Recently, I came across an interesting blog article titled, “Hey, Not All Real Women Have Curves”, to which I say: true dat.
Of course, this resonated with me because I, too, am of the tall, lanky variety. While I am thankful for the activism that has come into full force against the prevalence of starving models and unattainable beauty standards, I am sick of the crap that came with it: “Real women have curves” (So I’m imaginary??), “Eat a cheeseburger” (What if I’m a vegetarian/pescatarian/Hindu?), “Get off the scale!” (Who are you???), and “There is nothing sexy about toothpick legs.” (Ouch…)
Now, I’m not saying that thin women have it harder than not-so-thin women. It’s just that we don’t really get a pass on the flippant body-snarking, either. People think that I work out/eat fruits and salad and nutritious meals because I am constantly watching calories – not because doing these things actually make me feel good. I don’t diet or count calories because I never had to. I exercise because it reduces anxiety and releases endorphins. I eat nutritious stuff with antioxidants to protect my immune system and be less vulnerable to the cold/flu. Also, my dietary choices are none of your damn business! I am also tired of too many people telling me that my inherited body type should determine my career path.
Nowadays, I see a lot of headlines like, “I’m bigger than a size 6 and still feel confident enough to model in a bikini!” as celebrations of female empowerment. While women of any size should definitely feel comfortable to wear whatever the hell they want, we are still, at the end of the day, much more than our body shapes. Mainstream feminism has become whittled down to “Dove” feminism: advocacy for expensive designers to just continue making more clothes; inclusion in beauty pageants; and celebrating pears, apples, hourglasses, and tubes without realizing that we are identifying ourselves as pears, apples, hourglasses, and tubes!
When a guy says that he would rather bang an hourglass than a skeleton any day, what are we celebrating, exactly? Objectification of a greater diversity of women? Maybe that is a small improvement in the realm of South-Beach hook-ups, but this is some warped feminism, if you ask me. Our lives are more than just what shape we are. We have interests, hobbies, goals, loves, memories, a variety of experiences, and our own, individual sense of purpose. I think it is some people’s inability to realize this about women that leads to objectification in the first place.
However, I am not saying that we should halt the celebrations of physique-diversity that are going on. This became necessary because the world got to the point where mainstream movies and TV shows stopped featuring protagonists above a size 2, and when they did, it was in a “look how tolerant we are!” kind of way. I shouldn’t automatically be considered privileged because I was born thin, and media productions shouldn’t have to feature >size 6 figures in a conspicuous, apologetic manner. The point is, focusing too much on body type just perpetuates female obsession with their appearance, and doesn’t do much for feminism in the long run. It is an obsession that is also very easy for commercial industries to exploit (hence ‘Dove feminism’.) The mainstream discussions about weight nowadays makes everyone – thin, fat, and anything in between – hyper-aware of their figures, and that can’t be too healthy. There is much more to life, and it’s about time we focus on bigger and better things.
Strongly Recommended Awesome Article You Should Read: Hey Dove, Don’t ‘Redefine’ Beauty, Just Stop Talking About It