January 25, 2012

Hot or Not?

Can We Retire the Phrase “Real Women,” Please?

Last weekend this picture a la Origin Magazine (and here: “Can We Retire the Phrase “Real Women,” Please?“) found itself winding its way through the pages of the internet.

My immediate reaction was “Yes, get the word out!” but as I took a pause and read the flurry of activity surrounding it I realized that this montage suggests that “real women” can’t be skinny, something that simply isn’t true. While many may not like it, there are healthy, skinny women out there. Skinny women who don’t have curvy hips or voluptuous breasts, women who are still as beautiful as any counterpart. Let’s face it. All women are beautiful. Fat, thin, skinny, average, and everything in between. And guess what? We are all real women.

That being said, several of the women in the above picture do have well documented eating disorders or body image issues (but what woman doesn’t?), and even the women pictured in the “Hotter Than This” photos almost all have body shaping gear on as if to suggest that what their natural shape still isn’t good enough. While I still wouldn’t take the step of denying them the status of womanhood, I would argue that images of bodies—especially those who are going through times of disordered eating or sickness, thin or fat, shouldn’t be paraded around as normal or healthy. These images can be and are disturbing and don’t need to further dig us into the hole of Photoshopping, plastic surgery, or general body dissatisfaction that is present in our modern times.

In rebuttal to this picture the following montage appeared:

The pictures are in the same vein, (and all Photoshopped), but the message is different and I couldn’t agree more!

This comes at a good time for me as I digest everything that has happened over the past month. I’ve never felt so in my body before and while it is a welcome place to reside having so much feeling both mentally and physically is quite a switch. In a rebound from not taking care of myself for some time I’ve seen the numbers on the scale creep up since coming home (yes, yes throw it out right?) and it is hard not to react to this. I’m sitting with these feelings and sitting in these sensations. As I recognize and confront what once seemed insurmountable and uncomfortable starts to shift and abandon its hold. So what if the numbers change? So what if my clothes are different? These material and external things aren’t where life vibrates, aren’t’ where the warmth of my heart or the manifestation of my soul appear. They are only dark illusions that have filled my space for far too long. I can make the choice to turn my back and walk the other way.

That isn’t to say that these thoughts don’t still try to lure me back, but it is my choice to move forward and move towards authenticity and a full and happy life. No gym requirements or bizarre food behaviors allowed. I have my breath, my body, and my spirit. This is where my roots are and where I grow. I’m choosing to abandon my “recovery” ideal of living on the edge of health. If that is where I end up fine, but if it isn’t what happens then so be it. I have more to live for than subcutaneous fat. Of course an eating disorder isn’t really about the subcutaneous fat, but putting it in such blunt terms sure sounds ridiculous, right?

Photo Credits: Facebook

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