Body image discussions and rhetoric can get heavy, and sometimes it feels good to move your thoughts to a slightly less weighty space like Pinterest. But the pendulum can swing too far and you end up with loads of seemingly body positive pins that are actually just fueling the blame game or pitting women against each other. I can say honestly that I have no idea who eden r is or how I connected with her over Pinterest, but she not only pins thoughtful articles, inspiring quotes, and amazing images, she often offers extensive commentary on her body image-related pins. And her commentary is astute, incisive, and thought-provoking. She will pin the same image or graphic as dozens of other folks I follow, but introduce a new perspective or valid criticism when she does. Her feminisms board is where I go when I’m feeling the fire in my belly begin to die down, and I’ve absolutely raided her body board for my own body positive board. She is taking body-positive pinning to a whole new level.
Posts Tagged: self-esteem
A few weeks ago, my dear friend and mentor Jen Larsen‘s memoir came out. It’s called Stranger Here, and in it she recounts how she underwent weight loss surgery and lost 180 pounds. Here’s the book description from Amazon:
Jen Larsen always thought that if she could only lose some weight, she would be unstoppable. She was convinced that once she found a way to not be fat any more, she would have the perfect existence she’d always dreamed of. When diet after diet failed, she decided to try bariatric surgery, and it worked better than she ever could have dreamed: she lost 180 pounds. As the weight fell away, though, Larsen realized that getting skinny was not the magical cure she thought it would be—and suddenly, she wasn’t sure who she was anymore.
The first time someone assumed that I was pregnant, I was in high school. I was at my after-school job and had gone next door to get dinner at the Chinese restaurant. The owner asked me something akin to, “When are you due?” When you’re in high school, constantly confused and mortified by your body, and self-conscious about being fat, this is the last thing you want to hear.
That was about 13 years ago. Since then, I’ve had some memorable experiences:
- The drunk one-night stand of my fiance’s best friend slurring, “Are you pregnant?” and when hearing my “no” response, saying, “Oh, then you must have a tubby tummy.” (At this point, I was a size 10-12.)
- The host at a local restaurant going, “Table for 3?” with a wink and nudge attitude. The fiance stiffened up, and growled, “No, table for 2.” The host responded with, “Oh, I know I just…” before being cut off with a “No, just a table for 2.” He quickly got the hint.
- Standing in line with my best friend at Joann’s. An elderly woman in front of me goes, “Oh, when are you due honey?” I politely shake my head and say, “I’m not… I’m just fat.” She grows embarrassed at this point and a bit indignant, “Oh, I’m sorry… well, you can understand my confusion….” “It’s okay. It happens a lot.” “Well, can you tell me what you eat so I don’t end up that way?” As I sit in stunned for a moment I answered with “I really love pizza and cupcakes.” With relief she laughed and said, “Oh good, I never eat those things anyhow.” Meanwhile, my normally fierce best friend has become a shrinking violet in the corner.
- A number of individual cases where a man (or woman) goes “Oh, when are you due?!” When I politely inform them I’m not, they’re mortified– because they or their partner has gone through that, had those questions, and they know how hurtful it is. “I can’t believe I just said that. I know better than that.”
These comments have come regardless of my size: I can be a size 10/12 or an 18/20, but because my stomach is always just a bit soft, people will assume I’m pregnant. Pregnancy is something our culture embraces and celebrates (most of the time– 16 and Pregnant, I’m NOT looking at you). Being fat is not celebrated.