Body Image in the Digital Age
Note: I wrote this piece about a month ago while on a plane to Chicago and intended to post it after my birthday. It is not a response to Nicole Arbour’s video. If I were to write a response to her, it would probably be a tome on what the word “comedian” means.
I’ve thought about discussing body image for awhile and knew it would be a perfect time since I just turned 26 last Wednesday…which is essentially 46 for women.
And that right there is a poor way to open this discussion. I’m 26. I was just kicked off my mother’s health insurance plan. I’m not old.
I’m 26 and a perfectly flawed human female person. Yes, I am getting older, but I am not old. And when I am old, I’m going to be proud. I already have stretch marks on my hips and dimples on the back of my thighs. I work out 5 days a week, I eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Some things I just cannot change, however my perspectives on them can change.
For your reference, I am 5’8” and 140 pounds of pure delight.
From sweats to sweaty.
This year, I decided to treat my body with respect. You’ve all read about my year without alcohol (still going strong FYI) and you’ve all seen my workout routine. Yet, another crucial part about respecting your body happens mentally. It’s about gratitude and positivity. My body is a machine that gets me out of bed every morning and carries me to my workout and to my job. She runs when I ask her to and she breaks her back when she needs to get stuff done. So she doesn’t have a thigh gap, but she can be on her feet for 10 hours straight manning the factory floor.
I have long legs, but they are by no means slender. I used to hate my thighs as a child, but now I love them because they are strong. And I can use them to kick ass. I mean look at these pictures! I’m freaking modeling a bird hat (I don’t know what’s happened to my left hand) and in the next one, I’m flipping a tire for god knows what reason. I RULE.
It’s time to be proud of the only vessel you will ever have!
It’s time to be kind about the vessels everyone else has…
The flip side of this conversation focuses on how we speak about others and the way they look. With shows like “Fashion Police” where the simple goal is to cut down one’s appearance, we are celebrated for how creatively we can ridicule someone. Let me remind you of something: you do not have the right. I don’t care if you want to comment on something as minute as a new haircut. “I liked it when you had long hair.” I repeat, you do not have the right.
I wish the conversation could end there, but we live in a cruel world. With social media, many people think that nothing is private anymore. Oh boy, let me tell you…there is an unending sea of faceless usernames that say things like “you look like a box” “fake” “no ass” “too skinny, eat a burger” “go to the gym” etc.
Those are actually some of the nicer comments people can be expected to receive.
And you’re not fooling anyone if you say things like “You know I love you, but that angle is just not right” or “I guess it’s about her personality” or “I’m just worried about your health”. Ummm, you ain’t worried about sh*t.
I’m going to offer a bit of advice and give you all a general rule. If you are thinking about writing a negative comment on anyone’s photo, just don’t. If you feel you just have to write something, pretend you have to read it aloud at a family gathering or at a church service or to a group of 7 year olds before hitting “send”. If you would feel embarrassed to do that, delete delete delete.
This rule applies to thirsty guys too. No self-respecting woman wants to know that you’d like to _____ your ____ in her ____ and do the ___ all over her. JUSTSTOP.
The takeaway here, folks, is that for the most part, people are trying to do their best. Be kind.
No trolling please,
P.S. I have fake boobs and I love them. Yes, I got them while I was already in a secure relationship. Yes, I bought them myself.