Posts Tagged: self-image

The Right to Bare Arms

This post first appeared on the Huffington Post, but I wanted to share it here, too!

* * * * *

Regardless of size, shape, or age, ALL women have the right to bare their arms.

I’ll fess right up: I’m not terribly fond of my arms. I lift weights every week based on a regimen created for me by a personal trainer, and there’s loads of muscle in there. Seriously, just ask me to flex. But there’s also loads of jiggle. And although I don’t want to be, I’m self-conscious about it. And I generally dress to keep them covered.

But it’s August. It’s hot. And I mean HOT hot. Also nastily humid. Ya know, that sticky, icky, clingy environmental moisture that makes you feel like a giant dog tongue has just licked your whole body, clothing included? And under these circumstances, 3/4 sleeves become implements of torture. read more

Originally posted 2012-08-17 06:10:53.

What We Can Learn from Dressing

As a person who loves and explores style, I understand my body now in ways I never did before. I don't fear it, I don't avoid it, and I feel like I can converse with it through dressing and clothing. And I'm much happier now that we're on speaking terms again.

Before I became interested in dressing and style, I avoided thinking about my body. At all costs. I didn’t look in the mirror if I didn’t have to, didn’t focus much energy or attention on how my outfits interacted with my figure, and did my utmost to think about anything besides my own physicality. Because of this choice, the information I was given about my body came almost exclusively from external sources. And none of it was good news: I was chubby, disproportionate, my breasts were too small and my hips were too big, my arms were flabby and so was my stomach. Virtually all of this information was comparative: I was flabby compared to Gwyneth Paltrow, my breasts were too small compared to Victoria’s Secret models … you know the drill. I studiously ignored my body, hoping its perceived inadequacies would diminish if I pretended I was a brain in a jar. And yet this comparative information still crept in and made me feel inadequate. read more

Originally posted 2013-09-16 06:02:50.

The Unfortunate Universals

fat shaming skinny shaming

There is a lot of fat fear floating around in the world right now. A LOT. That fear generates bullying, prejudice, policing, and judgment from sources both expected and unexpected, and it is a fear that is both socially sanctioned and systemically encouraged. Since I don’t believe that weight is the sole factor in determining health, and since I believe that the health of others is none of my business, I write and speak out frequently about the issues surrounding fat fear and hatred.

It was recently brought to my attention that I don’t spend much time examining the other side of the coin. Fat girls get teased, told they need to go on diets, inundated with hurtful comments about their shape and size.¬†Skinny girls also get teased, told they’ve got eating disorders, inundated with hurtful comments about their shape and size. The world loves to criticize big bodies, and the eagerness to do so seems to be very much on the rise. But the world can be pretty keen to wag fingers at little bodies, too. Think about how many “she needs a sandwich” comments you’ve heard in the past few weeks. Contemplate how dismissive the “real women have curves” rhetoric could feel to someone who lacks those curves. Consider how quickly people jump to judgment upon seeing a prominent collarbone or set of slender arms. Women who are naturally thin can become targets for brutal body snarking, as The Waves described in her guest post on what it’s like to be a model. And while certain thin bodies receive social privileges, there is often an undercurrent of anger and judgment even as those privileges are doled out. read more

Originally posted 2012-07-23 06:47:09.