Things my body has:
- Stretch marks
Things society deems as unacceptable if you’re a woman:
- Body hair
- Stretch marks
- Too much fat
- Too much muscle
Wow, it’s almost like all these natural things that happen to growing bodies are something that don’t really exist and that if you somehow have cellulite or fat or stretch marks then you are the one who’s wrong and you need to be fixed! (Please sense the scarcasm).
So I workout for a living. I teach fitness classes and exercise most days of the week and you know what? I have cellulite! I don’t have a flat tummy! My legs jiggle! And it’s all normal!
But we must fit into this neat little box, never too much but just enough.
Enough to be desired, but not enough to be ‘asking for it.’
Enough to be envied, but not enough to be portrayed as a bitch.
It’s a delicate and impossible battle to get a balance so perfect. We as women will NEVER be enough just as we are, not in society’s eyes.
So I call bullshit (sorry Mum)
I call bullshit on thigh gaps and detoxes, on lotions and potions that ‘get rid’ of stretch marks or ‘reduce’ cellulite.
I’m calling it on weight loss programmes that promise you ‘the body of your dreams’ you know, the ones that involve heaps of exercise and no where near enough calories. The ones that are destined to fail.
I’m calling it on the ‘Mum tum’ term and the ‘baby weight’ situation. The body that carried life for 9 months, the body that nurtured and protected your baby and we’re ashamed of that? A body that brought life into this world and we’re so quick to shrink back? Because of what? Because it’s not seen as desirable? Women get praised for loosing weight quickly after birth, but what about the praise for forming a tiny human?
‘Yes you should carry and birth a child but make sure you get rid of all the evidence that it ever happened.’
There’s so much pressure and I’m calling it on these impossible standards that we face as women!
I’m saddened by the amount of times I get friends asking for advice on how to get a ‘thigh gap’ or how to get ‘flat tummies.’ Half of us don’t have these features because that’s just not how we’re made! Does having thighs that touch or a tummy that swells make you any less wonderful? Make you any less kind or caring or worthy? No. If someone thinks any different then THEY SHOULD NOT BE IN YOUR LIFE!
I’m sick of hearing women say that they ‘eaten bad all day’ and that they’re going to ‘fast all day.’ Since when did this become a normal way of thinking? Because in my mind, that signifies a problem.
But we continue fuling this culture, of course we do, it’s no fault of ours. We are made to feel awful about ourselves by adverts or films or social media and we buy into the fact that we need to be improved. Have less body hair, have smoother skin, be thinner, be more toned. We buy products upon products, exercise plans, diet schedules, we don’t know when to stop! And we think that we’re chasing the rainbow of happiness, but the reality is, we’ll never reach the end. The reality is, we’re on the self hate express train, scheduled to stop at self destruction city.
So let’s be honest for a second. Are you doing all these things for you? Are you plucking and waxing, dieting and exercising, eating all these foods you don’t really like because you enjoy it? Or are you doing because that’s what we’ve been brain washed to think? Because it will make you thinner, make you more accepted in this world, make people judge you less?
I’m tired of being made to feel like I should shrink away. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not enough, I’m tired of feeling that if I don’t do certain things or act a certain way then I won’t be seen as beautiful.
Because I am beautiful and I’m done apologising.
My body holds my story, every stretch, every scar, every lump and bump.
My skin jiggles when I dance.
My lungs hold air when I sing out of tune whilst doing the dishes.
My tummy bloats when I’ve enjoyed a dinner with loved ones.
My strength holds me up when I feel like I can’t continue.
My body is my home, it will grow, it will change, it will show new stories over time and I will grow, change and experience these stories with it and that is female beauty.