It’s been a while since I woke up ranty, so here we go:

Do you get upset at the unrealistic expections the media seems to be setting for women size-wise?

If no, how do you do it? Are you just buying into it or able to shut it out completely? Because it upsets me, and yet, sometimes I can brush it off as nonsense, other times it leads me into a shame-spiral.

If yes, I don’t blame you. But I have more questions:

Do you internally (or, worse, verbally) criticize your friends about their weight?

If yes, why? Is it because you think everyone should conform to a certain body size/shape? Is that because of Charlize Theron being genetically gifted with an A-List Hollywood body? Because Scarlett Johansson has a nice butt? Because you think there’s a correlation between thinness and health? Also, seriously, stop doing it.

If no, do you criticize yourself about your size?

If you do, then why are you setting a higher ‘standard’ for yourself than other people? It’s unfair to yourself. It leads to, or propagates, unhealthy thinking.

I was thinking about this a lot yesterday, because I was remembering being the ‘fat kid’ in my group of junior high/high school friends after biking by a gaggle of girls in that age group. Except, y’know, I wasn’t fat. Not even a little. I was just taller (by quite a lot) than my friends, and proportionally a bit bigger. I had (relatively) big ol’ ladyhips early (no boobs until later, though) and fairly big thighs, which I kept hidden under giant broomstick skirts a lot of the time. (The early 1990s! Yay!)

But I was a (better) runner back then. And I come from peasant stock with muscular legs. True, now there’s a fair bit of padding too, and once there was much more, but so what?

So what? I’ve hated my thighs more or less since I was 13. I’m 35 now. There’s still a lot of mental fixing I need to do before I stop obsessing about them. Do I blame the media? Sure, a bit, but I also blame myself for falling for all that nonsense for so long. I’m not a catwalk model. I’m not an actress. It’s not my ‘job’ to fit into a single digit size or to wear skinny jeans or any of that rot. My ‘job’ is to do my actual paying job, and to pursue the things I’m good at and interest me. So I should focus on that.

(Also, I have mixed feelings about Gwyneth Paltrow, but I love that she is candid about how fucking hard it is to stay Hollywood thin, though I sure don’t agree with her weirdo detox bullshit.)

But, being human and therefore fallible, I still have a lot of mental traps to navigate my way around, jump over, and occasionally fall into. Where’s Pitfall Harry when you need him?

On a similar note, here are some brilliant takes on the absolutely ridiculous cover of Catwoman #0.

One thought on “(Saddle)baggage.

  1. Jackie

    Oh god, so many conflicting feelings.

    I do get upset at the unrealistic expectations. Not just size, but also looks. You see a scene in a movie or TV show with a lot of extras… say, a restaurant or a nightclub. EVERYONE is not only thin, but great-looking. That bugs. In fact, anytime you see someone on-screen who is more than slightly off-perfect, that person is almost always purposely cast as “ugly/fat/slobby/whatever”. It’s by design; you’re supposed to notice it. Is it any mystery why people are so self-conscious? We’re trained that people are *supposed* to notice us specifically for our perceived flaws.

    However, here’s where I admit that I like looking at attractive people. I don’t always find the thinnest, Hollywood-perfect folks attractive, but I sometimes do. They are like pieces of art, these human specimens. It’s a very superficial admiration, for sure. Do I hold all people to this standard? Fuck no. Plus, there are always physical aspects of my friends, male or female, that I admire and sometimes covet – you included. So if I do it, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to think that maybe someone looks at me and wishes they had my [_____], though in my own head that seems preposterous.

    I don’t tend to care about my friends’ weight. I don’t think thin people are necessarily healthy OR more fit. One of the main things that got me to that realization was starting to run in organized races – you see all sizes. I found that amazing and uplifting.

    I will cop to being obsessed with the padding around my waist. I sit down and it folds over the top of my jeans, no matter how good my posture is. I know this is stupid. I do amazing things. My legs are all muscle. I have generally decent proportions. I wonder if I’ll ever get past this. Working with 25 year olds doesn’t help. Mostly I try to dress to draw attention away from my midsection and not think about it and keep being active. I will admit that there’s a certain satisfaction to be had in feeling more energetic and stronger than the average 40 year old woman. This makes me a smug bastard, I know.

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