Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Warped: The Bashing Within

On my Facebook, I tend to like things and groups that I am interested in or intrigued about.  One of my likes is this page called Plus Model Magazine.  There was an interesting post that I read in my news feed on Facebook from them concerning Body Bashing, not as it pertains to slim women versus plus sized women, but plus sized women bashing each other.

This has got me to thinking.

The scenario is so true, not just in the plus sized modeling industry but in the normal world as well.

How many times have you seen this scene play out?

Amber (size 14) and Rachel (size 12) are out at the mall, trying to find a good sale on some shoes.  While they are making their way to the shoe store, they see Breanna (size 22) coming out of Lane Bryant.  They wait until they are sure Breanna can’t hear them before engaging in dialogue:

“Oh my God!  Did you see her?” scoffs Rachel.

“Yes, I did!  It’s good she had long hair but I guess that covers up her short neck,” replies Amber, while trying to stifle her giggle.

“I know the long shirt with the jeggings are in, but she is way too big for that!  It looks like the jeggings are crying for help?” interjects Rachel as they start looking on the discount rack for pumps.  Amber can no longer hold back, and both of them begin laughing.

“I know I got curves, but I’m so glad I’m not that huge!  I don’t ever want to be that huge!” exclaims Amber. “Girl, that is why after we get through with this shopping, we are going to get some salads.  We got to stay thick and not get sloppy!”

“You ain’t never lied!” chimed in Rachel.

How can we chide slim ladies for poking fun if we are doing it in our own circles?

We want to gain acceptance for our curves.

However, if one set of curves don’t look the same way as another set of curves, we start to place one standard above another.  What sense does that make?

To me it makes absolutely none.

Just because a lady is a size 20 doesn’t mean she is unhealthy.  Similarly, just because a lady is a size 12 doesn’t mean she is healthy.

There are so many factors to take in.  Do large frames run in her family?  Does she have factors that slow her metabolism or medical conditions that make it tough for the weight to come off or limit her ability to exercise?

Also, if one goes by BMI (or Body Mass Index), there are quite a few people who may visually appear to be normal weight, yet according to the index, they are deemed overweight or obese.

For example, the Sweetie is tall.  He’s about 6’5”, and he weighs in at approximately 220 lbs.  If you look at the BMI Chart for Men (which is also what the doctors go by to determine healthy weight), he is considered to be overweight.    

Yet, his stomach is virtually flat; his limbs are very lean.  His ideal weight should be somewhere between 150-200 pounds for his height.  

I guess that is why he has issue with this being the measuring stick for if someone is healthy, for there are some athletes who are considered overweight or obese according to BMI, but are in phenomenal shape and eat healthy.

According to BMI Chart for Women, I am considered obese.  I acknowledge that I have extra weight.  I am making great strides in becoming healthier and slimmer.

However, their optimal projection for my height is that I be somewhere between 120-149 pounds.

I don’t know how I am going to arrive at 120 pounds considering that the women in my family tend to be on the fuller side.

Also, I’m on medications that have side effects which hurt my metabolism.

In addition, I am extremely full up front—so much so that I have to order bras online and have them custom fitted because they don’t carry my size in regular stores.

Even if I exercise vigorously, my breasts may shrink some, but not shrink to where I can handle being a 120 pound frame without surgery being a factor in the equation; I really don’t want to undergo surgery.

Even my being 149 is pushing it a little.

The smallest I’ve been, taking my early childhood out of the equation, has been 158.  And even by BMI standards, that would make me overweight.

So I really don’t want to go by that number.

I want to go by my body measurements, my fat percentage vs. muscle mass percentage.  I can deal with gaining weight if I am gaining muscle; I recognize that muscle is denser than fat.  Some people don’t realize that and can get agitated when there are a few weeks where the weight increases because one automatically thinks fat is coming back when it is really muscle.  

I want to go with how I am feeling—am I feeling healthier; do I have more energy than I did before?  If the answers to those are yes, then I am satisfied.

I can’t get myself worked up over getting to a number set by an index.  But I do want to have a realistic goal on where I want my body to be; I don’t want to set the bar so high that I beat up on myself if I cannot get to it.

We cannot ask others to accept us if we self-sabotage ourselves.  We can’t high five the full chested, wide hips, and full bottoms, yet act disgusted if we see other women who have rolls.  We want to tell her to cover her rolls up, but what if she is proud of them?  What if she is rocking so much confidence that she isn’t going to be told anything different?  If we poke fun at her, that says more about us than it does her.

Even if the fashion police runs their radar, there is a right and a wrong way to approach the situation.  If we are talking about her when she walks away, then we aren’t any better than those bullies who taunted us for our weight.

We can’t change our perception of what is beautiful if the people used to represent full figured are not a true reflection of the average plus sized woman.

Although the industry has come a long way, there are still some flaws.  In some of the magazines, women who aren’t plus sized still get used.

When truly plus sized models are used, they are tall as opposed to average or short—so the same fashion on her (5’9” and above) may not look the same on me.  There is still a gap to be filled.

Show me an average plus sized woman—a woman I can relate to, who hasn't been photoshopped.  

Show me a plus sized woman who isn’t over 5’9”-where being petite and plus doesn’t equate a bad thing or an automatic: “you have to lose weight”.

Give me options that are beautiful and affordable.

There are some of these websites where although the price is right, the look is wrong.  More often than not, you also get the reverse: where you see something beautiful but it’s like $300.  Give me beautiful stuff at a “mother who is trying to raise kids” prices or “a woman who got bills and doesn’t have a man to get stuff for her" prices.

Is it really that hard?  It shouldn’t be.

I say, “Less Body Bashing; More Body Blossoming.  For the sexiest thing on a woman has nothing to do with her body; it has everything to do with confidence.”


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