Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Dec 31

On Body Positivity and Misdirected Anger

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.

Oct 18

On Consuming Media with Problematic Messages

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about things that I enjoy and how they’re problematic in some way. Typically, this means the music I listen to and messages that may be racist or sexist, but those certainly aren’t the only mediums or messages that are problematic. I probably just notice it in music more because IO am almost always listening to music.’

For example, I love the beat of the new Nick Jonas song “Jealous,” but the lyrics are fucking terrible as he sings about his right to be jealous of his beautiful girlfriend and to act “hellish” because of it. While Nick plays it like it’s normal, Meg Myers has no qualm about talking about her obsessive desires are pretty far out there. I just discover Meg and both “Monster” and “Desire” are like this. They’re fantastic songs, though!

Another song that I can’t help but dance along to is “All About the Bass.” Megan Trainor has landed on the scene in a big way, and her leading anthem about how the boys love her(and dislike thin women for their lack there of) for her curves just rubs me wrong. It’s not body positive to call a slender people “skinny bitches” no matter how she might follow it up with a quip about how they’re beautiful. It just doesn’t come off as genuine.

I checked out a few more Megan Trainor songs, and I have to say her writing skills — or at least her choice in lyrics as a whole — tend to be problematic. She focuses so single-mindedly on “finding and keeping a man who will treat her like a lady and pay for her lavish lifestyle. She’s fallen prey to a society who says she is only worth something as long as she is useful (read: owned by) a man, and it just makes me.. sad. Because she seems like she’s HGH pretty fuckin’ awesome. She doesn’t necessarily have to be a feminist fighter, but there’s so much more to life and music than what she’s chosen thus far. In fact, I think that Mary Lambert does a great job of this!

Before I wrap up this post, I’ll talk about everyone’s favorite love-to-hate singer and songwriter: Taylor Swift. Taylor recently release a fun pop anthem titled “Shake It Off.” I cannot help but get up and dance when I hear it. The beat is amazing, and it might be causing me to lose weight — kidding, though! I can’t believe it only has 1 million views.

But “Shake It Off” has been on the receiving end of a lot of flack. Perhaps most notable is the idea that the video combines one part definite cultural appropriation and perhaps another part racism, depending on how you view it, thanks to concepts that are reminiscent of ye olde minstrel shows.

I also have a bone to pick with the lyrics, which suddenly show Taylor demanding her right to have fun (and potentially sex) with whoever she wants. This in and of itself isn’t problematic. You get it, girl! But she has spent much of her career slut shaming the other girls for being to promiscuous. The sudden change could perhaps be in relation to her growing up. Taylor has even recently has explained how she has come to realize what feminism is and wishes she had understood early so she could have sooner called herself a feminist.

I think there’s two overreaching thoughts here. I still enjoy these things despite their problems. Critical thinking about music and other things we so passively enjoy is an important part of growth. Secondly, even people and creators who have been problematic are starting to see the fact and coming around to the other side, which is kind of inspiring.

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