We are on the same team
My recent posts have drawn a lot of attention and controversy. Most of which suggest that I dont understand a larger picture. However not addressing every feminist issue in a post about Victorias Secret models does not mean Im short-sighted.
As women we are the numerical majority in a country that is no stranger to oppressed people rising together and making change. And yet we are still an oppressed minority.
When I say Victorias Secret is not responsible for your body image I dont mean it doesnt impact it. I also dont mean that you are a shitty, bitter person if it does. I responded in anger. Because what I was seeing in posts was women attacking women. Not the beauty myth. Not the company. Not marketing. But other women.
When I say they arent responsible for your body image Im attacking the power we as individuals attach to it. I dont know how to dismantle all the messages wereceivefrom the cradle on that we arent good enough. Its a really loud message. It comes from everywhere. Nothing we do matters unless we do it while living up to a very narrow beauty ideal. Models are also women. Id be shocked if most of them havent at some point if not regularly felt terrible about their appearance and subsequently their worth due to these same messages.
This is a very profitable ideal. And we buy it. We buy the new American lifestyle of food that isnt food and overwhelming inactivity. We counteract this with diet pills, disordered eating (different from eating disorders but damn it I can only take on so much here in one post) and most recently drastic caloric restrictions along with a daily hormone injection. *Hows that for touching on a lot at once.* I dont say this to put us down. You arent stupid if you are buying into this stuff. Im merely expounding ever so slightly on the macro issues that contribute to our current state and illustrating that there are a lot of shareholders in this. Lots and lots of people literally buy stock in our low self esteems.
So Im saying fuck that. Not the models. Not Victorias Secret. Not diet pills. Fuck the idea that you arent good enough. Fuck the idea that you arent beautiful enough. Fuck the idea that you arent enough. You are enough. Exactly as you are.
Is it easier said than done? Yes. But some how I went from suicidal notions over my body and deeply rooted jealousy toward anyone I felt measured up more than me to a grounding sense of self worth in every aspect of my person. Including beauty.
I did this by deciding I was good enough. As I was. The rest of that journey involved testing my physical limitations and surpassing them. Measuring my body by improvements in strength and performance which makes me feel strong and not by comparisons to magazines. And I didnt suddenly start waiving the you are good enough flag after I lost 100lbs. This has been my soap box for many years, I just finally got through to myself. I could see so clearly that all the other women were good enough. I needed to believe that I was. And from there I was able to finally treat my body, my life, my relationships and my goals with the care and compassion of someone who believes that deserve great things.
I have bad days. Sometimes I feel weak or selfconscious. But if I cant control the message I can control my perspective. And that is something I choose, everyday.
It is my opinion that this issue is the most divisive thing between women. Its why we overwhelmingly show no compassion for women with eating disorders. Why we size each other up. Why women in troves ran to the message boards calling the complete strangers disgusting, too thin, unhealthy and not worthy of attention. And why we look at each other as though we are at war.
We are on the same team.
Yes. This shit is bigger than self esteem but its a hell of a place to start. The beauty myth only works to the extent that we agree with it. If we collectively disagree, if we support each other instead of systematically tear each other down, if we all decide we are worthy by any and every standard; perhaps we could not only walk a little taller and experience a great sense of community but we could begin to dismantle the big stuff. Patriarchy. Glass ceilings. Big stuff.
Wherever you see big issues that effect womens well being I see the huge obstacle that we dont like ourselves or each other right now enough to find the solidarity to fight it.
I want to fight the big stuff. I dont have all the answers, just what I feel is the first step. Valuing ourselves and each other. Rejecting notions that we arent enough or that our worth boils down to our cup size. And leading by example that our weight is not the enemy and neither is another womans.
Because again, while I think little girls aredefinitelyimpacted by images and messages of beauty that saturate our culture the most powerful one comes from their Mothers buying it.
And its with careful consideration and a lot of love that I say that. Thats big and heavy if you carry it around. But it could also give you some relief that we have some power in this as well. Big power. That we can change ourselves and the messages we send our children without waiting for lingerie stores to follow suit. And we can do that without discounting one anothers humanity, realness, size or beauty.
So I let you in on the secret. Im not a personal trainer because I take great joy in watching womens stomachs get flatter. Its because I take great joy in helping people get healthier: in body, mind and spirit.
And in my opinion, a strong Mothers example is a pretty powerful weapon. Can you imagine if we realized we were on the same team?