“I wish I could tie you up in my shoes, make you feel unpretty to..” People probably do not think of the band TLC when they think of “feminism” and those that stand for it. However their music articulated a lot of issues women deal with in our modern day culture. In this country women are bombarded with images that are held up as ideal. Men also absorb these messages. The combination is a dangerous mixture of warped expectations. A simple survey of women’s magazines shows common themes: Fashion (usually out of the average woman’s price or size range), beauty (again usually overpriced & not practical to the everyday woman but yet a full face of make-up is held up as the norm by such publications. There is 99.9% of the time a section on a new diet. The implications by these magazines are huge. Women are told indirectly how they should look, how they should eat & how to catch a man. It would seem there are many areas of American life that have not progressed passed the 1950’s.
On the flipside there is a growing trend of self love that borders on reverse discrimination. Facebook pages such as “Curvy Girls are Better Than Skinny Girls” have popped up. While I commend women who do not meet the model stereotype (and lets face it, most of us dont) I am concerned that this self love is just a destructive. Tearing down others does not lift another group up. I commend anyone who is confident in themselves regardless of size. I agree that Kate Winslet is certainly healthier looking than Kate Moss. That said, this attitude only serves to substitute one form of hate for another. This does nothing to lift up women as a whole. It is up to us to combat stereotypes by rejecting them. It is up to us to accept each other as we are and promote love of all body types.
I have friends of all body types. I love all of my friends and consider them beautiful in their own unique ways. I myself am in fact a size 2…but a proportional one. I’m 4’10” and extremely (genetically) petite. I couldn’t be a supermodel anymore than my non-size 2 friends. I”m okay with that. What I am not okay with is the backlash towards thin people, some of which I have personally experienced. I tire of hearing how “unhealthy” I look or how I should “eat more.’ I feel incredibly self conscious when people comment about my size. I don’t comment on my friends bodies. This seems horribly invasive to me. More so when I find friends have joined the aforementioned Facebook groups. Of course if I had a friend I was concerned about, I would hope I could pull them aside and let them know I’m concerned & cite specific things I’m concerned about, in a loving way. However I have never done that because I’ve never felt any of my “bigger than me” friends didnt take care of themselves. And that is the key no matter what size a person is. I exercise. I eat right. I don’t starve myself. I also do not read women’s magazines or any of their recommended diets. I am confident in my appearance, so comments such as the ones mentioned aren’t really anything to be except annoying and offensive. Logic and the USDA have issued guidelines for healthy living & healthy diet which I loosely follow. All people should look at these guidelines to tailor them to their lives. Dieting should be done in conjunction with a program (Weight Watchers etc.) or a doctor in my opinion. Many fad diets-including & especially some of the ones I have seen in magazines- are downright dangerous. I cannot stress enough these things: self love, acceptance of others, educating yourselves. These things, when practiced by all of us, can help heal and help eliminate these stereotypes. And throw away those magazines.