Real Women, Real Bodies, Part 2

In case you missed the discussion on Facebook, my 7 year old daughter came home from school one day bragging to her dad that she now only weighed 44 lbs. instead of 50. I was astonished. She is super skinny. I have to buy jeans with an adjustable waist for her, because if I buy the proper waist size, they are too short, even though she is one of the shortest people in her class. He asked her why she was so proud of that, and she said it was because she was chubby. His jaw dropped, and he asked her where she thought she was chubby. She looked at him like he was dumb, and just waved her hand up and down her body, indicating that she thought she was chubby all over. 
Later that night, I was pondering how she could possibly think she was fat. Then I came across something online mentioning that people were saying that Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss, in The Hunger Games) was fat. Ummmm….. WHAT? I posted this picture of her on my Facebook wall, and asked for opinions. The general consensus was that if she was fat, than we should all strive to be fat, apparently, because fat is gorgeous. In other words, the media is screwed up, and if anyone has so much as a curve, they are automatically labeled as plus size or fat.
The problem I have with this is that it teaches us that we aren’t beautiful no matter what our shape and size. The most beautiful thing is a healthy, confident woman, but unfortunately, society has us believing that we have to be perfect to be beautiful. Which, in turn, causes us to over analyze every little thing about ourselves, and a little molehill of a problem will seem like a mountain in our own eyes. 
But hopefully, through doing this series of posts, women will learn that they are making much more of a big deal about what they think are mountains, than they should be. Here are a series of pictures that were sent in to me, along with some of the stories behind them:

“Belly scars from surgery.”

 “Scars in my armpit from pimples.”

 “Stupid five pounds I can’t lose unless I eat a super strict diet and run three days a week, I gave up the fight and have embraced my little belly : )”

 I only post pics of my son anywhere, because he is the most beautiful child. Yet, I have a huge hairy birthmark on my right cheek. I have always hated it. I resent my parents for not having it removed when I was a child. I was teased about it. I can’t believe I am sharing it. I am a real women, and this is really my body.” 

 “I took this picture last weekend, and think it makes my curves look fabulous.”

 “I’m 5’7″ and a size 24.”

 I got called Kelly-Belly when I was a kid, and I hated it, even though my belly probably wasn’t anything to be embarrassed about. You can just barely see the lines from the rolls that have shaped her since I was 8 or so. People often compliment me on my good posture when I’m sitting, but few know that my posture got so good because if I slouched, my rolls stuck out. I still have the posture, but my belly confidence is also much better these days. I like my waist, and I even have some little oblique muscles poking out from lots of exercises and yoga.  You can’t see the rest of her muscles, but that’s ’cause me and Belly love rich, quality food.  She’s strong, and she puts up with all manner of abuse- stress,nerves, cheese, vodka, fried food, whisky, Ab Ripper X, a piercing. And she does it graciously. Hopefully one day she’ll be a cozy home for some babies too :)”

“The ONE thing I truly hate about myself.”

“I want flat abs again!!!
I’ve had 2 kids and lost close to 40 lbs. My kids are 6 1/2 years and 4 1/2 years old. Before I got back into working out I went through depression and the anti depressant medications made me gain weight….which in turn made me more depressed. It was a viscous cycle that I broke by getting off the meds, and learning to take time for ME. I work very hard to stay in shape, and its also my sanity saver. I was quite athletic before kids, and I lost that along the way somewhere. I have found my happy place again, and I’m working on learning to be happy with my post-kids body.”

I was very surprised, when the pictures started coming in, and there was such a wide array of body types. But it just furthers my point about how no matter how perfect you can seem to someone else, you always find the flaws in yourself, and make them out to be a bigger issue than they really are. There are people looking at these pictures right now, wishing they could look like that. Yet most of the women that sent in these pictures are not happy with they way they look at all. Personally, just like in the first Real Women, Real Bodies, I’m looking at these pictures wondering to myself why these things in these pictures are so bad that these women are self conscious about them. I’m 5 feet tall, weigh 136 lbs (which is 9 lbs overweight, according to any BMI calculator), I have belly flab, stretch marks, armpit pimples, surgery scars, my arms are a little flabby, and I have enough curves for three women. But what the hell am I going to do about it? Nothing. I’m going to live with it, and know that each of those things are a part of me, and that I don’t care about 9 lbs enough to forgo my favorite foods long enough to lose it. My husband loves my body, but more importantly, I’m starting to. And you should to. Sure, surgery and fancy diets can change things, but why would you change you, just because you are trying to live up to the standards that society set? Why not set your own standards…. and if enough of us do it, maybe Real Women, with Real Bodies will become the standard.

If you would like to be included in the next ‘Real Women, Real Bodies’ post, please send a pic to mrsheatherreese@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Real Women, Real Bodies’.  I can crop the image and make it black and white for you, if you need me to.  Also, if you have any identifying mark, such as a tattoo that you would like removed and can’t get a camera angle without it in there, I can block that out. It can be on ANY body part.  I will do the editing to make it blog-friendly if you want it included.  If you prefer a short story to be included with yours, I can do that too.  So, send me pictures of your mountains.  Your picture could change the way other women look at their bodies.


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