Part of the fun of being in the (largely female) blogging community is watching how much they support each other and build each other up.
Contrary to what you may believe about the confidence levels of someone who constantly post photos of themselves or who writes about every thought that pops into their head, it’s actually really hard to put yourself out there like that.
Women are conditioned to be ashamed of what they look like. It’s a well-documented phenomena that begins to affect the way girls view themselves from before they’ve even started puberty. We’re taught to be jealous of each other, and to see other women that we perceive to be attractive as the enemy. What’s worse, is how we’re taught that women who we perceive to be attractive should be ashamed of themselves. This is where we learn terms like “slutty” and resort to attacking each other based on appearance or dress sense instead of actual grievances.
We LOVE to tear each other down, and the ridiculous thing is that we don’t actually need each other’s help to do it. I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of things I already hate about myself, and I really don’t need other women to add to that list for me. Any and all opinions you currently have about my body and my face, I can pretty much guarantee I’ve already dissected it and thought about it in great detail in front of a mirror at some point in my life.
Like the friend who constantly laughed and called me “chicken legs” because I have fat thighs and thin calves – I know. Like the girl who told me I looked like a cancer patient without makeup on – I know. Or the girl who told me I looked better with braces because my teeth are too large without them – I know. And the girl who said my stomach was quite large for such a skinny girl – I. know.
I’m not saying I’ve never said anything rude about another girl’s appearance. Like I said, we’re taught to hate each other from day one, and unlearning that behaviour takes time. These days though, I only ever want to say positive things about the women around me. If I’m going to say something negative, then you can be damned sure it will be something to do with their politics, their opinions or some shitty insensitive thing they’ve said. I never want to be one of those girls who haunts another girl’s thoughts every time she looks in the mirror, like those girls haunt mine.
So why do I haunt my own?
I’m old enough now that I should know better than to dwell on these things, but it doesn’t stop me. I want to be body positive – I want to not give a shit about any of these things, but I do. I want to say “fuck it” and eat exactly what my body is craving right then, and dress in anything I consider to be pretty, regardless of what part of my body it shows off. I want to wear a goddamned itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie bikini to the goddamned beach because I’m sick of having ridiculous tan lines from the giant sacks I currently own. I want to not hate myself for every day that I’m too tired or sick or sore or sad to face going to the gym.
And then I start questioning every thought I’ve ever had: do I want to lose weight and go to the gym because I like how it makes me feel or because I’m still trying to make my body fit in? Am I still subconsciously trying to impress someone? Am I actually a really shit feminist?
I don’t want this patriarchal, misogynistic world that tells me that there’s something wrong with this body I have no control over, to keep beating me. I want to practice what I preach when I tell girls their bodies are perfect and believe it for myself. I want to shout “Yaaass, you look amazing” at myself as well as at you. I want to be able to say “no one is looking at your stomach” and then not immediately turn around and put on the baggiest shirt I can find in order to hide mine.
Because I do believe that – I’ve never once looked at a girl in a tight dress and thought “fuck, her stomach is HUGE.” I’ve thought “damn she looks great” or “I wish I could pull that off” or “God, she’s no smaller than me, why can she wear that and I can’t?” I am super, super here for all those bloggers challenging deeply held societal views about what is physically beautiful. I want to be like you. I want to be one of those people who doesn’t view food as the enemy, and accepts that my hips are always going to be wide, and my thighs are always going to jiggle. I don’t want to look at a pizza and think about how much fat and carbs it contains. I want to be proud of the fact that 90% of the time I genuinely can’t be arsed to shave my legs or trim my pubic hair, but you better believe I’m going to wear stockings and long trousers when it’s unseasonably warm just to hide that fact. I can’t practice what I preach (yet), I’m still a product of mainstream beauty and internalised misogyny.
I want to be body positive, but on this day, I’m just positive that my body fucking sucks.