Greener Grass

I had a long, enlightening conversation with a bra fitter a few months ago. We were deep in a discussion about style, dressing, and body image when she said that in her profession, every customer she’s met and helped felt has vulnerable and self-conscious.

“No one is happy with what they have,” she told me. “They all want what they haven’t got.”

I thought about my own breasts. I have always wanted them to be bigger. Always. And it wasn’t until I started complaining about them in front of my friends with larger busts that I learned many women would so much rather have small breasts than large. Or even medium. I’ve always had thick, wavy hair and always wanted thin, straight hair. Again, people have told me they’d kill for my hair. (Hopefully not kill ME …) And then I thought about an L’Wren Scott quote I’d seen years and years ago.

“I’ve never met a woman who loves her own body. Ever.”

Scott has since passed away. She was a designer whose clientele and fans included SJP, Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, and Renée Zellweger – a list that encompassed women with curves and sans curves, tall and short women, ivory- and caramel-skinned women, and women with hair colors and styles of all varieties. Scott knew and worked with “elite” bodies of all conformations, and none of them are happy with how they look.

Everyone wants what they don’t have. No one is happy. Even the women who are held up as shining examples of the current beauty standard don’t love their bodies. Just like us, they long to possess traits they see in their peers: Different hair, different sets of curves, different proportions, different everything. Often, in fact, the opposite of what is present: Straight-haired women long for curls, boyish figures long for curves, petite women long for height.

Some of that is fed by companies who sell breast reductions to large-busted women and implants to small-busted women; companies who sell flat-irons to wavy-haired women and curling irons to straight-haired women; companies who sell girdles to women with curves and padded panties to women without curves. Our collective dissatisfaction with our natural figures feeds massive industries on a daily basis.

But I think it’s possible that some of it is the old “greener grass” conundrum, too. Take my bust size hang-up. I got it in my head early on that fuller breasts were better, more attractive, more womanly. And it took several friends with full breasts explaining that their breasts make them targets for jeers and unwelcome advances, that many styles of clothing are impossible on their figures, and that they sometimes experience back strain to change my mind. It took a long time and a lot of pointed comments before I got the message: I wanted what they had, but they wanted what I had. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

So what can we do? We can start with ourselves. We can minimize thoughts and comments about our OWN bodies that cast us as anything other than lovely.

We can support our friends, loved ones, and colleagues through genuine compliments and open affection.

We can talk to each other, communicate, and share. Writing this blog has helped me realize that I want to help women to accept themselves. Maybe even love themselves. I want to show that clothes are tools, ideal for expressing your identity and showing off your assets. I want to prove that beauty doesn’t care about what size jeans you wear. I want to convince some small segment of the world’s women that they truly are already pretty.

And I want to show them that the grass is plenty green right where they’re standing.

Image source

Originally posted 2013-01-10 06:15:59.

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46 Responses to “Greener Grass”

  1. cca.

    this is so true, everyone i know complains about their body. I am going to use your advice, we have all got to stop this, as you say we are already pretty.

    love this Thank you

  2. Jen

    I want to say I am guilty of this, but I am guessing the comments will be riddled with that exact same sentiment today! I have thin, fine, poker-straight hair and long for locks that are full and have some bounce to them. I have had a bigger bust than just about any girl I know since the fifth grade and would love for it to be a tad smaller. I have made peace with many of my features. Moreover, I’ve embraced their uniqueness. I love my freckles. I have even gone out of my way to find a foundation that doesn’t hide them. I have come to appreciate my hourglass figure, and find fashions that flatter it. However, I do still have days where I wish my bust were smaller so I could wear certain tops or not have to remind people that my eyes are “up here”! I suppose all of us have things we would like different. But the question that remains unanswered is, if we got our wish, would it make us happy? I think not.

  3. Anahita

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always wanted to be really thin (although my bone structure probably wouldn’t allow it), and I know a lot of girls who look exactly as I’d like to, and hate that about themselves. It’s pretty hard to be happy about yourself when there’s always someone around you that you want to look like. And the weirdest part is- that someone probably feels the same way too.

  4. Di

    I actually really like my body. (But, that’s another problem– it does not feel OK, except in a blog comment where no one knows me, to say in front of other women that I like my body.)
    My face, on the other hand, I’d trade in a heartbeat.

    • Jocelyn

      “it does not feel OK, except in a blog comment where no one knows me, to say in front of other women that I like my body” – I think that is one of our biggest problems in this society. When did it become wrong for women to be happy with themselves? Women have been told so many times that they’re not worthy; that their bodies are wrong in myriad ways; that if they just changed this feature about themselves, they’d be happier, that it’s become the absolute norm to complain about your body. If I were to say that I really like my body just as it is right now, people (women) would assume that I was lying or that it was a defense mechanism. This also tends to lead others to get defensive about themselves.

    • Cléo

      That makes two of us. I really like my body – it has its flaws, but overall it’s a good body. I feel good in it and I always have past my teenage years. I generally do not feel bad saying this, but… there are just not that many occasions in life calling for discussing your good relation to your body!

      However, I want to add that we should be able to complain about this or that without meaning that we don’t like our bodies. Of course I occasionnally bitch about my short torso, bunions, messy skin or frizzy hair! It’s a good body, but I live with it everyday in real life. It’s not perfect. I still love it.

      • Anne

        It makes me thrilled to hear women who like their bodies.. and you shouldn’t feel any shame in admitting it. I am happy with my body too. At this point the satisfaction comes less from how it actually looks and more from what it has accomplished. I am staring into the face of menopause so I’m also coming to terms with the fact that your body is always in flux. Learn to love it now because I guarantee that it will change. Then learn to love it again.

  5. Bree Bronson

    This one is lovely, Sal!

    I’ve thought about this issue a lot since *I used to like my body*. I wasn’t unhappy with it by any means. Two pregnancies have changed this although I’ve recovered rather well. I’d love to embrace a thought about how the changes in my body have enabled bringing two lovely children in the world and love myself for that. Instead I’m considering plastic surgery and envying women whose bellies are tight after having kids.

    And, this is horrible, I’m somehow bitter that I’ve lost the figure I had although I wouldn’t of course trade my kids for anyhing.

    • Heidi/The Closet Coach

      My story is a version of yours. I used to be critical of my body when I was younger–because I thought I was too skinny (!!). And then I gained weight, and gained some more, and had a baby, and now I sometimes wish that I had *that* body back (or at least her flat stomach). Erasing the body comparison script that runs in our brains–even when we know it’s there–is an ongoing effort and process.

  6. Karen

    Bingo, Sal.
    (I’ve got the rack and the straight, blonde hair – any time you want to come borrow them!)

    I had a friend just stand in front of me yesterday and say “my god, your boobs are fabulous.” And it was a fantastic moment! She’s of the small-boobed persuasion, and she’s been vocal with me about how fantastic she thinks my soft curvyness is. Honestly, to have someone just flat-out *appreciate* what you have (someone who isn’t trying to sexualize it) is a sadly rare and quite amazing feeling.

    I’ll be thinking about my own grass today. Thanks.

  7. Anat

    This may also have to do with a “mindset of plenty” that the modern world is engulfed in. It’s not fine to have just a few cardigans, we want one in every color, and the same goes for all our other sartorial lusts. But when it comes to our own bodies, we just have one of each – one set of boobs, one ass size, one height. We can only be pretty in one way – our own. So maybe even if we’re ok with what we have, we still long to have more options.

    BTW, I am 100% happy with my breasts, height and hair (I used to want thick waves and curls, now love my straight dark hair). Pretty much over all happy with my body too, most of the time. I think one thing I always really wanted was to have light colored eyes (by a strech, mine can be called hazel ;-)).

  8. Nomi

    When I was younger I seriously considered breast reduction surgery for the usual reasons (conspicuousness, back strain, etc.), but I never got around to it. All my boyfriends, and eventually my (now ex-)husband told me they preferred small-breasted women, but they graciously put up with me anyway. I once complained to a male friend about this, and how “everybody knows” that men prefer large breasts, but my personal experience was the opposite, and he told me with a straight face that “studies showed” that more intelligent, better-educated men preferred small breasts on women. I’m not sure I ever recovered from that, though I dumped that friend shortly thereafter. The whole issue of men ruling on the comparative worth of women’s bodies makes me furious.

    • Robin

      Jackasses have a lot of “data” about what “studies” show. That’s awful. I understand your hurt and frustration about this, because I have lived through it. I have had men tell me that “more than a handful is a waste”. My comeback now is that I just had to find a man with bigger hands.

    • Piper Alexander

      It pains me that you wrote that your boyfriends and ex-husband “graciously put up with you”. It seems more likely that you put up w/their jack-assery. Fuck what studies say. Different men like a variety of things, and the person as a whole should be the most important quality. If a man doesn’t like what I have, he can go find something else. I’m done with that shit.

      Sorry for my language.

  9. Gillian

    I came across this quote awhile back:
    “The grass is always greener….where you water it.”
    Thank-you for continually encouraging us to water our own grass!
    I have curly hair, and of course always wanted my best friends long straight hair. I finally decided that curly hair was what I had and I was gong to love it! I now love my curly hair on me, and the straight hair my friend has on her 🙂 More work to go on loving my body, but getting there.

  10. Aziraphale

    Well, your bra fitter has never met me. I genuinely like my body, and that’s not a bluff. I find it easy to dress, although there are definitely styles I can’t pull off. I’ve got the body of a woman half my age, without expending effort to make it so, and for that I am grateful. If I could wave a magic wand? Well, there might be a few things I would change — nobody’s perfect — but I have a suspicion that if I did that, I would actually start to worry about looks MORE. The trouble isn’t that we’re not already pretty. It’s that we worry about it too much.

    It’s good that you do posts like this, Sally, because my 20-year-old self sure could have used it.

  11. Susan

    FWIW, I am well into that stage of life where I have become invisible to the world because I am not young. I am not unhappy about this. I find it liberating.

    Nothing does as much for your hair, your complexion, your figure, or your wardrobe as confidence, and knowing that there really is nothing to lose increases your supply of this precious commodity. I had brief flashes of this insight in my younger years, and I am finally learning to sustain them.

    Long after she stopped performing, Gypsy Rose Lee said something along the lines of “I have everything I ever had, just lower.” Embrace everything you have, no matter what or where or how much it is.

  12. Erika

    Thank you (and all the commenters) so much for this post today. Being negative about our bodies is so ingrained in our culture we’re mean to ourselves and we think it’s OK. But it feels so good to break away from that meanness. Thank you for trying to change things!

  13. Virginia

    Wonderful post. Wonderful comments.Very important topic. I was fairly happy with my breasts — in the medium range, so not too little, not too big. Starting to sag a bit as I neared my 50’s but still looking good with the right bra.

    Then came the phone call after the mammogram. Now my chest is home to one “girl” and one “fooby” (fake booby). But I am proud of my body. It came through 13 months of nasty cancer treatment. It is now healthy and strong, and every day I am grateful that I’m alive. No matter what I look like.

    My grass is just the right shade of green. 🙂

  14. Annie

    I just want to add a note that breast reduction surgery is NOT purely cosmetic and not every woman who wants it — including me — wants it for cosmetic reasons. I actually love having a large-rack, appearance-wise … but I don’t love back strain and muscle spasms. I don’t love the permanent dents that are starting to form in my shoulders from the bra straps. Doesn’t matter how much weight I lose: I never get below an F cup, and for the most part it seems like the boobs are just going to keep getting bigger, heavier and more cumbersome no matter what I do. So I do plan to get this surgery someday, and it doesn’t have squat to do with hating my boobs. I don’t! I just wish they didn’t HURT.

    I totally hear what you are saying about body positivity. I believe and support these goals. But there’s this weird undercurrent to a lot of body-positive talk (not so much yours, Sally, but I’m on the topic) that isn’t positive at all; it’s sort of like, “If you don’t love EVERYTHING about your body, something’s wrong with your head.” I agree that it’s ridiculous to spend your whole life worrying about straight versus curly hair, or the current teenage obsession with “thigh gap,” etc. But it’s not ridiculous to want to be physically fit — you know, it’s good to be strong! It’s good to be healthy, and able to do more fun things! It’s not ridiculous to want to change something about your body that is actually physically painful. There has to be a way to embrace body positivity AND body change. There have to be healthy ways of saying, Hey, I could work with this, that are about what WE want, not what society demands.

    • Viktoria

      I had FF size breasts and was very happy with them, but had a reduction to stop my chronic headache. I´m actually equally happy with my small breasts, and like Gillian said, I have had to water my new lawn and had to make some pretty big adjustments to the way I dress and move. Change is positive if you make it so, being this way or that is no better, no worse. That is my personal experience.

    • Marisa

      Just wanted to chime in to say that I also had a breast reduction and it was so incredibly wonderful. That was six years ago, and I love my body! It’s so much easier to just…. exist with slightly smaller boobs. Before I had the reduction I did some research about satisfaction rates with the procedure (in general, satisfaction is rather low for cosmetic surgery, perhaps because changing one aspect of your face doesn’t change the rest of it or magically make you look like a model). I don’t remember precisely what I found, but it was in the 90 or 95% realm – few women who have a reduction regret it (again, don’t remember the relative rates, but it was MUCH lower for breast enlargement).

      I completely agree with the sentiment you’re expressing here, but also absolutely agree with Annie that breast reduction is a little different from the things you’ve grouped it with.

  15. Julie

    your blog has helped me do exactly what you wanted it to do. while i do not completely and wholeheartedly embrace all parts of my body, i am civil with them, and polite too, careful to never say anything rude, and i have taken the time to learn how to dress myself that is flattering and comfortable and stylish. i get a lot of compliments on my style.
    the funny thing is when i was a young woman, i felt extremely uncomfortable in my body (in the past, i would have done ANYTHING to get back) because i always felt sexualized. i wish i had the confidence to be able to say something back then.
    i almost feel like i have body dysmorphia in a different way than most, in that most days i like how i look, what i see in the mirror, but others don’t see me that way. sometimes i am quite rudely awakened to that by rude comments.
    and i really hate how i look in photos, i think, “is that how they see me, and/or is that how i really look?” the whole beauty is in the eye of the beholder gets slammed when it is filtered through a camera lens.
    this is not a trivial problem for me because my DH is a photographer, and wants to photograph me, but i always HATE the photos he takes of me.
    i even tried hypnosis to help me accept photos of me, but it only worked for awhile. even as a thin young woman, the camera was not my friend, another photographer friend took thousands of photos of me just to try to capture me accurately, and he felt he never could. sigh, i love taking photos and love my DH but we haven’t found a way to solve this dilemma.

  16. Kinsi

    I’m glad to find you. I am so often wildly discouraged by the things I read on so many women’s blogs.

    I am very happy with my body. I don’t think I would change much if anything about it, as I don’t think it’s my place. Sometimes my hair does things I don’t like, or my hips won’t play nice with that pencil skirt, but overall- I like my body very much.

    A big reason that I am satisfied is because one day while I was in high school a guy “friend” once told me that I would be, by far, “the hottest chick [I know] if [you] just had bigger tits.”

    Thank you, dear moron.

    I felt pretty good about every part of myself after that. That’s the day that I appreciated and understood that my breasts were often my protection from very base advances. I had no reason to begrudge them.

  17. Stacy

    I have been thinking about your post. I have been feeling very body conscious for the last few days. I recently went to the doctor for antibiotics. While I was there I was told that I need to lose 15 pounds. Now, I am trying to feel better physically and nurture my body (drinking lots of green tea and eating chicken soup). I told some of my friends about how I need to lose weight. I was told to look on the bright side, that I can lose weight while I am sick. I was very blunt about how I am not going to try and lose weight until I feel more like my energetic self. This is not how I want to lose weight. I am recovering from being ill. I find myself dwelling on the advice of the doctor because he is a medical expert. How do you love your body when someone who is an expert tells you to change your body?

    • Sal

      Good question, Stacy. It’s tough to know how to feel and what to do when an authority figure like your doctor advises weight loss. In my opinion, how you handle such advice is incredibly personal. Many doctors base such advice on BMI charts, which are quite simply bad tools for gauging the health of an individual person. (BMI was created to chart health within populations.) Unless your doctor had a specific reason that directly relates to your own health history, she/he was probably just reacting to a number, and you can remind yourself of that and act accordingly. Do YOU think you’d feel better if you lost weight? Why? Why not? If your doctor hadn’t said anything, would you even be thinking about it? It’s your choice, not your doctor’s. Weight alone is not an indicator of health, and unless you were presented with a specific, personal reason to lose those 15 pounds that makes sense to you, I’d take it as a suggestion instead of a mandate.

      And, again in my opinion, you’re absolutely right to get well before making any decisions! If you feel like crap, now is not the time to worry about your weight, now is the time to worry about healing yourself.

      Hope that helps. I’m sure others have opinions to share too, right folks?

      • Piper Alexander

        My opinion is to find a new doctor. You went for antibiotics for an infection and they prescribed weight loss? How is weight loss going to cure your BACTERIAL infection?!

  18. Susan

    Aha! This is one thing I am not guilty of. Even though my body and other attributes are far from perfect/ideal/what others see as just right, I’ve never wanted what others have. I can say that even though I know I am hippy, don’t look very distinctive, etc. I can admire what others have in their attributes, but I’m fairly satisfied. That does not mean that I don’t realize I need to lose weight, but that is something in my own control.

    At the same time, I think you are doing good work here. I just wanted you to know that not ALL women are dissatisfied with their bodies.

  19. Heidi/The Closet Coach

    Spot on as usual, Sal. I attempted to write something similar last year, but you have gone into the topic in more depth than I did. (My take is here:

    The frustrating thing for me is that even as I know all of this, I still get caught in the trap of focusing on what could be different or better rather than appreciating where I am and what I have right now.

    I love the comments above from the women who are glad with the bodies they have!

  20. Anonymous

    The picture comment is telling. It took me a year to get used to how I look in photos – taking an almost daily pic for my blog was a fantastic exercise. Watching yourself on video can be equally painful/enlightening. My other comment is that time, meaning years, will make a difference in your attitudes about your body. Now that I can afford a breast reduction I have my doubts about it. My waist has thickened and I wonder if I would “look” pear-shaped. My generous bust balances my figure – though I hear you about the shoulder pain, etc. I do regular back and shoulder exercises for this reason.

    A lot of what makes us dislike our body is imposed on us; unwanted and inappropriately. Fit and Feminist just posted a fantastic essay about whether women ‘appreciate” a wolf-whistle. I don’t get comments any more, and what a relief, but know I would probably just say, “Bite me”, and walk on.

  21. shebolt

    Just like Di, I’m happy with what I have and am afraid to ever admit to it. I’ve had to work a little to get to where I am.

    My hair is straight and fine, which irked me to no end when I was in high school but now I realize it’s perfect for my face and features. Fuller, wavy hair would just overwhelm me. My shade is a medium brown. I used to wish I was a red head. I have the freckles and green eyes, so why couldn’t I have the red hair, too? I got over that, and if I feel like going red all I need to do is color it.

    My breasts are smallish. I used to wish I had bigger breasts until I hung out with a friend who did. She’s a smart, accomplished women but men would talk to her boobs. Not cool. Plus, she went through a lot trying to restrain them so she could run without pain.

    I used to wish I wasn’t so pale. Now I like my day-glow pale skin, and guard it carefully.

    The only thing about my appearance that I’m still learning to accept is my height. I’m 5’7″, and sometimes wish I was taller. My sister is 6’0″ and sometimes I feel like I got cheated in the genetic shuffle.

    Well, to be truthful, I wish I was beautiful. I’ve been learning to accept my face and not think “omg I’m ugly” every time I look at my reflection. I’m told I’m attractive, but I just don’t see it. Most of the time I’m ok with it, but every once in a while I truly hate my face. I finally admitted this to my husband recently, and he looked at me like I was insane.

  22. Stephanie

    I come and go on this one. I’ve been 5ft 9 since the 7th grade and used to long to be little and cute but I’m mostly at one with my height/size now days. Certainly having and wearing clothes that make me feel good helps. Same with the girls I lost a lot of weight (bc I wanted to) and am still a D cup just a smaller band. Part of me thinks it would be nice to have small perky boobs but finding a bra that I really like and excepting that I must pay for a good bra has helped. Simply put I like the twins a lot better when they are hoisted back up to wear the good lord put them to begin with.

    I also often admire things on others without wanting them for myself like beautiful curly hair, bright blue eyes, delicate features and so on but I try very hard to do that without wishing I could have the feature.

  23. Robin

    I just wanted to add as a large-busted woman (36DDD), that many large-busted women wish for smaller breasts because of the chronic pain we suffer because of them. It is a body-image issue that is tied to very real pain, not just wishing to look different. However, with our society’s completely demented ideas about how women’s bodies “should” look, having huge boobs has been nothing but a terrible burden emotionally as well as physically. I have had to work really hard to make peace with my breasts, but I would still love to be free of the physical pain and ginormous granny bras.

  24. KimM.

    Just wanted to chime in on this topic. Most days I like my body although I’d still like to lose a few pounds and tone up. But I’m healthy overall. My story is that my breasts “blossomed overnight” when I was about 12 years old. I was the only girl in my school with teen-age girl size breasts (B or C cup). By the time I graduated from high school they were a D. I got made fun of, jeered at and sexualized all through school. It wasn’t fun at all and made me very insecure. Over the years and some weight gain they became a very saggy G cup. I had chronic migraines, backaches, shoulder grooves, etc. Two years ago I decided to have a reduction after 2 of my friends had positive experiences with the same. I had a fantastic surgeon and wonderful results! I told him I’d like to go down to a B or C and he replied that he would not guarantee a particular cup size but that he’d make them perky and perfect for the body frame I have. I now wear a 34D but they really feel like a small C. I LOVE THEM! Finally I don’t have to pay a fortune for a good bra or not even be able to find one. Clothes fit much better and I just feel great about myself. No more headaches, backaches, etc. My wonderful fiancé met me 3 months before my surgery so he knew the old ones. He was very supportive of my decision and so helpful after surgery too. He was a little afraid to touch them afterward though. LOL. It is a very personal decision but I have never regretted it. BTW, I’m a nurse and every female patient I’ve ever met who had reduction surgery in the past was happy with their choice and had no regrets. THANK YOU SALLY for all you do to promote healthy body image!

  25. Annette

    I feel pretty good about myself/body now. Not so when I was younger. Partly by comments from family and friends and how they saw me. Partly by how I interpreted those comments and my own view. And partly by what fashion experts said was the way to dress (standards of sorts) and/or what to cover-up/change to be “prettier”.
    Now that I have accepted my body the way it is I feel better about myself. It is an on-going process to find clothes that I like and fits me and not to accept what is being touted in fashion magazines. All that said, it is hard not to listen to all the talk and to filter out the good information from the bad

  26. vampfan30

    It’s entries like this that seem to have a double edged sword effect with me. I am 36 years old & 4ft 10 inches tall – I stopped growing almost immediately after puberty & look like it. I have no curves at all & am nearly chestless, barely a 32b. Getting taken seriously as both a woman & a mother ( of a rather tall & shapely13 year old ) is nigh impossible, even with those that know me well.

    Finding clothes is ridiculous – I shop in the teen’s department, which bothers me roughly 75% of the time, maybe more, depends on when you catch me. Everything is too long, too hippy, too much room in the chest…it can be quite the ego killer.

    I have arthritis – diagnosed at the ripe old age of 19. Knowing that I will most likely need joint replacements before my 50’s is yet another thing to deal with.

    Hearing that I should find something of value about my body to love is so hard, I can’t even begin to tell you….but keep chipping away, one of these days, I actually might find that one thing.

    • eveange66

      I could not but answer you as a fellow petite. I might even be smaller that you are but hey I am french.
      But even in France being THAT petite is a hard work.
      I am sure you already the many petite blog that nowadays developed on the web and they helped me a lot to better feel at ease with my own height. Such blogs do not exist in France (and merely in Europe though).
      As finding clothes that fit, I say altering tailoring altering tailoring …. Best way to go ever.
      I etend to stay clear from children clothes because they obviously are not cut for a woman’s body, especially as I have curves but am although quite thin. But I do shop sometimes within the Haute Couture children range like Chloe or Burberry or Sonia Rykyel or such. But I usualy shop “regular” clothes that I alter not petite or tall ranges in France).
      And do not say you are chestless: I do not know what are the definition of a “chest” for the US women but in my opinion being a B cup does not mean nothing. I am a B cup and I can say I definitely have shape. Do not undervaluate yourself on this!
      No my only “issue” with my body is really my height, for practical and ecomomics matter: not so easy to reach the top shelves and grab something and not so easy to find clothes AND shoes that really fit.
      Otherwise I like my body, I am lucky that I am very fit (as a previous ballet dancer I kept my figure all through the years with some easy exercice).
      I know some women do envy me but to each its own so the most important is that, for the time being, I do not have any major health issues so what about the rest?

  27. Cass

    Sometimes I feel like I must be from Mars or something, because I’ve never disliked my own body. Okay, when I was sixteen I wanted bigger boobs, but then I grew out of it (my boobs did not). Since then I’ve always rather liked the way I looked and loved my body not really so much for its appearance but for all the things it can do, even though I’ve had my share of relatives, acquaintances, “friends”, and complete randos who apparently did not agree. I realize I am incredibly privileged to be able to say that. And even though I know that not everyone is in the same place, sometimes when I’m surrounded by people snarking about their own, other people’s, or my body I just want to wave my arms in the air and shout something ridiculous, because that’s how it all seems to me–so darn ridiculous!

  28. Shaye

    While there are things about my body I’d change if I could, for the most art I am really happy with it. It’s funny that this acceptance and pride has come after gaining 70 pounds since high school, but I think what that’s taught me is to appreciate what I have while I have it. And I have some great stuff! I like the size of my breasts, I love my curly hair (though I do sometimes treat it as if it had a mind of is own, and I admit my satisfaction with it increased after losing a ton of hair as the result of medication), I L-O-V-E my curves. In fact, almost all of the things I don’t like about my body are in regard to things I can(not) DO with it, rather than what it looks like.

  29. Ellie

    After many years of my father’s so called “goodnatured” comments re: my health and figure I am finally dealing with the effects his comments have on my self worth. The saddest part comes when my mother at 61 years old looks to him before she accepts and eats any sweets (cake etc). I can’t help but feel terribly sad that whilst my father has successfully made me feel worthless at times my poor mother has been well and truly brainwashed into his beliefs. And that’s her life- she has to live with him! As for me- a slow process, but my loving husband keeps reminding me how special I am- oh and calling me by the nickname “sexy” doesn’t hurt! I am loved and am learning to love myself. Thanks Sally for highlighting this issue again! 🙂

  30. Maggie

    I was never much for joining in to conversations about disliking any parts of my body and once I had daughters, any such conversation is not going to happen in their home! One of them has been a bit concerned that she was getting chubby and we had a talk last night after she mentioned that the only images she ever sees that would lead her to think that are models in magazines and we talked about that and watched the new TED video by Cameron Russell, a model.
    The social acceptability of body positive talk can only change if people talk that way. It is a start to stop body-negative talk. But body positive talk is different. We can say we love our shoes, but not our legs.