I think we can all agree that this past year, when it came to body acceptance, was amazing. We had Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston calling out her hater on live television for criticizing her weight, and daring to say she’s “promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.” Eloquently, Livingston fought back with words that came straight from the heart, stemming from hurt, but put on a brave face to defend herself, defend people everywhere against the bullying of fat-shaming.
Not long after that incident, there was the “fat” blogger Stella Boonshoft who so brazenly posted a photo on her blog, The Body Love Blog, of her body – stretch marks and all – that went viral and made her a voice for body acceptance.
And, of course, we have Lena Dunham who takes off her clothes all the time in Girls and said, regarding her thighs:
“If Olivia Wilde had gone to a party in … little shorts, she might have been on a ‘weird dressed list’ or been told her outfit was cute. I don’t think a girl with tiny thighs would have received such no-pants attention. I think what it really was … ‘Why did you all make us look at your thighs?’ My response is, get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die.”
Although these particular women really helped others in socially accepting all the shapes and sizes of all people, we still have a long way to go. We still need to turn that acceptance around and make it real for ourselves.
We live in a society that still turns their noses up at those who do not fit into the physical ideals that have been prescribed to us by both fashion and the standards of other people. We live in a world where “fat-shaming,” despite progress in body acceptance, is a real thing.
I know that whenever someone wants to insult me or I’m witnessing an insult happening, whether it be coming from a man or woman, if the insult is being thrown in the direction of a woman, “fat” is, nine times out of ten, on the list of things people say when they really want to hurt someone. “Fat,” just like “ugly” digs a deep hole and is literally scarring on both our brains and bodies; it has an effect unlike any other insult. Call me a cunt, call me a stupid bitch, and I’ll bounce back; fat, on the other hand, isn’t as easy. The word fat will have me standing in front of the mirror examining every inch of my body, and I’ll feel like a hypocrite for it, because I, like many of us, strongly believe in beauty being a thing that can be found in every body type. However, it’s a hard pill to swallow when it comes to ourselves. Why is this?
As with any situation, we are our worst critics. Whether it be in our bodies, our work or even how we interact with people, we see our flaws in ways that no one else can, and even when you point them out to those around us, those who love us can’t see them. What they see, and perhaps they’re blinded by how dear they hold you, is something beautiful looking back at them. As Carrie Bradshaw said to Standford Blatch one night in a bar when he hesitated to talk to a guy, “You don’t see what I see.” And it’s the truth.
Even those of who don’t struggle with body Body Dysmorphic Disorder have a hard time turning around and staring themselves in the mirror and screaming out, “I’m fucking hot! I’m beautiful!” And this has to change. We are indeed hypocrites if we can love others for their “less than perfect” bodies, but not be able to do that for ourselves. No one likes hypocrites. If people are beautiful in every size, we should know that to be true of us, too.
Maybe in being aware of just how unforgiving we are of ourselves, we can change the tide of this really demeaning way in which we view our bodies. Maybe in focusing on just how obscenely gorgeous the human body is in general with its lumps and bumps and dimples and curves, we can get over our self-appointed criticism and move forward. It will be a feat and it will require effort, but we all have it in us. I really believe we do.