Just Women. No Qualifiers.

Plus-sized models in Sports Illustrated. Celebrity faces photoshopped on Reubenesque models. A blogger’s crusade against revealing yoga pants. Kelly Clarkson’s post pregnancy body. Kim Kardashian’s whittled corseted middle. An Australian model’s 4-week postpartum abs. A blogger mom’s bikini body.

I was tempted to ignore all of it. Some of those examples are old news by fast-moving internet standards. They all are old news really, the same news, the most archaic news: women’s bodies.

I’m exhausted. I’m tired of being bombarded by women’s bodies of any size of any shape when the packaging is the topic of conversation. I’m tired of women needing to use their bodies as their battle cry for acceptance where a stretch mark or roll or piece of flesh becomes a beacon for others. I’m tired of our exteriors being the inspiration or motivation.

So little has changed. We’re still talking about, looking at, examining bodies.

We’re duped into celebrating “plus-sized” women (over a size 4 in the modeling industry) in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition as though it’s an accomplishment for women, a step in the right direction. What direction? Towards the objectification of women of all sizes? Why does the swimsuit edition still exist? No women featured in the swimsuit edition–now that would be something. That would be groundbreaking. But no, the internet is littered with people asserting the model isn’t really plus-sized (true), as though a curvy, sized-18 woman would be amazing in a magazine made for people to dissect and covet and objectify.

Recently, Rachel Hollis shared a photo of her bikini body with what she calls flab and stretch marks from carrying three babies. Her caption to the photo was a modern-day “Phenomenal Woman” rendition, an empowered call to embrace our bodies in every form and wear a bikini. I love the message, but why are we so far away from that reality? Why does there have to be litany of reasons her body looks the way it does?

Whose approval are we seeking? Our own? The fashion industry’s? The media’s?

Why do we feel compelled to put our bodies on display with fierce captions? The sad answer is that our bodies are still so very much on our minds–our bodies compared to other bodies–hers and hers and hers. It would be so refreshing if our bodies didn’t have to send a message at all if they were just vessels supporting our myriad missions, and equally as refreshing if we saw ourselves represented on and in texts of all kinds in women doing, moving, thinking, acting, being.

I don’t know what it would take to change the landscape for my girls. I freely admit that no matter how many women bear their bodies with inspirational captions, the body image stuff I carry is written in permanent marker on my psyche. But I don’t want my girls or my boy to inherit that because it’s not in our genes; it’s self-imposed.

I wish magazines, advertisements, the internet would ignite with images of women in various states of undress doing what women do–anything and everything. And I wish the curve of their backs or the thickness of their thighs or the draping of their skin were not mentioned at all. I wish companies like Dove could use a variety of women without calling attention to the variety or “realness” thus inadvertently making their audience examine the bodies. I want all kinds of women to be the rule for my kids not the exception.

Just women. No

qualifiers. No Caveats. No asterisks.

justwomen

6 comments for “Just Women. No Qualifiers.

  1. Michelle
    March 27, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I agree with you 100%! I am a 60 year old woman and it is just recently that I have finally accepted my body as it is and accepted who I really am. I hope younger women come to this point sooner than I did. My body is part of who I am and now that I appreciate it for what it is I have a strong love for it… I value its hard work of carrying my soul all these years, I thank it everyday for being healthy in spite of my life long neglect, when I meditate I smile at my heart, my lungs, etc. I does make a difference. and finally at my age I thoroughly enjoy sex with a man who values my body as well as me and values his own and our place together, it is amazing and something I never thought I would really feel. Our bodies are our friends in all their different shapes and forms, friends to be cherished and appreciate for what they are not for what others say they should be! I am now a real woman, at last!

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      March 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Michelle, this is a beautiful response! Go, you! I love that you are embracing all parts of yourself. Good! Good! Good!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! Have the best weekend!

  2. March 27, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Great post! Naturally I have my own body image issues, but it was important to me to get over them (as much as is ever possible) as I was raising my son, and it’s not easy when they hit the tween years, and then the teen years, but a few years ago, my son goes “I’m so much more comfortable in my body, thank you for teaching that it’s okay.”

    I’m sure I gave him a smile, quick hug, affirmation and confirmation – but his words touched me so deeply that I don’t remember my response at all! It is amazing to lovingly accept who we are at this moment!

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      March 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Oh my gosh, Kate! That is so beautiful! I would LOVE my kids to say that to me when they’re older. His words are a testament to your thoughtful, supportive parenting. It’s especially hard to convey that message when we deal with our own body image issues, but you clearly were able to give the gift of confidence to him. Well done, mama!

  3. March 29, 2015 at 11:33 am

    WOW!!!! Amazing inspirational post!!!! You have made me smile 🙂 I have wasted the past 15 years of my life fighting anorexia. Im finally reaching a point as i head for 30 this year its time to accept and love my body whatever its size and shape. We are all equal. I refuse to shrink anymore. I want to be HEALTHY and HAPPY in body and mind. Thank you so much for your words. Love Aoife x

  4. March 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    This post was beautiful! I agree with you 150%! I’m 18 years old, and in love with my body, just the way it is, “flab” and all. I learned the hard way to love myself for who I am and how my body is structured. So what if I lean to the right a little bit? Who cares if I’m a little bit chunkier than someone else? I was made to be the way I am, and I’m going to love myself for how I am.

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