This is one of those posts that I started to write a few times and then just got annoyed and stopped, as between Ashley Judd and a pregnant Jessica Simpson being in the news for their weight, the topic of body shaming is old.
But yet I feel compelled to at least weigh in on the topic—no pun intended, unless it makes me sound witty—and offer a slightly different perspective on the topic.
We don’t need to rehash my own history with OCD and weight and health. Bottom line—the fact is that right now I’m still underweight. I hate that I’m so thin and would pay large sums of money to release myself from my OCD prison and gain a quick 30 lbs. I would have no issue with that.
What I do have an issue with is letting go of those routines that would allow me to gain the weight. It’s not vanity. It’s psychology and anxiety and a million things unrelated to how someone else thinks I should look.
The fact that the common assumption that these behaviors stem from a place of vanity and dissatisfaction with a physical ideal is the very reason I’ve always refrained from classifying my OCD as anything directly related to food and exercise, as it’s so much more complex than that.
I really couldn’t care less what is classified as “beauty” and not fitting some socially (unattainable) ideal has no bearing on how I think of myself.
Regardless of my weight, I think I’m a pretty cool person.
And although it doesn’t thrill me to share that convoluted background information, it’s important to know in relation to the fact that while “shaming” women for being a little overweight is looked upon as cruel, the flip side of the coin is rarely discussed.
In trying to push acceptance of people who are of “normal” weight and size—in other words, not naturally thin—the reassurance is thrown out that “men don’t like stick thin women” and “thin is unattractive.” And of course, the classic “real women have curves.”
Well, thank you for that.
I’m going to add that real women also have opinions, and I believe that being told to go eat a cheeseburger or that “thin isn’t in” and shaming thin women for their body shape is no different than shaming larger women for their body shape, yet the former is overlooked and often accepted.
Yes, “real” women do often have curves and I understand that a lot of women—big and small—do have body image issues and seek out reassurance and external validation. Please know I’m not dismissing that at all.
But although I have issues, I do not have curves. This does not make me any less of a “real” woman.
In my humble opinion, real women have confidence.
Real women have a focus on health and not perfection.
Real women have compassion—towards themselves and towards others.
If curves are part of the package, more power to you. But at the end of the day, real women don’t care.
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The last couple posts have been kind of serious, and I promise the next one is lighter and a feeble attempt at humor. However, I needed to get this off my chest—a chest that is not ample, but that I embrace nonetheless.