Shower thoughts on body positivity
CW: Examines body positivity and feelings of inadequacy due to being over weight.
I firmly believe I will be taking a shower one day and as if struck by the grace of some stray particles of inspiration I shall think up the end of my novel. I believe this as within the tranquillity of a shower where I have literally nothing to distract me from my own thoughts, I come up with some great ideas. Not always, but sometimes. Today I got to thinking about body positivity and my own body, after a moment where I realised some of my favourite clothes no longer fit.
Being a fat woman is hard. Simple as. It’s gruelling and painful and you’re constantly aware of your body, constantly. I have pretty dresses I don’t wear outside of the house for fear of what people may think, let alone say. This is a simple truth, being a fat woman is scary because not only are we women who are under scrutiny, but we are the wrong type of woman. We are the nightmare of every woman; to be fat is to be undesirable, to be unlovable, to be alone. Of course it truly means none of these things, but since we are children it is what we are taught. Fat women are villains, are ugly, are cruel and they are alone (unless they’re your grandma).
Body positivity seeks to turn these hard drummed ideas onto their heads, to reveal beauty comes in all forms, to up lift, to heal, to realise you are worthy of everything no matter what your size. It’s a fantastic movement, that has helped me challenge my own ideas of beauty and indeed improved my outlook on my own body. Yet I feel that this movement lacks perspective in that we too often fail to ask, why do women need to be beautiful?
Body positivity too often becomes a spectacle of claiming everyone is beautiful toting pictures of larger women in expensive clothing made to extenuate the hips and nip in the waist (unrealistic beauty standards say hey). Yet why must we be beautiful? Of course it all comes down to patriarchal ideas of where women’s worth lies and so often that worth is defined by what men find desirable. Whether that be concave stomachs and large breasts or a doting housewife willing to serve, obey and never object. We are all fighting to become a male fantasy, often to extreme levels of dieting, self hatred and even hurting other women, all because this is what society has groomed us for our entire lives. For as much as the body positivity movement is fantastic, I wish instead we had a kind of person hood movement, as body positivity’s largest goal seems to be widening the waistband of what is deemed attractive to the male gaze.
So when I say person hood, I mean stop caring about how I look, I want to walk out of the house in sweats and a t shirt without self consciousness. I want to be viewed as a nerdy, often confused and passionate, person. Not your walking fantasy. Just as I do not judge men through an assessment of whether they fit idealised versions of male beauty or not, I do not wish to be judged. Rather hate me for my political beliefs, dislike me because I think Batman is one dimensional or because you think my writing is bad, but how I look should not come into your judgement of me. The flesh cage I inhabit has no link to the most important things about me.
So lets try and treat each other with respect no matter what we weigh, okay?