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I can’t believe it’s already November! Crazy, right? Also – it seems like there has been a body image-related story in the news almost every day! So let’s get caught up …
FIRST OF ALL: Unless you’re just not totally obsessed with lady blogs, there’s no way you haven’t heard about the disaster that went down at Marie Claire last week. Writer Maura Kelly wrote a blog post about “watching fat people on TV” that basically sounded like some of the most superficial, hateful remarks from a junior high slambook. The post itself wracked up almost 1,000 comments, some of which were from Maura herself trying to defend herself. But she soon posted a lame-ass “apology,” saying that she thinks maybe her discomfort with overweight people stems from her own anorexia. (Uh, yeah, ya think?) Then, as if overnight, everyone had an opinion on the situation… I personally loved Dodai’s post at Jezebel, which called fat-phobics out as a bigoted idiots. Some of the comments actually made me tear up. For instance:
“I come to Jezebel nearly every day because it’s one of the only places I know of where I can honestly talk about body image with other people who (for the most part) get it. I’ve been able to talk about my struggles with showing my arms in sleeveless dresses, the hurt I’ve felt from my own parents sometimes, the judgement I feel when I eat in public – you name it. And yes, I’ve done all of this while trying (and succeeding, for the most part) to lose weight. Having a place to actually talk about it where I don’t get shitty platitudes like I do at Weight Watchers (“nothing tastes as good as thin feels”)has been a good thing. Hell, it’s been a great thing. I know it’s not here as a support group, but it certainly makes me feel like there are lots of other fabulous women who struggle too. And the fact that there is one little piece of the world that doesn’t judge me and condemn me for struggling all my life with obesity is glorious, indeed.” –erinfabu
Some thanked Dodai for her shoutout to women with PCOS, while others explain how much they used to hate their bodies when they were overweight, but they were still unhappy even after shedding a few pounds! It was once they learned to not equate their self-worth with the scale that they found themselves happier and healthier.
Reading these comments, I felt like I was surrounded (mostly) by other women who are all in the same boat: At various shapes and sizes, we’re all doing our best to be healthy. But sadly, a few self-hating skinnies with big, really loud media-backed megaphones don’t seem to have any clue what that looks like.
The fact that we’re often faced with their blog posts, advertisements, essays, feature articles, commercials, cover lines, books, etc. doesn’t help, when we’re already struggling with self-acceptance and body love. Hello, MORE news for ya: 40% of us are unhappy with our bodies, says a new survey by Glamour. And 71% of us “feel fat,“ even though only 46% are technically overweight.
Given the vitriol that one lone women’s pub (Marie Claire) seems to think is acceptable to spew about anyone who doesn’t fit into its fashionista definition of beautiful and healthy … is it any wonder that so many of us are paranoid and delusional about our own appearances? I mean, this isn’t exactly news to you, right?
Just look at Demi Lovato … The gorgeous young Disney star went to rehab this week for eating disorders and cutting, triggered by body image issues. This may be an extreme case, but it’s proof that the problem is out of control…
It seems to me every woman could stand to learn something from plus-size model Crystal Renn, who recently said, “I think that, you know, I will never be thin enough or big enough for anybody. So I think through this whole thing I had to just really be happy being who I am, and that’s when I found health.”
It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I feel like, at least for me, it’s well worth the every pair of jeans, every glimpse of cellulite, every day struggle.
How ’bout you?
Slacked a bit this week, sorry! I’m busy, busy, busy with some up and coming writing projects that I’m very excited about. In fact, stay tuned for my first Heroine: In Real Life Q&A to be featured early next week. I’ll be chatting with a warmhearted diva from Palos Hills, Illinois who has lost 85 lbs. in a most inspiring way! In the meantime, a discovery…
We’ve all been there. In a dressing room at a department store, and you hear a gorgeous, fit-looking woman say, “There’s no way I could ever wear that dress, unless I lost 20 lbs.” Or you pass a gaggle of svelte teen girls in the mall, chattering about how they should really “skip the carbs.” Or, we ourselves, stand in front of the mirror and scrutinize: “My arms are like bat-wings. My thighs are dimply. My belly, pouchy. Ugh!” What’s insanely freaky is that this socially pervasive fat-talk is catching for the much younger ones. Don’t you think it seems like a disease that must be cured?
One antidote: Operation Beautiful, started by a 25 year-old named Caitlin, who began her campaign by scribbling anonymous, feel-good notes to other women. Then, she’d tack them on public bathroom mirrors, in gyms, in retail stores, etc. She says, “The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough… just the way you are!” She began Operation Beautiful, because she was fed-up with hearing fellow femmes’ chronic “fat-talking.” Her hope was that the self-love-promoting Post-Its would inspire other women, and then they’d pay the message forward. It worked like gangbusters. Now, supporters of the mission send photos of their Post-Its to Caitlin on a daily basis, and she features them on her Web site. She even has a book coming out in August.
For many of us, it’s a revelation… That even if you need to drop a few pounds for health reasons or your skin is broken out thanks to PMS or your jeans are giving you muffin-top today or your hair is frizzy because it’s humid outside, guess what? You are still beautiful. Caitlin’s Post-It Revolution is a sweet, simple way to broadcast that important message to the world.
I think I’ll make it my mission to post one today. How about you?
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