Flopsy Life Guest Post: Body Image Month
“I spend a lot of time people watching – it’s one of my favourite hobbies. I’ve been noticing how some men, especially older men, feel entitled to comment on women’s bodies. It’s a nasty combination of commenting on “hot” women along with hurtful, snide comments. It’s the little things, like making a joke about how much she’s had to eat or asking for the cheque before she’s finished eating. I also remember that when I was anorexic, it was the most I have ever been complemented on my looks, especially in the small town I grew up in. Those are two deeply ingrained memories that are remarkably hard to shake.
Now that I’ve become super selective about who is allowed in my life it’s getting easier to shake them. When I talk about body issues with my girlfriends now it is so different from when I was younger – it’s not about “I need to lose weight because I’m ugly” it’s more about how hard it is to be comfortable and confident in a society that does not celebrate different kinds of bodies (or when they do its labeled as “plus sized” or “beautiful despite being plus sized.” Fuck that). Of course there are still the comments about feeling fat, or having awful skin, etc, but instead they are met with kindness and acceptance rather than commiseration. Now when I get comments on my looks, it’s from people who truly know me and aren’t just commenting on my body – it’s usually about how happy I look, my style, and sometimes my appearance overall, but in a deeper sense. It feels more sincere. The thing is, these compliments mainly come from people who know me, know what I do, know what my beliefs and values and dreams are. Those are the things that make someone beautiful. Not their size, haircut, or clarity of their skin.
I do think it’s important to take care of your physical self, and to treat your body like the divine being that it is. Treat your skin with the best products you can; practice mindful beauty; take an interest in your hair and clothing – if that’s your thing. For me, that’s time spent selfishly on myself to make myself feel happy. I love those things, and that’s okay. But I also leave the house most days without makeup, and I style my hair like maybe once a week. They are things that add or polish who I am, but they aren’t who I am. I hope that makes sense.
Most importantly, I feel we need to support each other through this journey from self hatred to self love. As women, we have all dealt with this at some point in our lives – it’s unfortunately the nature of the world we currently live in. But we can take baby steps to change that. Speaking something outloud takes away the power of shame. Sharing your stories with others helps you, and can help someone else struggling with the same issue. My purpose is to hold space for your stories. My goal is to collect and share as many stories as I can on the topic of body image during the month of June. You can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a note in the email if you would like your story posted anonymously or with your name. If you would rather follow along and take in the healing from other people’s stories, that is great too. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I am sincerely grateful for your support.”