes public property).
I try my best to stay positive during “ugh, I have to diet” and “I hate my flabby arms” conversations that seem to crop up with groups of women…but I usually end up going away broken hearted. Why does this have to be the way women feel about themselves?
But, I’m definitely not immune to thinking negatively about myself. Recent, I’ve been wanting to stop shaving my legs…because what WASTE of time and effort, am I right??…but I can’t seem to “pull the trigger” because I know what others would think or (even worse) say.
I would also love to be happy with my body and wear a bikini (or even a regular swimsuit) without feeling totally conscious. I have never felt that freedom, and doubt I ever will. Knowing that is a pretty shitty feeling.
I hope the body-positivity keeps growing, and that women as a whole can give themselves permission to love themselves as is, instead of striving for something the media tells them is better than reality.