Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't strengthen girls by bashing some

So I saw this tweet tonight and it made me really mad. I had recently read an article about "thigh gaps" over on wordpress. The girl, Catherine, does a good job of explaining what a "thigh gap" is, and how our culture distorts beauty. She does not put down people with thigh gaps, but this tweet really does. I understand that there is a backlash against being skinny, and I definitely understand that the media and our culture needs to expand the image of the ideal woman on TV, in movies, in magazines etc, etc. But that does not mean that skinny girls need to be put down, be called ugly, gross, or "not real women".

"Real women have curves"is another phrase that has circulated the web and one that is meant to uplift girls with bigger boobs and bigger butts. And good for that! Girls with big boobs and butts are beautiful, they're awesome, but so are girls with flat chests and no butts. With medium boobs and medium butts, with fake boobs and fake butts. With muscular thighs and thin ones.

This does not mean I endorse any of the girls who praise being thin, who post pictures of skinny girls and put "this is my ideal weight" or "she is my thinspiration". I don't agree with the phrase "nothing feels as good as skinny feels" or any of that bullshit. I don't believe that girls should be photoshopped, edited, or starve themselves to look like the models on the runway. I believe in being healthy. And sometimes healthy girls are skinny. Sometimes they have thigh gaps. Sometimes they have health conditions that prevent them from gaining weight. Sometimes they have high metabolisms and no matter how much they eat they can't gain weight. Sometimes they have anxiety and can't eat because they are too nervous, or throw up because they have panic attacks. Sometimes it's in their genetics and they have the chest of a little boy and the butt to match.

It hurts me when I see things like this. When people call me "frail". When they accuse me of being anorexic or tell me I'm not eating enough. When they assume that because I'm thin that I agree with everything that "thin" people believe in. No. I don't. I believe that as long as you are mentally and physically aiming for health, that your weight doesn't matter. It's a stupid number. And everyone should stop making girls of different weights feel bad because they don't match up. Everyone should mind their own damn business!

The thigh gap is not beautiful in itself, but I still believe the girl who belongs to the legs on the left is beautiful. Both pictures are beautiful and we should not try to put down the one girl to make the other girl feel better. That's like saying one girl's dress is hideous to make the other girl feel beautiful. No. Compliment each girl separately and preferably not on their appearance. Because everyone is SO much more than what the scale tells them, or the size of their nose, or the wideness of their shoulders.

Our media should widen their scope of beauty. But not by bashing some people. We will just continue this vicious cycle of girls feeling inadequate if we tell them that one ideal is okay and the other is not. Often I feel myself wishing I had curves, that I didn't feel like a pole, or a lanky jumble of limbs. And the truth is that I shouldn't be worrying about that at all. I understand that there are many more outlets that praise me for being skinny than those that praise girls for being curvy, but why don't we just abandon that approach all together.

I don't covet my thigh gap. I don't look for compliments on my stomach or my small wrists. We all need to find love for ourselves beyond our bodies. We won't have them for that long anyways. We are so easily breakable, we will age, we will wrinkle. And if we keep reinforcing physical ideals instead of intellectual and emotional, we will just keep making girls feel shitty about things that they can't control and leave them with more problems to deal with as they realize they can never match up.

So "you know what's stupid tbh"? Judging people. Comparing people. Putting people down for their physical appearance. Assuming things without getting to know someone. Reinforcing physical beauty above INTERNAL beauty.

So please think before you comment on someone's appearance. Actual scratch that. Don't comment on their physical appearance. Tell them something that will make them realize they are more than a picture.

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