“I really connected to this post by Carrie Klassen, because I find so often women are hard on themselves, rather than embracing who they are/what they look like, and dressing for the beautiful shape they are. I hope you enjoy this perspective as much as I do.” ~ Wendy
I ventured into the mall today, although I hadn’t planned to, because I needed to get my iPad repaired. While I was there, I passed a store with sexy little numbers in the window and thought I’d try on one or two to see if there were anything sparkly and pretty on me for New Year’s Eve.
When I got to the changeroom, another woman was checking herself in the mirror, turning at all angles. Disappointed. Although it’s difficult to be objective about these things, looking at her I thought she and I had nearly identical bodies. Similar height, weight and measurements. I made a mental note to keep track of what she looked great in so I might try it too and save myself some time.
While I was struggling to pull the first stretchy, clingy dress over my body, I could hear my “twin” next door lamenting, “I need to lose weight. I have this belly.” And I knew exactly what she meant. I am 5’2 (or so) and weigh 102 lbs (or so). Based on numbers alone, I know I’m not overweight. But put me in something tight and you will see the outline of my belly. I am soft where Shape magazine would have me be “defined.”
My twin tried another dress and another but again and again she complained it was too snug around her middle. (Behind my curtain, I was having the same issue.) The on-commission sales clerk said, “Are you kidding? Your body is sick.” (I bely my age when I tell you I know that’s a compliment but that I don’t understand it.) What the sales clerk likely knows is that NO woman can wear that dress without that look.
BECAUSE WOMEN HAVE CURVES.
The more she criticized her own body, the more she criticized mine. Of course it wasn’t personal – all she was doing was saying things out loud that I say in my head all the time. But it wasn’t until this past month that I began to think about this particular matter.
Since its 30-something arrival, I’ve always looked at my little belly as “an area for improvement.” An indicator that I need to get to the gym more often or eat differently, etc etc. I’ve begun shopping for “shapewear” and such things. When I was in Paris, though, I visited an erotica museum. There were gorgeous photographs and postcards from the 1920s up to the 60s – we’re not talking Rembrandt or Rubens here – and the women had bellies. (And their breasts weren’t the shape of basketballs but that’s another matter.)
Here’s the secret: women are not flat. We aren’t.
When I dislike my belly, I’m disliking my dressing room friend’s belly and that’s not cool. But I’m also doing something more troubling than that. I’m disowning my femininity, my womanliness, my curves, my softness, my touchability… and on and on. I’m buying into a delusion that it’s the body of woman that is flawed.
We are hating ourselves, women. Little by little, we are. And while we may be able to live with that hate ourselves (because, goodness, we women are strong), that self-hatred is also a hatred of each other. It’s insidious. It’s dangerous. And it, it is the thing that is sick.
Let’s be healthy. Let’s love our bodies with delicious foods, and lotions that smell like roses. Let’s take long soaks in the tub. Let’s wear strings of pearls over our hearts and breasts.
Let’s remember the pleasure of being born women. And let’s be grateful for every inch.
(Because I mean, seriously, can you imagine having a scrotum?)
Writer Carrie Klassen is a green tea enthusiast, amateur poet, fine point pen aficionado, INFJ Scorpio, and president of Pink Elephant Creative, a writing and design boutique for inspired entrepreneurs. She also writes workbooks and teaches workshops at Pink Elephant Academy for Entrepreneurs.