I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this post for a couple hours, so let’s just do it. Okay? OKay!
This is a post about body positivity.
It seems to me that the younger you are, the more body positive you are. People who are five years my junior trend in this direction? A decade younger? It’s damned undeniable.
Do not get me wrong. This is a good thing. A great thing. A god damned miracle!
I see women telling makeup companies to “Fuck off” unless they want to experiment with it. I see unshaved legs and experimental fashion in full force. I see people living more and caring less. That is awesome.
But I sometimes look and see people who have not been indoctrinated into a cult that tells them what they care where and how and in what color and how they must present my body. I see people who haven’t had to go through the difficult process of unlearning body shame. And I am jealous.
It feels unfair that things are (just a little bit) easier for these people. Curvy women who get to wear jeggings and skinny jeans and haven’t had the idea that they can only wear flares or bootcut jeans drilled into their head time and again. People who wear what they want because they like it, damned if it’s not “flattering.”
I see this all and I feel jealousy because they don’t have to care. And I have not yet learned how to not care. I care less, of course, but I still care.
Perhaps it’s because this body shaming was taught not as something that was negative but as a sort of awareness. You were aware of how you — or others — looked. This awareness seemed something akin to sophisticated. It was something to aspire to be.
So when I judge, both myself and others, I still feel a tinge of that awareness. I know something. It doesn’t matter that whatever knowledge I have isn’t actually useful or is actively harmful. It feels like being part of some secret club.
“Well, I know women like me shouldn’t wear stripes.”
I also know how fucking ridiculous that sounds, believe me. I may not always have realized it, but I do now.
It’s been a process, though, to get here, to shed any of that body shame, to be okay-ish with myself, to stop judging others. Some days I am much better than others. Some venues, too (I am more body positive online than in person, I think because I have a bit more time to make something other than a snap judgment).
What I do know is that instead of feeling envy or jealousy of people who are more body positive and have been taught less body shame, I should be glad for them. I should remember that it’s not easy for anyone; there is still plenty of body shame for everyone. And that, my friends, is bullshit. So I’ll redirect my anger to the institutions that are still makin’ it hard to be body positive, no matter what generation you’re from.
I am positive that they can fuck off.