Controversy

{Feel free to sing the title of this post a la Prince Smile}

Before I get to the controversy, please forgive me for my non-postage last night. I left the house at 7AM yesterday morning and didn’t get home until 9PM. Long day, what?!? So instead of blogging last night, I stuffed my face with overly rich brownies and watch a rerun of Mad Men with my parents. I needed a night  off.

Plus, it was fun to go out to dinner and just focus on hanging out with my friend, rather than taking pictures of the food (which was subpar) or drinks (which were watery and totally unremarkable). Sometimes it’s good just to be present and to turn off that blogger’s inner monologue for a minute! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like I’m narrating in my head half my life!

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You said it, Austin! 

Onto the controversy!

So many bloggers I read say that they aren’t controversial, don’t like confrontation, etc. I guess I go against the grain in that regard because I am eternally the odd man, er woman, out. I say what I think, even if it’s unpopular. I suppose I’ve just gotten to a place in my life where I own my opinions. That’s not to say I try to offend people or hurt others’ feelings, but I don’t necessarily hold back, either.

oops

This morning, on my miserable run where the brownies I ate last night sat like a rock in my belly, I thought a lot about the discussion that went on yesterday morning on Julie’s adorable blog. It revolved around a British study that said men prefer curvy brunette women over any other body type or hair color. OK, whatever. The study itself didn’t really bother me. I don’t put much stock in that kind of thing, anyway.  What I did find bothersome, however, was the tone of many of the comments.

While I’m all for embracing your curves and your body type, I would never do it at the expense of others. I find it interesting that it’s never OK to criticize a curvy woman’s body, but people feel totally comfortable calling a thin woman “skinny” or “scrawny” or commenting on her body. Why, exactly, is that OK?

not cool

Case in point, I stopped yesterday morning on my way to work to get a decaf sugar-free nonfat coconut latte. Mmmmm. It’s easily a favorite of mine and now that I’ve switched over to decaf coffee, it’s a little treat I have just once in a while. And I’m cheerful and chatty because it’s a new day, and I’m trying to have a new attitude. So I’m chatting with the ladies behind the counter when one of them comments, “Oh, we call that a ‘why bother!’ No caffeine, no sugar, no fat! That’s why you’re so skinny!”

skinny latte

Huh.

Did I miss the part where someone decided that it’s OK to comment on other women’s bodies? I mean, I never would have said anything about her size, or anyone’s for that matter, but because I’m thin it’s somehow OK to comment on mine? I don’t get it.

There are all different kinds of body types. Mine happens to be of the lean runner variety because I am, in fact, a runner, and I happen to enjoy (mostly) healthy foods that fuel my body. The women in my family happen to have a smaller body type, so I suppose some people would say I have genes in my favor, but fitness is also something I work for. I am mostly happy with my fitness level and the way my body looks.blog 001

That said, I also have my insecurities. There are days I look in the mirror and wish something looked different. More days than I’d like to mention. The fact of the matter is, I look this way because I’ve been through a really difficult time in the last year and a half. Running is the way I’ve coped, and as a result I have a runner’s body. Sometimes I see a picture of myself and don’t exactly love what I see. But I try to remember how far I’ve come emotionally, and how much running has helped me in that process. I have what I have, and just like anyone else, I’m doing my best to feel comfortable in my own skin. Aren’t we all?

DC Half 023

My question is this: why can’t we all just be supportive of one another? Why is it OK to criticize the “scrawny, boyish” girl? What’s the point of celebrating our curves if it’s at the expense of someone else?

I have friends with all different body types, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that each and every one of them are gorgeous. Stunning. Strong. Beautiful. And my real friends don’t look at me and complain about how skinny I am. They look at me and tell me they’re proud of me. Proud of how far I’ve come. Proud of how strong and beautiful I am. And I feel the same way about them.

Fall 2010 022

All I’m asking is this: before you comment on someone else’s body, before you say, “She needs to eat a burger,” or “She looks like a boy!” think about how you’d feel if someone commented on your body. The fact of the matter is, unless you’re complimenting them, it’s never OK to comment on someone’s body.

Be supportive of one another. We all have amazing gifts to offer—amazing strengths and talents that have nothing to do with the size of our thighs or the number on the scale. Let’s focus on those, mmmkay?

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23 thoughts on “Controversy

  1. Amen, sister!! I really LOVED reading this post today. I, too, was left feeling a little perturbed by some of the reader’s comments. I thought it was amazing how quickly controversy started up, and because I had mentioned that “anonymous” got heated, I then had record number of page views on my blog yesterday (like triple!). I think it is GOOD to be opinionated like you are! I am also opinionated and do not hesitate the defend my fellow female when I feel she is being wrongfully attacked. I wish all women would stand up for themselves, and support one another!

  2. It’s amazing the amount of judging I get for being healthy and thin. I eat lots of desserts, and don’t deprive myself, so that’s not “why”. It’s just unbelievable that people feel they can comment the way they do, when it’s obviously inappropriate to make comments to someone about the reverse. I wonder why that is…

    • Exactly. I ‘m the same way, and I’ve wondered about that, too. I’ve called some people out on it before and I honestly don’t think they have ever thought that it might not be ok. It’s good to make people think about that stuff.

  3. This is a great reminder. It’s so easy to put ourselves up by putting ourselves or others down. It’s easy to compare to others, find ourselves lacking and try to dismiss it by saying, Well… she’s got no hips, or she’s got a bigger butt. Any little negativity like that, while it might feel okay in the moment really builds up the thought process that it’s okay to make negative comments… It might not come from a place where we realize what we’re saying or doing might impact someone else. Thanks for this reminder. It’s much easier to judge someone surface level (those she’s so skinny comments, than it is to think, hey, what a healthy looking person, I sure admire her). It takes more strength to appreciate than judge I guess. I try not to be negative, but I know I do this too from time to time. It’s a great thing to work on improving. 🙂

    • Great thoughts, Mindy. I totally agree that negativity breeds more negativity. It’s like it seeps into your psyche or something. I try not to judge at all because I just think it’s so unfair. Of course those negative thoughts seep in from time to time, but overall I try to look at the positive.

  4. Great post! I posted the article to start a discussion and daaaang did it ever! As a “curvier” girl (okay, so I only have curves in my ass – not the boobs), I am constantly jealous of body types like yours. I think lean, toned bodies are beautiful. I know this sounds awful, but I think maybe b/c your body type is looked upon as “envible” by SO many women, we don’t think you have insecurities about being thin… which is TOTALLY wrong and I thank you for shedding light on the fact that every woman – no matter WHAT shape or size – can feel insecure at times. bottom line: we’re all different, we’re all beautiful and there’s no reason to say degrading things about ANYONE’S shape.

    • You’ve got that right!

      Isn’t it funny how everyone has these insecurities? For me, I look at you and can’t imagine how you could possibly think any part of you is NOT gorgeous! I just think it’s so important that we all celebrate one another rather than trying to knock others down to make ourselves feel better.

  5. Get it girl! I totally agree. Admittedly I stay away from controversy on my blog but I always love your posts and wish I could spark the discussions and thought-provoking you do! 🙂 AND THIS I totally agree with. It’s never OK to comment on how people look (unless its compliments of course!)… everyone has their own insecurities!

  6. love this post. women are just way to quick to criticize, ‘hate’ , gossip, etc in general.
    play nice. bottom line!
    p.s. i love that you say it like it is and i think you are adorable just the way you are! xo

  7. Lauren says:

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. I did read Julie’s post yesterday and was pretty taken aback by some of the comments. I am a small women with an athletic, boyish figure. Most of the time I’m fine with myself, but I do have insecurities about my size sometimes and reading some of those comments yesterday left me thinking, “what the heck is wrong with me?!” I really needed this post today so again, thank you!!

  8. bubblymel says:

    Oh What a great post Melissa! I have to admit I have been guilty of commenting on the “Skinny woman’s” Body, but it is sooo true what you have said. I would be upset if someone said something about my body!! We are all different and have different bodies, so it is unfair to comment! Good on you for bringing it up and I’ll definitely think twice about commenting on another woman’s body!!

  9. L. says:

    You are totally right on with this. I used to be a very skinny child and was constantly teased at school for it. I wanted curves so badly and it hurt to be spoken to that way by what I now realize were jealous insecure girls. It hurt. Now, I am still on the smaller side, but I have curves and cushion and I can understand kind of both sides of the spectrum and the insecurities that go with each. It’s not fair to belittle someone for being small. It doesn’t mean they have an eating disorder or that you need to be concerned about them. And it’s very insulting and hurtful when you try to come off as a strong, empowered woman, only to be beaten down or ignored because people try to make you out to have this mental disorder. Sucks how focused on the physical girls can get nowadays. We all just need to accept and embrace one another.

    Thanks for the post. 🙂 I’m putting you on my google reader. I find people who speak their minds EXTREMELY refreshing!! Take care 🙂

    • LOVE this comment. I’m glad you could identify with this post, too. I think it’s an important perspective that people need to be aware of.

      Glad you like it when people speak their minds–I tend to be a teensy bit opinionated! 😉

  10. Jen says:

    Sorry I’m a little late to the party here…just catching up on my reader after a big move…

    I’m certainly not defending anyone’s right to make comments about a woman’s (or man’s) body, regardless of its shape, but I think the reason some people find it ok to comment on thinness is because it’s typically considered the preferred shape. So the barista’s comments were probably not meant to be rude or insulting – it might be seen similar to commenting on one’s beauty. On the other hand, I also think women often try to find reasons that explain another’s appearance… “oh, she pays a hundred dollars for a haircut? No wonder she has great hair…” Maybe it’s all an effort to make us feel better about our own appearances.

    • No, not too late at all! I absolutely agree that the intention is probably meant in a sort of backhanded complimentary way. Everyone’s just trying to make themselves feel the best about what they’ve got. I try not to take it too personally because I believe what you’re saying is totally true!

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