“So my amazing daughter, Emma, turned 5 last month, and I had been searching everywhere for new-creative inspiration for her 5yr pictures. I noticed quite a pattern of so many young girls dressing up as beautiful Disney Princesses, no matter where I looked 95% of the “ideas” were the “How to’s” of how to dress your little girl like a Disney Princess…We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world”
- Jaime Moore, Not Just a Girl
This is awesome!
Sometimes the little weight loss niche I’ve found myself in online stresses me out, because I don’t want to be part of the weird cycle of making girls feel bad about themselves. I know I’m not a size zero or someone who has mad crazy muscles, but I seem to find my stuff reblogged next to those things too often, and I think that stuff can be really damaging. Hyper focusing on idealistic body types isn’t good for anyone, whether it be a model on a runway or a girl in a nike ad, both of those things are going to make you feel bad, even if this second one is under the guise of ‘healthy.’
Because the truth is, if I (or most people) wanted to look like either of those things I’d have to put in way more time and mental and physical energy into my appearance than would be any sort of healthy. I don’t want myself (or anyone) to feel bad about occasionally skipping a run, or going out to eat. I’d hate for anyone to think that I’m always bringing my A-game, because I don’t think ANYONE does that, so don’t expect that you’ll be able to (case in point, as I’m writing this, I’m about halfway through a bag of cookie chips and I’m sitting next to a diet coke that is probably, size wise, as big as a small infant.)
If the gym is your good ‘me’ place and working out is therapeutic and positive for you, then do it as much as you want, that is awesome go you!
If you love cooking and eating super fresh and whole foods makes you feel like a badass then go for it, enjoy that quinoa!
If you’re in the middle of finals and you discovered cookie chips while you were at the Safeway buying tampons and procrastinating studying, enjoy them for a while and then pawn the rest of the bag off on your roommate!
If none of those things are your thing, then don’t stress on it, just figure out what your thing is! And if you’re doing any of these things with pictures of other people’s bodies in mind, and there’s a high-pitched, fevered anxiety behind them, maybe it’s time to take a step back.
I’m happy to tell anyone my story and what worked for me, but I want to stress that every single person is different, that what might work for one person might not work for another, and that at the end of the day you should be focusing on what keeps you happiest and healthiest. Chances are, if you really think about it, that probably isn’t going to translate into a never-ending quest to a six-pack or a size zero.
What I’d like for people to take away from my weight loss journey is that you can make positive changes in your life in realistic ways (without sacrificing comfort and sanity) that will make you feel more whole and at peace with your existence. That you can learn to love the pieces of your body that make it uniquely yours, not detest them because they don’t look like someone else’s. In the wise words of my lady friend Lorraine, people should be doing things “because they enjoy doing them. Women will be in better moods if we all agree to do what makes us comfortable.”
*this whole post was a conglomeration of thoughts from a conversation I had with Lorraine so it was parts of both of our brains and you should check her out here because she’s great
Heather my love, there’s a new unreasonable idealized beauty standard in town.
I really like this article. (disclaimer: it was originally posted a year ago, so I’m sorry that I was late to this party.)
(second disclaimer: when “fitspo” first caught my eye, I remember clicking the “like” button on quite a few fitspo-focused posts on the internet. That’s because I like sports and I thought the conversation was about athletics. I thought we were all doing that thing that me and my friends used to do in 5th grade where we’d cut out pictures of Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain to decorate our folders, binders and bedroom walls because we liked soccer and because women’s soccer was a really big deal while we were growing up.)
(third disclaimer: when “fitspo” first caught my eye, I was suffering through an eating disorder at the time.
Oh no! What’s that sound?! That’s the sound of my credibility crumbling into dust!!! Aww man, what will the readers think!?! They’re going to distrust anything else that comes after this disclaimer!!! How shall I proceed?!?!?!! Hey, I know what I’ll do…I’ll just keep typing…and maybe they’ll come with me anyways…yes…just keep typing and they’ll have to scroll down to the next paragraph….despite the above mention of a mental illness that may or may not be affecting the way I articulate my feelings about this particular issue…good, good…scroll, scroll….down, down….read, read….)
Concluding that “fitspo” is a thinly-veiled “thinspo” makes the most sense to me and I’m fairly close to unfollowing all of the health and fitness blogs that I follow. It’s possible that I’ve outgrown them but it’s also possible that they’ve never been appropriate for me in the first place. At first, following health and beauty blogs seemed like a mentally healthier and emotionally safer alternative to mainstream magazines. My feelings have changed and I am realizing that the folks running those blogs don’t care about me any more than the editors and writers at Seventeen, Self or Women’s Health. I’m not saying that the motivation to write and distribute content is the same for independent bloggers as it is for these major mags. What I’m saying is that my utility maxes out at the exact same place for both options. They both overwhelm me and make me feel like I’m not a good person if I don’t look and live a certain way.
People online are just as interested in getting me to wish I was skinny/pretty/popular as the magazines are. I’d love to continue this conversation offline with anyone that’s interested in discussing why people keep growing up with this idea that girls and girlfriends should be so small all the time. Also let’s chat if you agree that there should be more awesome qualities associated with big people than there are terrible ones. When we’re thinking rationally, we all know that big people are not inherently bad people but for some reason there are a ton of people out there getting paid to get inside our heads so that they can make us forget that. The only counter attack that I can come up with for these mind-manglers is to get really loud about random good things that are likely to be true about people with bigger bodies.
Here’s a quick list of good things to associate with big people that I came up with without thinking too hard about it:
-they give satisfying hugs
-they can carry heavy things
-they can make rugby teams better
-if you need them to order food for the office, they won’t fuck it up
-they don’t over-complain about it being “cold in here”
-they are living people that have life experiences and they have ideas inspired by being alive, which, if listened to, could be enjoyable and beneficial to other living people
By 21st century U.S. standards, I am a naturally “big” woman. It’s genetic. My legs and hips came into this world packed with too much power for a conventional modeling career. There is, of course, an overwhelmingly vast range of what “big” can mean for a human body and thus, there is a very, full supply of big-bodied experiences out there in the world. I believe that that range of experiences deserves way more representation in popular media than it has been given so far. At this point, in the United States, “big” for women means “not Kate Moss.” I have seen Jennifer Lawrence described as “big” and that is so scary to me. It’s scary because that means that Jennifer Lawrence’s voice winds up being the voice of bigger girls and women. If that is the case, then the voices of girls and women that are bigger than Jennifer Lawrence aren’t allowed to exist. In a world where Jennifer Lawrence is considered a “big” woman, no one can hear or see all of those interesting and worthwhile experiences that Jennifer Lawrence-sized women don’t know anything about because they aren’t big enough to experience them! And just to complicate the conversation a little bit, my friend, Jasmine, told me that if I went to Antigua - where she’s from - the people there would tease me for being too skinny. According to Jasmine, guys from there would probably be reluctant to dance with me at dancehall clubs. She also said that if they saw me, they’d probably call me mean nicknames, all of which translate into English as, “too skinny.” With all of this in mind, let’s add to the record that I am significantly bigger than Jennifer Lawrence.
While it sucks to know that my body is considered undesirable in more than one social context, it’s awesome to know that - no matter their origin - all judgements of my body are arbitrary and pointless. I think this realization has won me back some power in this cold war against the external evils that try to convince me that my body is bad and that I am not enough. This summer, I plan to spend more of my hours arming myself with information that will help me process damaging images that aim to disrupt my inner peace.
I will read more about body politics and social justice.
I vow to focus more of my energy on getting inspired and feeling empowered and less of my energy shadowboxing with media perceptions of how I should look, think and behave. Hopefully, by the end of the season I’ll be better equipped to inspire and empower other people to work on feeling better and to be more productive as well, who knows? I don’t know. But we’ll see!
#bellhooks #patriciahillcollins #judithbutler
Yes to all of this. Also all of my ladies should follow Lorraine, she has one of the best and most sound brains of anyone I know.
13.1 miles donezo! Cat ladies reppin’ and hitting our PR’s, feelin like a half marathon badass.
Get a lot of questions asking what a week of food consists of for me, so here’s today’s (this week’s) grocery haul. I do food prep every Sunday, meaning I roast most of those veggies and make the chicken so once the busy week starts it’s all ready to go/there are no excuses to not eat well.