There are women among us who get comfortable with the flaws and imperfections of their bodies, especially post baby bodies. Women like this photographer who is willing to show her softer, fuller post baby body with pride (and no figure flattering clothes to forgive anything). But most women are walking around feeling too fat, too soft, too big, too pale, too whatever and it’s a FEMALE PROBLEM.
Yeah I said it. Men are not to blame.
I know there are exceptions (we like to call them jerks around here) who make women feel bad about their bodies. [so don’t feel like you need to comment with every specific instance a man made a woman feel bad, I know they exist.]
I’m not talking about the exception though, i’m talking about the rule.
The rule is that 9 times out of 10 when I feel insecure or inferior in my own skin it is because of another woman.
The rule is the reality that when I buy clothes or get dressed i’m thinking about what women will like.
The rule is that it’s other women who obsess, stress and force themselves to sacrifice for an image.
In my experience men love women’s bodies, it’s simply a fact of life, my husband finds me just as attractive curvy and soft as he did when I was toned and harder (in fact when I dropped 20 extra pounds on top of the baby weight thanks to nursing my first son he encouraged me not to lose anymore because I was getting “skinny” :). In my experience as a curvy lady I have had zero men ever express a disappointment in my body directly or indirectly.
But I am indirectly assaulted by women everyday. I am not giant but at 5’8 and change I am taller than plenty of the women I know, I am also a very full hourglass. This means that when my friend wearing size 6 jeans complains about how giant her thighs are, even though mine are easily 1.5 times the size, I suddenly have an urge to hide the lower half of my body.
When my lunch date complains about her stomach being flabby I look down at my own stretched and fattened stomach, staring at the area of post baby belly protruding from my hips and cringe, suddenly losing my appetite.
When women with glowy sun kissed skin talk about how wretched they look and how desperately they need a tanning salon I feel the pale, ever-sunscreened skin of my face blush red and hot.
Women size each other up in ways men would never bother with. I assure you that despite my stomach looking like a roadmap it is not men that prevent me from wearing a bikini, it is women.
Feminists love to blame men for so many things but ladies, we are doing this to ourselves.
You, mom that spends 7+ hours a week at the gym post baby while the rest of us enjoy our coos and cuddles, you don’t have to do it.
You, mom who perpetually skips dessert and always orders sensibly while the rest of us are indulging a bit, you don’t have to do it.
Having a beautiful body has nothing to do with what it looks like but instead what it can do. My body is strong enough to carry both of my kids, chase them all day, hike to the tops of hills and crawl around on the floor with them.
My doctor says I am fabulously healthy. My husband says i’m stunning. My son tells me I look like a princess. My Savior tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
These are truth. They are real. They are important.
You know what is most amazing about my body? I’m happy with it. Lately I have felt so much pressure to “bounce back” after baby because that’s what everyone seems to be worried about doing. This pressure made me forget that I love my body. I don’t care about my stretch marks. I don’t care that my arm jiggles a little. I don’t care that my stomach skin sags and droops. I am a strong and beautiful human being and so are you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Magazines will push it, celebrities will show it, trainers will sell it, the world will yell it but it’s not true. This body is a temporary vessel and making it glossy and shiny at the expense of things like time with your kids or love with your husband or fun with your friends is a huge mistake.
I’m joining the new face of sexy, it’s called acceptance and it’s amazing.