Now that I’ve got your lady parts tingling, I hope you’ve been having a happy Friday. It’s late afternoon here, and this is the post I was born to write.
The tweet that launched a thousand feelings
It started with an intriguing tweet that popped up in my twitter feed yesterday. It was from Sarah Yates; she was thanking Ashley Judd for her response to an article Sarah had written in reaction to Judd’s article, about ‘The Conversation.’ (Note: if you like it whenever Bamboface McPup graces this blog, you’re gonna like Sarah’s, by the way.) Alright, the tweet: “@sarahyates TY! RT @AshleyJudd This is a beautiful post, Sarah. Thank you. It’s a core theme and essential part of changing #TheConversation. Well done”
The tweet was so intriguing to me (I mean, Ashley Judd’s never written to me on twitter; that’s pretty cool), that I stopped what I was doing and did what you do when your interest in a conversation on twitter is piqued. I clicked AJ’s twitter, I scrolled down to find the tweet, clicked “ In reply to sarah yates” to unfold the conversation to reveal Sarah’s blog post link, and clicked that little stinker. SO MUCH WORK. I mean it took me like, *at least* 0.7 seconds. Twitter needs to understand that I am not made of free time.
Fast-forward to me having read both articles – Judd’s and Sarah’s – and it was decided that this post had to be written. I’m sure a lot of you would have wanted to write reaction-stories like I’m doing, but unlike a lot of people out there, I have the unique fortune of writing a blog that reaches a lot of people. I would be remiss if I didn’t use that “power” in the right way at least some of the time. So this post has little to do with weddings, and I hope you’ll pardon that for today. What it does have to do with, is body image. Specifically, my body image.
The issue of body image (this includes ya faces; the whole shebang head to toe) is something that plagues most if not all women, to varying degrees, myself included. It’s one of those annoying but persistent things that we’ve all had to address within ourselves throughout our lives, it plays a significant if not dominant part in our daily routine and self-confidence, and we are all at varying levels of being able to deal with it properly. It never quite goes away, the awareness of it. The worrying about it. The moments of utter despair over it. At least if you live in this society. And now, with even Pinterest becoming somewhat of a haven for anorexia-motivation and insult-slinging, it stands only to get way, waaaay worse.
The Judd Saga
Everybody knows Ashley Judd has been on the receiving end of a pretty insanely inappropriate media frenzy about her pretty little face. She’s got the look. She’s always been beautiful. And isn’t it fun how it’s those girls, the pretty girls, who get the absolute worst scrutiny, when it comes time for them to be any age other than young? But who cares, right? Screw them! They were lucky enough to be born beautiful, so they deserve to suffer for their birthright, at every. single. physical. mark. of change. we see.
Like I’ve made clear in the past, there are things that make me sigh. And so I’ll go “sigh” in writing, like I’ll actually write it down here, to express my feelings to you on the internet. And then sometimes, when I’m feeling especially taken aback over something, I’ll make the sigh French by saying “le sigh.”
This whole concept’s got “le sigh” written all over it.
A lot of people argue that people in the spotlight shouldn’t have stepped into the spotlight in the first place, if they weren’t ready to receive a lifetime of public scrutiny. A LIFETIME of it. ”It comes with the territory of being a public figure,” many argue. I don’t know where that originated, but it’s the prevailing groupthink in our society. People hear it, and then many think that it’s justification for leveling judgment. It’s this type of rudeness that gestates within the broken pieces of our psyches, and the people who do it seemingly without shame, are coming from a place of intense and unrelenting insecurity of the self. Their end game = feeling better about their own looks.
I can say now that this is an insane concept to me. But in my sustained interest of remaining transparent on the blog to you guys, I will admit to drinking the kool-aid on occasion in earlier years. Not the kool-aid flavor sipped by those horrible wenches who troll the gossip blogs just to leave hateful comments under pictures of celebrities, but definitely a watered down, low-sugar kool-aid, that made me feel comfortable making mental judgments about other women in magazines, etc. And not to excuse it, but snap judgments are a part of human nature. Which is part of the reason it’s so hard to make it stop.
When I think about my appearance, I’ve never felt, like, in love, with it
Lemme share a little bit about me that you don’t know if you haven’t met me personally. I am 5’4, and I haven’t actually weighed myself in what feels like years so I can’t speak to that, but I’m a size 2 in clothes. While I am happy with my body as it is, that is not to say that I am not an insecure person, because I am. I am also someone who has been at a few different weights in my life, and it has taken me tiiiiiiiime to get to a place where I stopped being so acutely aware of my shape. I started off at your typical healthy weight throughout my early years; then, a late bloomer in all things, I had trouble shedding my baby fat as I entered middle school. The Abercrombie & Fitch tops just didn’t fit me the same way they fit my close friends. And lemme tell you, it wasn’t a picnic still looking like a kid, when others around me were starting to look *sexier* and more shapely. By the time I hit college, I was in shape, but almost instantly I gained the freshman 15, plus a little extra to really hammer home the insecurity. While in college I developed a gluten intolerance (for instance, can’t eat wheat flour) and so I’ve been the weight I’m at now pretty much since then. And I guarantee you, my inability to digest most carbs plays a HUGE ROLE in maintaining my figure.
I can tell you with confidence that the awareness of the importance of looking attractive hit me in middle school, and that was hard. So knowing that in today’s society it reigns supreme at earlier ages than I ever could have imagined, I get goosebumps.
Ok, this is the tough part. If they read this post, this part is going to make my parents cry, probably. Though I hope it doesn’t. Because I’m choosing to write about it for the express purpose of letting people know that it’s normal. I have been growing more and more comfortable with bearing the Truest Me, if it can have a positive impact on the people who cozy up in my little nook on the internet.
When I think about my appearance, I’ve never felt, like, in love, with it. The people who know me well know that I rarely wear makeup, but that’s not to say that I can get away without it. When I have a tan, I feel like the prettiest little f**ker that ever did walk this earth. But when I haven’t just come back from vacation (which is most of the time), I am one of the palest people I know, and I will forever wish that I had more color in my face. I also wish my nose was smaller. I wish my upper lip was ‘plumper.’ I could use a little toning here or there. These are things that would have dominated my thoughts, years ago. There were times when I wouldn’t go to a party because I didn’t feel pretty. It happened more often than I care to discuss. Those nights were dreadful; you feel like you’re at the bottom of a black hole of unattractiveness, and there’s absolutely no way out. Honestly, high school was the hardest thing I’ve personally been through in my life. And I’ve BEEN THROUGH SOME S**T, you guys. I would come home from school crying over what someone said about me more times than I care to remember. And if I didn’t have my mom there at home, telling me I’m beautiful, smart, funny and worthwhile, and then telling me that those mean girls are just troubled souls, I honestly don’t know what would have become of me.
As I stand here now, I can say that I am content with my appearance. But it is a feeling that comes on the heels of many, many years of the opposite. And it is a feeling that builds in you as you develop more love for yourself over the course of your life.
Of course, I still have those nights when I don’t feel like going out over something as minor as a zit. They really never leave you, I think.
Final notes (I know, I know… I’m wrapping it up.)
Now, I know I said I’m good with my body, as it is. But that’s not to say that if I ended up in a gossip mag tomorrow wearing a bikini, that I’d be buying up all the copies in my neighborhood so that I could mail them to everyone I know including past boyfriends; certainly not. I’d probably be bundled into a spread entitled *why spray tanning was invented* or *the importance of working out those glutes when you’re pushing 30* or something equally as sinister. (Because they’re all sinister, those articles doing anything but celebrating the female figure no matter its form.) So just imagine, what women and girls in the spotlight have to endure, and what they must go through, emotionally. NO ONE is immune to hurtful things from the get-go.
Ashley Judd says in her article, “The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself, my personal integrity.” This is all that should matter, and I find that each day I live, I grow to feel more comfortable and confident in who I am, and how I look. And the fun side effect of *feeling* good about yourself has always been that you *look* better, on the outside. Who doesn’t love that? :) Also, moisturize, get enough sleep and drink enough water. Those are key, if you’re looking for tips.
Ok. I believe in our society, and I feel that this can change. And I feel that we can help to change it. Because after all, it’s the collective Us, who allow judgment to prosper. We buy the magazines that feed it to us, we read the websites that crap it out on the daily. I am no innocent – I’ve paid for a gossip mag here and there, for a train ride simply because it’s fun to look at and I like the fashion factor. But whenever I read the scathing copy about this actress or that model, my heart hurts. Not for them necessarily, but for us. For women. I hate reading that bullshit, it is SO. EFFED. UP. But here’s the wonderful thing to which we have to look forward: I already know it won’t go on forever. How do I know? Because I have to believe it. I have to believe that we are going to become better than this, for the sake of ourselves, and our KIDS. I imagine bringing a daughter into this world, and I hesitate. I HESITATE, you guys! Because I don’t want her to suffer the way I’ve suffered.
So! Howsabout we grow past this. Seriously, right now, let’s grow past this. Let’s not comment on the outfit of the girl at the table next to us, and instead, comment on the status of whatever new project we’re working on, or the political climate, or even THIS s**t I’ve been blabbing on and on about in this blog post. I do know that it’s going to take a LOT of time, and a LOT of people participating, but we can grow past this.
We pretty much just need to change The Conversations we’re having.
So, who’s with me?
xoxo - superc Ali fragilisticexpialidocious.
Thanks for getting to the end of this. I’m feeling kind of like a shriveled up little lamb, on account of this being an aggressively revealing post. It’s the written equivalent to shoving my labia in your face.
I look forward to hearing anything you have to say. Like, at all. That, and keep smilin’. Also also, always remember, that no matter what, Bambino will always love you.