This has been irritating me for a while. I doubt I’m the first person to be annoyed about this. I doubt I’m the first person to write about it. I doubt this will be the most eloquent portrayal of this annoyance in blog form. But I’m going to do it anyway.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with body image issues. Even if you yourself love your body, I’m confident you know people who have a few hang ups with theirs. We’ve all heard women complaining about bits and pieces, often culminating in a whine about being ‘fat’.
After the fat word happens, quite often someone will chip in with a reassuring “no you’re not, don’t say that, you’ve had a baby, it’s ok”.
It’s ok, is it? It’s all right to look like that because you’ve had a baby?
No. It’s not.
It’s ok to look like that because you’re a human being and you deserve to be treated with respect and not judged on the size or shape of your body.
It’s ok because you don’t need to justify your eyebrows, arse, belly button, ankles or any other body part to anyone else. You don’t need an excuse for the way you look. The way you look is the way you look and that’s ok. Full Stop. Just in case this is confusing, I’ve included this handy diagram:
You are not under obligation to look a certain way. Can we please stop assuming that women should all look like the arbitrary mannequin of perfection and if they don’t they better have a damned good reason? Women don’t need to have an explanation for their bodies, and even if they do have one you’re not entitled to hear about it simply because you’ve noticed that they look different to your own notions of beauty and perfection.
Similarly, if someone happens to change their body shape through weight loss, weight gain, taking up a new sport or surgically implanting horns in their forehead this isn’t a reason for you to start judging them or questioning them. People can sort through their health issues with their doctors and medical professionals. An outside opinion on your appearance generally isn’t well received unless it is specifically asked for. Just because you think Tabbitha’s boobs are saggy doesn’t mean she has to justify it to you by bringing out photos of her 3 newborn triplets. Just because you connote ‘saggy’ with ‘bad’ doesn’t mean everyone else shares your values. Tabbitha might bloody love the shape of her boobs.
If you’re a friend giving another friend support through a tough time with health and/or weight issues that’s one thing. If you’re simply forcing your beauty ideals on another person with no understanding of how their opinions or cultural influences may differ from yours that’s quite another. Whether you choose to describe yourself as fat, thin, droopy, pert or anything else that’s up to you. It should be a descriptor. Not a judgement call.