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Tyra Banks, Ugly muscles and Skinny bitches.

Tyra Banks, Ugly muscles and Skinny bitches.

I dont spend a lot of time watching television these days. Not in an effort to avoid its rotting of my brain, but Im too busy for it. I miss the days of kicking back and watching my guilty pleasures, and once upon a time Americas Next Top Model was one of them. In case you were wondering my current favorites that I patiently await new seasons on dvd (and silently hope to have time for) are True Blood, Project Runway, Weeds and Mad Men. Anyway, Ive lost track of ANTM but caught part of an episode on the elliptical the other day and found it interesting and upsetting.

It started out cool. Apparently cycle 14 is non-traditional models in that they are all 57 and under. Im all for that! So they go through some challenge, some girl whines about her make-up; so far all pretty typical and then they review the pictures.

Now I am (clearly) not in the modeling industry. And I understand there are certain industry standards they are wanting the girls to meet. But this cycle breaks those standards right? And Tyra, recently having her kiss my fat ass campaign, seems to be wanting to stretch the boundaries of the modeling industry. Right? Isnt that the whole idea behind the short girls cycle?

Apparently not. Ive been scouring the interwebs trying to find this photo and cant. Ill keep looking. In the mean time picture this beautiful girl. Tyra loves the photo, her face looks great, her body is posed well and then she says look at that arm! And Im thinking Yeah, look at that beautiful arm! Its lean and muscular. This chick clearly does some lifting or is genetically blessed in a way some people would kill for. And then she says Too much muscle something about the way it pops and how models need to be lean and soft, with no visible muscle.

I should have kept watching. I should now be able to tell you how she responded or if she got booted. Did Tyra suggest she not work out? How Tyra, should she go about losing these ugly muscles!?? But instead I turned off the television and went on about my weight lifting. What the hell?

Save me the emails about the modeling industry. I get it. They are supposed to be gaunt. But why? And why on the ONE cycle that is supposed to be challenging industry standards are arm muscles not okay? Its not as though she looked like ArnoldSchwarzenegger.

There has been a cultural uprising of people wanting to challenge the beauty ideal to include curvier women. Curves are becoming stylish with Kim Kardashian, campaigns about banning fat talk, magazines featuring plus sized models etc. Its a wonderful thing. Not sure how large the impact is so far, but the idea is great. I jumped on that wagon, found some love for myself and was able to get healthy. Now that I am at a healthy weight and have found a love for exercise and specifically weight training Im finding a whole other set of ideals I hadnt been as aware of before.

As women have become more financially successful and are obtaining higher education at a larger rate than men the beauty standard has shifted dramatically. The pin ups of the bygone era were iconic and curves wereaccentuated. Now men are to be large and strong as an ox and women are to be tiny and muscle-less. The fitness industry plays into this as well- saying lift 1lb dumbbells and always calling strength training toning. Got that ladies? You can get your edumacation and have your career but you must be tiny and crushable and by the way- on a woman- physical strength is ugly, gross in fact.

Now there is a place for low weight, high reps in fitness and strength training. Ideally you would cycle this kind of training for toning and muscle definition with low reps, high weight routines to build muscle. That is, if strength training is your thing. And I understand that what everyone enjoysaestheticallyis different. My issue is with the notion that womenshouldnt be strong and that muscles are not attractive. If that isnt what YOU want that is fine. Im not trading one ideal for another. Im not interested in telling you how I want MY body to be in an effort to tell you how you should want yours.

However Im sick of being told how I should be/look/feel damnit.

I cant tell you how many times since I lost weight people have warned me about my body.

You dont want to get too skinny from one corner and Dont get too muscular- gross! from the other Dear Tyra Banks-modeling industry-every lastacquaintance/person who feels the need to comment on my body, KISS MY MUSCULAR GLUTES! Love, Erin

There are extremes. I admit I used to be someone who didnt understand body building or figure competitions. I myself have surely grumbled something about all those muscles being gross. I did this for two reasons: 1) I was jealous. I didnt understand how I couldnt get my big ol butt down to a one digit pant size and these bitches could craft their bodies into muscle machines. 2) I didnt get it. I thought this was a look they were trying to achieve and not about athleticism. Its about hard work, building muscle, pushing your body and being proud of the result. Im sure these women also enjoy theirphysique, but in the off competition months these women dont walk around flexing like you see in the pictures and actually purposefully pack on a few pounds.

Similarly, slender women catch flack openly in a way I find upsetting. Because they meet some peoplesperceivedideal, either naturally or through hard work, it is socially acceptable to mock and accuse of disease. It is not okay to badger an overweight person about eating fast food (it happens, its not okay and I think universally thought of as rude). It is also not okay to badger a thinperson about choosing to eat some vegetables. And it is SO not okay to make backhanded comments about eating disorders or feigning concern about such things. I have watched too many close to me suffer from actual eating disorders to see any under-breath commentary with such allegations as an effort to be helpful or show concern. I also have some friends who are naturally thinner than they themselves would like, and have seen them battle with serious self esteem issues (never wearing shorts/tank tops, fearing bathing suit season, not wanting to leave the house) overtheirbodies; only to leave the house and have others berate and belittle them about their size.

This is all understandable. We have spent our lives being told our worth is in the size/shape of our bodies. This becomes internalized and we feel badly. When we feel badly we project these feelings onto others. People who feel great about themselves do not spend a lot of time judging others. This body-hate stuff starts with ourselves and moves outward. I try to remember this when people say rude things to me regarding any part of my person. I try to keep in mind that whatever they say to me, they must say much worse to themselves, and for that I wish them peace.

Now how bout we cut it out already?! If at any point in this post you have agreed with the nay sayers. i.e. Yes muscles are gross and ugly or somebody should say something when people look too skinny Consider why you might be thinking that. Consider if its helpful. Do others have any need for your commentary on their bodies/body type/food choices etc? Do you want to receive them yourself? How do you feel about the idea ofanyone telling you how you should be/what is acceptable and attractive for YOU? Even if you truly dont think someone elses body is attractive or dont understand why they would want to be small/big/muscular/curvy *whatever* it is a sign not of their issues but your own if you feel you must share this with others, or spend much time thinking about it at all.

For years I was subject to the ongoing commentary from (seemingly) the world about my body. The overwhelming message was that it was not acceptable and an issue of morality and character. The primary (and most powerful) sender being me. Im now finding that we all receive that message in some way. Nothing is ever good enough. What a dismal idea. So lets try something new:

Lets try to love ourselves enough that we can give others the space to do the same. Lets turn ourpersonal ideals intopersonal goals and allow others their own. I know as women we sometimes struggle to be kind to ourselves, but if you can start by being kind to others perhaps you will turn some of that inward.

The new campaign to ban fat talk is a good start. But Id like to extend the challenge so that we dont move from one beauty standard to another. Lets work on negative talk about our (and others) bodies all together. Our bodies are uniquely ours, they were given to us by our mothers and we should love and respect them. Let us extend that same respect to others.

Women are beautiful. We come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us want powerful strong muscles, some of us want small toned yoga-bodies, some of us want dramaticvoluptuous curves and most of us wish we had something we dont. Be kinder than necessary as we are all fighting some sort of battle, and its about damn time that we stop judging eachothers bodies so harshly. We have an uphill battle to change cultural notions/beauty industry standards without bringing them upon ourselves.

Today, consider thatYOU are BEAUTIFUL. And so is every woman you will meet.

Lets stop sizing eachother up andlift eachother up. Only good can come of it!

Love, Mama

Category: Other Stuff