I’m addicted to Instagram. All the cutsey, kawaii, colorful, bejeweled, delicious photography speaks to my immature and wistfully materialistic soul. Not long ago, I noticed more body shots appearing on my feed. Of course I see the occasional size 0 Instagram model wearing a barely there bikini, posing in front of a white sand beach. But I noticed the bodies didn’t look quite as small. In fact, they were larger. Much larger.
What is this? Someone who sorta looks like me is wearing a thong! Her ass is the size of Australia and its eating that scrap of fabric into oblivion! How is this happening? Where did this come from? Who are these bold Amazonians?
I’m a librarian so I spend many hours reading useless facts and researching useless information. It’s my form of entertainment as much as it is for people to watch mindless reality shows about selfish narcissists. I spent hours learning about Body Positivity, BoPo. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and seeing. There’s a movement on loving yourself and accepting what you look like, and forcing the entire world to do the same. I was on board!
I would like to consider myself mostly healthy. I’m a runner. I ran my first half-marathon in January and actually finished! It was a huge accomplishment and I’m still prouder of myself for that than anything, even graduating with a master’s. So I’m healthy-ish. But I’m not thin. My fiance calls me “curvy” and I guess that’s the appropriate term used nowadays as opposed to “chubby chub chub.” I, like many women, struggle with body image. It’s hard, as you well know, to see beautiful women plastered everywhere and know that you could never achieve such beauty unless through photoshop, or excruciatingly painful, costly surgery.
Most days it’s not so bad. I look in the mirror, do a little twirl and think, “I look great.”
Darker days, especially after eating junk food, I look at myself and almost wanna cry. But I internally mope and remind myself to eat healthier for the next couple of days and all that bloating will go away. It works every time.
My mind slowly changed about BoPo, though. There are tons of #recovery and #eatingdisorder pictures of young girls and women showing their emaciated before pictures, then more life-like after pictures. Their after pictures were skinnier than me and I was jealous. I was fucking envious of girls who recovered from literally starving themselves to death! How is that fair, I would ask the sky!
Then on the flip side, there were tons of before pictures of healthy, curvy women who looked like me, and their after pictures were of their current obese selves. In the caption, they talk dramatically of how they obsessed over food and exercised to maintain the body image they thought they should have, but decided fuck it, hand me that Big Mac.
I was like, wait, what? But I’m that way too! I obsess over food. I think about food all the time! Food is delicious! Everyone thinks about the things that are important to them. I plan almost all our meals and cook often. If food wasn’t on my mind, I’d mindlessly walk to our next door Taco Bell and order three days worth of calories in burritos!
Not to mention, I get seriously offended when thinner women post a picture like, “this is what I look like when I’m sitting down, or bending over. I have belly rolls. It’s normal!” Uh, you crackpot fucking twat, some women have rolls even when they’re standing up straight. Some women aren’t blessed with hidden belly rolls that only make appearances when they bend their bodies!
I guess this is one of those cases where in their effort to promote something positive, women actually made things harder, more confusing and sadly…negative! In a well- intended attempt to stop perpetuating women as sexual objects with Body Positivity, they actually brought more attention to women’s bodies!
My wedding is in six months. I know that my fiance fell in love with who I am and to him, my size is perfectly fine. But I also know that if I don’t look and feel like my absolute best, which is actually a size 6 in Vera Wang, I will regret it forever. Those pictures are forever. We’re spending a fortune on wedding photography because our parents don’t have wedding pictures. We’d like that to be something we can give our descendants, the lovely memories of our happy union. So yes, I am eating healthier than usual, running more often than usual, and I bought small dumbbells for lifting! I HATE lifting! But I want Michelle Obama arms so bad!
I believe everyone should love themselves, but also take care of themselves. Eat the cake, but also the carrots too. I feel amazing when I eat berry chantilly cake, but I also feel amazing when I run that extra mile. There are a lot of “buts” when it comes to body image. Pun intended. Loving myself doesn’t mean I have to be 100% satisfied with myself right now. Loving myself also means I can have realistic and attainable goals. I love myself enough to work towards those goals, whether they’re career or fitness oriented.
I just can’t relate to the BoPo movement and I probably never did. It made me feel like less of a feminist and I struggled with it. But as Luke said, “the Jedi must end.” One extreme way of thinking isn’t better than the other extreme way of thinking. There must be balance. For the time being, I support and encourage all women in their love for themselves regardless of size, their eating disorder recovery, or their struggle with weight loss. But excuse me while I reluctantly attempt bicep curls.