- The ass everyone wants to talk about.
When it comes to my body, I’m the in-between girl. The only immediate analogy I can draw is one I read in a piece on biracial identity: the feeling that though you might look one way, you’re flying the flag for something else, or that, sorry, we don’t have a place for you here or here.
I feel that way about my body–that I’m being met with the world’s urges to represent Something. I’m being petitioned to Stand Up For Women With This Body Type. I’m supposed to be the girl with a message–only when I stand up at the mic, nothing comes out.
It isn’t anyone’s fault. We’ve grown up in a culture that, despite its ability to analyze and even condemn its own behaviors, seems to have been divinely designed to perpetuate its own obsessions.
I’m buying chocolate and magenta lipstick at Duane Reade. At the register, I see the cheap celeb rags. And they tell me I should have Jennifer Aniston arms.Pink’s stomach. But wait: Pre-pregnancy Kim Kardashian is the Symbol Of Femininity–except, did you see her cellulite? And then there’s Jennifer Lawrence, who’s “considered fat in Hollywood.”
Then there’s Christina Hendricks. You can have 40 inch hips if you have G tits. Then you’re just a sex bomb. [Please pick up on joking tone here, folks]. But if you look like Adele, you’re just that person with “weight struggles.” While I am sure these are pressing publishing matters, it’s given me whiplash and it’s disgusting. Truly.
The question really shouldn’t be: “What is a real woman?” or “Why aren’t there more diverse body types represented?” We know why. The world is a vapid, dark place that scours ours emotional psyches in an effort to make money and fame. It probably won’t change overnight, but we can change our responses to it.My personal answer is to abandon the “boxes” I’ve been put into. I’m no ambassador. Size 2 is totally real. So is size 22. So is 8 and 12. So are big tits and small tits. Really.
It’s like being approached by ten sororities on-campus. One of them wants you because you’re smart, and the other wants you because you’re beautiful and the others want you because your popular, or Catholic or because you have money. Which totally creepy, narcissistic tribe to you join? And, if you don’t, do you just exist on the outskirts like a shapeless entity, refusing the label, like some weird loser?
Me, in Brazil, being told by people that I was “perfect” for not being “too thin.” Yikes.
I know that my body size (and by size I mean size–not healthfulness) simultaneously comes with and lacks certain privileges, depending on which person I’m near at any given time. In one day I’m Stretch Armstrong, a vessel for comments and ideas.
Here’s your writer: Good posture. 5’7. Recently, I’ve been sitting at 150-155 pounds. I have C-Cups, an ass most people gawk at and a 36-29-39 figure. If I worked really, really, really, really hard and avoided carbs (with a decent workout regime) I’d be sitting at 145 and hungry as hell. I think 140 would kill me. My pretty little cheekbones would peep out, my naturally toned tummy would be Baller and I’d drop from an 8 to a 6.But right now, technically, according to the charts, I’m verging on obese. I don’t care, except that I feel I am carrying an extra ten pounds. It makes me feel tired because it isn’t where my body wants to be naturally. I love eating, what can I say?Friends who are bigger than me have said things like:“Oh my god, you’re not allowed to say you have cellulite.”
“Oh my god, you’re kidding right? You can eat all the bread you want.” (No, I can’t).
“You’re the perfect size–not gross skinny but not too big.”
“Don’t you hate all those stick-thin bitches?”
“At least you actually have an ass, unlike most skinny people.”
“She’s way too skinny to play a sex symbol.”
“At least you can find clothes for your size.” (It’s not as easy as you think at the middle ground).
Sometimes I sense a tone of judgement, like when I agree with them about body size obsession. My brain says, you’re not allowed to talk about how much you hate sizeism.
I think women of all sizes need to react against society shit-talking our fellow sisters. I also think I wish I didn’t feel so scared to speak up for women–as if I’m throwing them a bone from the perceived “other side.” Which side? Ah!
But the “other side” is the side that garners reactions from thinner friends:
“You looked great when you gained 20 pounds,” (I’ve never gained 20 pounds).
“You’re not fat, but you’re like a pinup girl.”
“You’re butt is so fucking big!”
“You’re like a real woman.”
“You dress so well for your size.”
“You carry your weight so nicely.”
I’m not carrying my weight. I’m existing.
There have been times when I’ve felt singled-out in groups of women: If I’m out with women who are bigger than me I start to feel less feminine, as though I should have more on me–more woman.
[Selfie] How can anyone’s bikini body offend anyone? Especially in hot pink?
If I’m out with thinner friends I wonder if I should order that extra side, or why one of their thighs is literally the size of my upper arm. Why should I care?
While these experiences trigger annoyance in me, they don’t begin to touch the ways millions of people have suffered: skinny-shaming, fat-shaming, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, self-abuse, bullying, suicide.
But there is a grey zone that needs to acknowledged, and that is a place inhabited by real people with brains and hearts and memories.People treat beauty like a cosmological debate–that there must be One Beauty (in Wizard of Oz voice), one answer and anything else is an exception or a lie.
The world can’t decide how best to glorify or denigrate its people. And it’s easy to blame The Others. The fashion industry. Whatever.It’s hard to blame ourselves-very true-but it gets easier when we chip away at it each day. Be aware. Stop judging others and yourself. Stop defining your life by your weight. Be thankful if you are happy.
I’m not sure anyone is privileged anymore: we tear one another down all the time. In the end, I guess I think of it like this: size didn’t go to the moon. People did.