Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Love your Curves and Be Nice

Anastasia, who writes ChaosNoir, recently posted an article cleverly called The Sinisterhood wherein she describes with heartbreaking clarity some of the ways that your best girlfriends don't always want the best for you.

I've never really trusted this idea of "sisterhood." Connecting with another human being and sharing a familiarity and comfort based on intimacy and trust makes sense to me but to expect that someone will relate to you within certain understood parameters based purely on gender seems to me naive and risky.

I was very moved by Anastasia's post while reading about her own experiences in the maternity ward with competitive birthing (soon to be an Olympic event) and I've been thinking of the ways that my own girlfriends over the years have exhibited their sinister side all in the same of sisterhood.

There was the time that a friend and I went to a party together and at the end of the night my friend announced that she "wanted" the guy that had been flirting with me all night so to be fair I shouldn't go out with him. Never mind that she and this guy hadn't even exchanged one word. When I refused she told me that I couldn't be trusted because I didn't honor our sisterhood. Sheesh. Some friend. I thought she was psycho.

But the things that really get to me are when my "sisters" tear each other apart about their body issues. "Have you seen how much weight she's gained?" "I can't believe she's wearing that skirt. I guess she doesn't care if people see her legs." "You know, you could have that removed."

In the name of being supportive we "sisters" create an atmosphere of shame about our bodies. So why would we do this? My theory is that it's competitive behavior. Competing for what? It looks to me like we are still on the playground competing for popularity. Some people just need to ruin someone else's self-esteem in order to feel good about themselves.

I feel the same way about being congratulated for "looking thin." You know what I mean, it's when someone asks if you've lost weight and then adds, "well good for you!" Excuse me but losing weight isn't like earning your Ph.D, or lifting a car off a toddler. As Joy Nash said in her Fat Rant "it's just fat. Get a life."

I think the greatest gift you can give to the world is to have fun. I don't mean just pursue fun...I mean go out and get it. There is enough suffering in the world without you adding to the miasma whining about your thick ankles. You have really cute ankles. Trust me you do. Your butt? There are plenty of butt and thigh men in the world. Take that butt out dancing. Do not wait until you are thinner. Go now.

Have it all, right now.

And while you are it please be nice to the other girls. No matter how thin, or blond, or accomplished they might be...they are just as nervous about being pretty and being liked as you are. Be the one who builds up self-esteem in others and yours will go up too.


*Rae* said...

I really enjoyed this post I just had to comment..Sorry for it being so long its becaause of reasons like this that I have a hard time being friends with women..I joined a BBW group here in my hometown every other weekend tons of bbws and bhm would show up and just meet and chat dance and have fun now mind you the purpose of this was suppose to be size acceptance and with half the women I talked to or heard things from in passing all a majority of them did was back stab one another like it was no big deal but face to face it was another story..Its bad enough that we have to defend ourselves against ignorace in society we also have to defend ourself against people who are suppose to be accepting us

Corinna Makris said...

Dear r,

Thank you so much for posting your comment. Please take some time to visit the links on my site in the Resources category. From my own personal experience I know you will find a very friendly group at both NAAFA and the BBW Network.

I look forward to hearing from you again.


Anonymous said...

one of the things that I didn't add, and it's something that you mention here that relates to body image, were times where that would crop up. one time I had a male friend of mine who was quite attractive, and he happened to be seeing a female then friend of mine (on the side mind you, that part is too long a story), but she'd be upset if he mentioned me in conversation at any time, not that he wanted a relationship with me, but I'd crop up because I'd be studying, looking after my son, and still take time to do other things, anyway, she turned one day and started telling me that he preferred 'petite' thin women,and would drive the point home. I distanced myself from her in the end because I didn't want to return to that type of thing. For seven years I lived with a foster parent, female, who would always put me down about my body,and pick on everything from how I looked to what I ate (and because she'd be cruel about it, I'd eat more - I'm a bona fide emotional eater).

A recent conversation I had at work, where I expressed doubt about dating (after dating too many males who were obsessed with their public image and/or paranoid about what they thought others saw), resulted in a female co-worker telling me that it was a perceptual thing, how a woman thinks about herself. She said to me, 'you see skinny guys with big girls, skinny girls with plump men, and it just doesn't matter, what matters is how a person sees themselves.'

and i have to remind myself of that over and over, because wherever I look (especially in magazines) they keep on trying to push the anorexic look. Recently we had Australian Fashion week here and there was more controversey about the skinny models they used for 2007. They looked emaciated, and it's the same thing all the time, designers saying they don't intend to do that (just so they can save a few dollars on fabric? they aren't that creative to me if they limit fashion on dress size anyway)...i'm ranting. lol

Sheena said...

An extraordinarily well-written and thought-provoking post. I think I've found a gem of a blog here and will be back to read more!

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