I wasn’t sure how to start this blog because the more I thought about this subject, the more I thought about how much this happens; whether meant positively or negatively. We grow up assessing every inch of each others bodies, from our own to our friends and family, even celebrities who we have never seen in person.
From a young age I heard people’s comments on when someone had put on a bit of weight and had ‘let themselves go’. Or lost weight and they now looked ‘too skinny’, ‘more/not healthy’. Celebrities body’s in magazines were constantly scrutinized. Even when we try so hard to get out the thinking that has been forced on us since we were little, it is so difficult to. I have vivid memories of thinking about my body positively and negatively, along with other girls, from when I was in primary school. I was very aware of my body under the male gaze from this age, and would often think of how other boys would view me. This has continued throughout my adult life and I have got so used to men commenting on my body, I don’t even want to give it another breath – that is it’s whole own blog topic.
In this I more want to address how as women we feel the need to comment on or analyse other women’s bodies, whether with with intentional malice or not. I’m so fed up of seeing so much internalised misogyny that women tear each other down or dislike women completely based off of looks. Just look at a celebrity’s Instagram comments and you will see it plain as day. I’ve had conversations with women before where we’ve spoken about a female celebrity we like and admire, but also have called out negative feelings we’ve had about them also because of this misogyny. For me, this is the Kardashians, particularly Kylie and Kim. I have so many mixed feelings about them for many valid reasons, but I do sometimes have to check myself for where some of them originate from.
I am also guilty of thinking my friend has lost weight or put on a bit of weight and they look really good. But it has taken time to learn to not comment on it whether I mean it as a compliment or not. A key thing for me was learning that while someone might want to hear they have lost weight and look amazing, it might not be the best thing for their psyche, as they may feel they weren’t as beautiful before. When in reality, all bodies are beautiful, they’re doing a lot of work to keep up going every day.
Like most body fluctuates and I can often see myself in a negative way – the recognition that it is normal for these changes in our bodies for many different bodies was something that helped me mentally. It should also be okay for us to be able to acknowledge if we have put on a bit of weight and we aren’t feeling great about it, without the chorus of oh my goodness no you look amazing don’t be silly. Obviously this comes from a kind place, but sometimes I want to just vent about the fact I’m feeling not so confident and bloated without the combative compliments following up almost instinctively.
As someone who gets really bad bloating (but also loves food too much to cut anything out), and whose body has changed a lot recently, I’ve gone from being one of my most confident about my body, to one of my most insecure times. I have found I get a lot of validation and confidence from compliments from strangers or distant friends rather than a partner or close friends. I think it is because I feel they have to say that – but why should anyone’s comments have any impact on my self worth.
Going forward it would be so amazing if we could just let each other be and live in our bodies without any comments along with it.