Occupy Beauty! A letter from 31:26:36


Hey y’all!

It’s me, the one you call your “skinny friend.” Yeah, yeah, it’s meant in love. Whatever. I’m used to it. Let’s finally have it out, shall we? Sizeism is running rampant and we are perpetuating it within ourselves. Don’t believe me? Check this out:


What is your first reaction to this photo? It has been circulating Facebook for a while…

Was it, “Damn! I want to look like her (as you point at any one of these women?)!”

Or perhaps, “Why are there only white chicks in here?”

Or maybe, “I hate so-so, stupid (insert skinny/fat name here) cow!”

Or even, “I don’t know who these people are but they are missing a question mark and have too many periods for an ellipsis.”

Did anyone say: “Wow, why are we trying to decide who is hotter, when we have a poster of 8 gorgeous women?”

***

I am pretty sure that didn’t happen.

Why? Because we are conditioned to judge our bodies and compare them to others in search of some mythical ideal. It’s not all in our heads, we get this bombarded on us from infancy and inherit the insecurities and beauty ideals of the generations. The media shows one look, many women look differently and we are stuck in a cycle of discontent and self-hate. It’s stupid. Let’s rebel. Let’s OCCUPY BEAUTY!

I am going to use myself as an example, my stats are as follows:

  • 5’11, 128lbs as of this morning, BMI 17.9 (Although that thing is so dumb, BMI = nonsense)
  • 31AA, 26in waist, 36in hips. (Thanks Diva, you gave me a booty! Finally!)
  • Diet: lifelong Lacto-vegetarian and Cheez-It addict
  • Exercise: daily dog walking, boxing 2x/week, crossfit when I can fit it in, running when I can. Toddler chasing 24hrs a day!
  • Clothing sizes: Size 4 pants, 34″ inseam, small/medium shirts, and a giant size 10 shoe

Ka-pow!

Reason why I look like this: not sure, probably genetics to blame and a love of exercise.

Do I ever diet? No.

Do I have an eating disorder? NO, but I will finish your fries for you…since you aren’t eating them…

Do I ever seek to lose weight? No. I am actually trying to put on muscle weight at the moment.

Have I always been small? Yes. In high school I was a 00, now I am a 4/6. I like myself better now.

Do I magically find clothing that fits in every store because I am skinny? Not a chance. I have had to special order my pants because a tall and thin woman may be the “goal” but if you have one with no butt, you have an oddity and must get your clothing tailored so you don’t end up with awkward butt-flaps of fabric. True story.

Am I happy? Good question. Right now? Yes. But no, I have not always been happy with the way I look. I constantly wished I had a few more curves. If I dress down too much, I come across as androgynous instead of deeply feminine and from the back I resemble a boy. If I am wearing layers and have my face covered, I could probably resemble one from the front too. Albeit, a rather thin boy, but still…a boy. It has taken time but I have worked hard on being happy with who I am. EVERYONE has insecurities.

I may have a tiny waist and butt, true, but they still bear the stretch marks left over from pregnancy.  I am ok with that because being pregnant not only gave me my Diva but it also allowed me to glow in a way I had never glowed before. I may be itty bitty up top, but it was enough to nurse my kid. I may be taller than a lot of men I know…but when I have a mind to, OHHHHh I can turn heads by parading around in 4 inch heels and 10 miles of legs. 😉

If I could, I would change a few things about my body. I think we all can say that. But this is the body I was given and what I seek to do is take care of it (and decorate it with a couple tattoos and some piercings too!).

Before we continue, I understand that this is just my perspective. I know what it’s like to be the skinny one. For the record, it’s not rainbows, unicorns and butterfly magic. I don’t have people running up to me with modeling contracts and I certainly don’t have a harem of men running around salivating over my “ideal size 4”. Ha. The only ones running after me are the ones I am racing…and beating…at the gym.  I don’t know what it’s like to have someone call me fat. I don’t know what it’s like on the other end of the spectrum. But what I think we all have in common is that we are women and we are all built imperfect. None of us, minus the Barbie-lady from the UK, has a chance at having “the perfect body.” Let’s all accept this and make a pact. Today. A pact to be healthy. When we are healthy, we can allow ourselves to be happy. Happiness is the most beautiful feeling of all!

It might sound trite, but it is meant with genuine feeling. I do not care what size you are, I just want you to be healthy. Is that a healthy 2 or a healthy 18 or a healthy 10? I don’t know. Only YOU know. It’s your body after all, you are the one most acquainted with it. Are you comfortable? Are you healthy? Are you happy with YOU when you look in the mirror? If you answered yes, then well-done! You are in a good place. If no, it sounds like some introspective moments are in order.

BE HEALTHY. HEALTHY IS BEAUTIFUL. HEALTHY IS HOT. HEALTHY IS DESIRABLE. HEALTHY IS SEXY. HEALTHY IS THE GOAL.

There are different types of healthy. One in three adults in the U.S. is now considered obese by the CDC. 1 in 3. That statistic doesn’t fit everyone, of course, but it should serve as a wake-up call. Despite what BMI says, are YOU healthy? If you are, don’t worry about it. If not, well done for being honest with yourself and how do you move from there?

Asking these questions is important and so is accepting our own imperfections in relation to others.

** My size 4 butt is jealous of your apple bottom in your apple bottom jeans.**

** My height is awesome, but I would share it with some of my vertically-challenged sisters if I could. **

OWN what you got and let’s agree to stop with the silly nonsense and look at the facts:

  1. REAL WOMEN come in many different shapes and sizes. You and your curves are just as real as me and my lines. Seriously. Can we please stop deciding what size gets to be “real” or not? If my size makes me “unreal”, I should get to stop paying taxes or something seeing how my size just decided my person status. Thanks.
  2. Being on either extreme can be deeply unhealthy.
  3. Beauty does come from within because we have to believe we are beautiful and of worth before you can expect someone else to. Fact.
  4. My pant size shouldn’t affect your happiness. I love you, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your clothing size.
  5. Seek to admire the beauty in others instead of tear it down. Instead of saying, “Ohh, here is the skinny one—we should offer her a cookie!” find something nice to say, like “Nice bag! That is super cute!” Instead of smirking at the woman at the fast food restaurant who is working on Whopper #2, admire the fact that she has really great hair. You get the picture. People always have beauty just like people always have insecurities. They are well aware of their insecurities. Let’s spend our energy reminding them of their beauty. Wouldn’t that be great?

Occupy Beauty! Share the love! BE real!

I want to know what you think. What makes you feel beautiful?

Peace, love and rebellious earrings,

Bekah


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Comments
11 Responses to “Occupy Beauty! A letter from 31:26:36”
  1. You are exactly right. It’s taken me 38 years to learn the lessons you listed here about healthy being beautiful and bodies coming in all shapes and sizes, but I’m finally coming around. Oddly enough, it’s not men that perpetuate these stereotypes. it’s US! Great post. Much needed. I reblogged you. Hope you don’t mind:)

    • simply.bekah says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I am flattered that you wanted to reblog my post! Thanks!! I think we all need to remind ourselves that it is perfectly ok to be happy with exactly who we are. I know I need to remind myself of it too! Have a lovely evening! 🙂

  2. Asia says:

    My daughter looks at me and her eyes light up. She toots her little big lips up for a kiss and gives me the biggest hug you could ever hope for. That makes me feel beautiful. People always compliment her on her manners and I suppose you’d call it poise for such a little girl, ( she’s only 18 mos ) and say that I must be doing a great job as a mom. That makes me feel beautiful. She is my world and, when I realize that she loves me even if she can’t say it, that feeling makes me feel like the most beautiful person on the planet. When I’m in a bathing suit and feeling like smit because I have very very dark ( like 5x’s darker than my skin) tiger stripes for stretch marks marring the skin of my huge already VERY noticeable behind, hops, back and legs, and my daughter takes my hand and smiles so wide… I feel beautiful.

    When I’m standing and accounting for all of the trauma that my body has suffered post-partum I close my eyes and think about giving birth to my daughter. Then it hits me. I chose, amist everything happening in my turbulent life, to give her a chance to have her own. I survived and so did she. I’ll never regret that one choice in my life. I am stronger because of it. That makes me feel beautiful.

    **I suppose now I should start working on finding what’s beautiful about me unrelated to my baby. **

  3. Amanda says:

    Asia, I think it’s a great thing to find beautiful things about yourself unrelated to your baby, but I totally feel what you are saying here. I had the cliche experience of feeling more comfortable with myself after childbirth because 1) I finally understood what the purpose of it all was and 2) I understood that, if I expect my children to view themselves as beautiful people, I needed to model that. There are still many things that I look at and see the flaws, but I accept those things as part of myself.

    Bekah, you made me feel ashamed of my previous comments (I’m sure you know from where). One thing I should strive for in the future is to get past size-ism. The best way to fight body image issues is not to criticize or ostracize thin people. Doing so is a lot like fighting racism by becoming racist. I applaud you for seeing this issue as it actually is and not like it’s made to seem.

    • simply.bekah says:

      Oh I wasn’t intending to make you or anyone else feel bad from the original post on Facebook, Amanda! Far from it! I just wanted to point out the other side of the coin because I get a lot of flak for celebrating my size instead of, idk, feeling bad about it or somehow apologizing that I am ok with the fact that I am naturally small. I think we just need to celebrate more in the “positive” column rather than the negative. The world is full of negatives already, let’s perpetuate more positives. 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        🙂 I know it wasn’t intended to make anyone feel bad, but it doesn’t matter. I should be adult enough to realize when something I say is perpetuating the exact thing you’re talking about.

        I hope you never apologize for being you!!

  4. myoxisamoron says:

    Bekah, thank you for this wonderful and through provoking post. I personall have been on both sides of this debate. In high school and after my 1st two children I had that classic 36, 25, 38 figure. It was just how my body was. I am definitely NOT that now, but I am still me. Our body is what it is and we should take care of it, but it is now who we are.

    Many is as happy as he decides to be. — Abraham Lincoln

  5. Casey says:

    Not really my topic here, but it is interesting how the sexes differ. For example, I was getting a belly and my shirt wasn’t fitting terribly well in a meeting. My coworker asked if I had been drinking a lot lately because my belly was getting bigger. I laughed and really didn’t care. It is my understanding that a situation like that would be mortifying for a woman. The majority of men aren’t conditioned to be conscious about our body image and when we address changes it is a pretty low imperative. I think you would also find that men care a lot less about your weight than you think. Woman probably judge you harshest.

    Speaking of… this was interesting. A couple of surveys have revealed that men tend to prefer size 12 to 14 (whatever those numbers mean)

    http://www.rte.ie/fashion/2009/0611/curvywomensurvey.html

    • simply.bekah says:

      Without question, women judge other women harshest. It has been suggested that women do not get all dolled up for men, but rather to show off how they compare to other women. It’s an interesting evolutionary concept. As far as the survey goes…to each their own. I want people to feel comfortable with where they are at. If the average man prefers the average woman whose size averages out at 14, woo hoo! (Although as someone who has always been smaller than average, I must be looking for a niche market! 😉 )

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