The other day I stumbled across an article which read: “18 Amazing Untouched Photographs of Marilyn Monroe” and – from a place of minimum interest – clicked an image which showed Marilyn laying in bed with her arms up. “Holy shit”, I thought. “That’s what my arms look like – only she looks amazing!”
I’ve always had a complex about my arms, even at my skinniest I felt they could be thinner. I developed this mindset aged 15, when I overheard some friends at a party discussing how big my arms were. Despite dismantling my then friendship group, I still, 12 years on, hold negative physical attitudes about myself.
As I foolishly went on to read the comments, I was reminded that any body adhering to a rounder shape would face stigma. “OMG, look how swollen her arms are!” and “Jesus, somebody needs to photoshop that shit!” were left in response. 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 thought, fuck it, life’s too short – I’m finishing this doughnut.
I blame the media for feeding us limited standards of beauty. 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 if in the “right place”. 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, superior. 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”, isolating them from their dainty peers.
Our society is such that unless a certain shape, women are ostracised 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”.
Who asked for a fucking running commentary on the shape of another person’s body, or how they choose to dress it?!
Unless somebody asks for your opinion, mind your business I say. 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 of what they need to do if they want to look a certain way. Did you ever stop to think that maybe they’re happy as they are? I know I certainly was until people started filling my head with their own unkind hang ups.
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’s focus on what’s going on inside our bodies for a change.
I’ve had stretch marks for as long as I can remember and though they may slightly fade over time, I’ll probably have them forever. They’ve been a way bigger deal in my life than they should have been. Stretch marks occur because the skin has stretched during weight loss or weight gain, it’s 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 normalising stretch marks only do so if the women have had children. I’ve found this super frustrating. ANYONE can have stretch marks: men, women and children alike. Again, it has everything to do with skin type and weight fluctuation. They are the bodies way of adapting to physical changes; no need to be rejected.
Our culture spends SO much damn time focusing on the outer shell, idolising celebrities who do little to promote body positivity. Why is that?
Imagine meeting your best loved celebrity: standing before you, airbrushed and contoured. How would you feel if in reality, behind their pearly-white smile, they were an asshole? Would you still like them if they treated you like garbage?
I ask because I’ve met so many people like this, who think they’re better than others because they fit this patriarchal standard of beauty. I stopped going to pretentious London nightclubs because the vibe was off, folks posing around with their noses in the air; revealing little white stains of cocaine dust. For me, these types of people are very dull and boring. I always ended up in McDonalds afterwards.
A word of advice: idolise those who actually bring something to the world: place more focus into your loved ones. Try to go deeper by sorting out your nature – no amount of bronzer is going to fix your soul. The most beautiful people I know are the ones who are authentic; so long as you have a heart to match – the way you look will always be perfect!