The other day I stumbled across an article which read: “18 Amazing Untouched Photographs of Marilyn Monroe” and, acting from a place of minimum interest, I clicked an image which showed Marilyn laying in bed with her arms up. “Holy shit”, I thought. “That’s what I look like – but she looks amazing!”
I’ve always had a complex about my arms, even at my skinniest I felt they could be thinner. I began this phase of self-judgement as a fifteen year old, when I overheard some friends at a party discussing how big my arms looked. Despite redetermining my friendship group, it seems that even twelve years on I’m still witnessing the same negative physical attitudes.
As I went on to read the articles comments, I was reminded that any body adhering to a rounder shape would immediately be rejected. “OMG, look how swollen her arms look!” and “Jesus, somebody needs to photoshop that shit!” were left in response to the post. I’ll admit, I did contemplate for about 2 seconds whether I should just live off air and water for the rest of my life but then I thought, fuck it, I’m keeping with the notion of being real and am going to finish this doughnut.
I blame the media for feeding us limited standards of feminine desirability. For instance, even when the exception is made i.e. Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian or Nikki Minaj – all celebrated for being curvaceous – their curves are only desirable for being in the “right places”. There’s been a so-called shift in mainstream attitudes given that it’s okay to have a round ass, however, if your waist isn’t small and your stomach isn’t flat, don’t expect an invitation to the hot bodies club.
The pressure bestowed upon women to physically conform is astounding. Mass control; where the only females we see on billboards, in film and in advertisements are below a certain size; thus setting unfair limitations regarding what we should class as normal or even worse, better. Our vision can’t adjust to seeing rolls of flesh on screen; when a fuller size 12-14 makes an appearance, we label them as “heavy” or “big”, segregating them from their dainty peers.
Our society is such that unless a certain shape, women are ostracized and sneered at for dressing in attire “unsuitable” for their figure. Where people think it’s perfectly acceptable to say “OMG, did you see what that girl was wearing? Her thighs are chafing together in those shorts!” or, “She’s hot but she’d be even hotter if she lost a few pounds”.
Sorry, who asked for a fucking running commentary on the shape of another persons body, or how they choose to dress it?!
Unless somebody asks for advice on their appearance, no need to offer shallow and unwarranted comments. If you’re lost for words stick to safe subjects such as the weather or your dog. It’s not rocket science, I’m sure most people are aware they need to eat more greens and do cardio to reach that “physical ten”. But you know what? Maybe they’re comfortable as they are. I know I certainly was until people started filling my head with their own unkind, neurotic thoughts.
Don’t get me wrong, if you want to work out seven days a week and feel better for it then please do, just remember the same freedom applies for those preferring to stay at home and bake. Let us be kind and embrace one another for who we are, as opposed to how we look.
The benefits are countless when it comes to exercise and nutrition; whilst it’s important to retain balance, my main priority is far from trying to “look better”. I am constantly trying to find the happy medium between work, friends and family; beating myself up for not doing enough writing; setting myself goals and how to reach them. I can’t afford to lose any more sleep over a mere shell; the way outsiders respond to my body or letting them affect the way I feel about myself.
I’ve had stretch marks for as long as can remember and though they’ll probably fade over time, I’ll have them forever. They’ve been a way bigger deal in my life than they should’ve been. Stretch marks occur because the skin has stretched during weight loss or weight gain, no biggie. They are as much a part of my body as anything else, so why have I found them so hard to accept?
The few articles I’ve read to normalize stretch marks only do so if the women have had children. I find this is offensive. ANYONE can have stretch marks: men, women and children alike. Again, it has everything to do with skin type and weight fluctuation. They are our bodies way of adapting to physical changes; they needn’t be rejected.
It’s a shame the world hasn’t invented a filter for real life; women are constantly being told they’re not good enough. We hide our faces beneath makeup and our curves beneath dark and baggy clothes. That said, if I want to wear a pair of shorts this summer I’ll do so without plastering my legs first in sun-beige foundation: stretch mark and cellulite galore baby! Like it or like it.
Our culture spends SO much damn time focusing on the outer shell, idolizing celebrities who do little to promote awareness outside of a self-indulgent bubble. It’s all well and good, but why?
Try to imagine meeting your best loved celebrity: there they are, airbrushed and contoured, smiling and perfect…and then they step on you. They believe you’ll never be as good as them, boring you with stories of how beautiful everyone finds them. They claim you should eat more salad ’cause it will help you gain more insta-likes. They look down at your hopes and dreams, because in their mind without “looks” you’re inadequate.
Is such behaviour worthy of admiration?
Sounds extreme but I’ve met many people like this, who think they’re better than others because they fit some kind of man-made, mis-represented illusion. Personally, I think they’re lost, conceited and boring. Their energy is ugly and it drains me; they go from swans to scary monsters in a heartbeat.
A word of advice: remove the pedestal from beneath the feet of those who walk past you and the ones who walk all over you; this includes our friend, the media. Idolize those who inspire the good change, place more focus into your loved ones. Try to go deeper by sorting out your nature, cause no amount of bronzer is going to fix your soul. The most beautiful people I know are the ones who consider the feelings of others, who can acknowledge when they’ve fucked up; who work on themselves from within.
A living, breathing, real-life girl.