Earlier today I read an article published about Beyonce’ blazing trails for women everywhere by appearing on the cover of Time magazine. Even though Time Magazine recognizes her efforts, they still put her on the cover in a two piece swimsuit.
In a twist, Olivia Munn in another article said she would not trade in her character’s sexy outfits because she wanted to people to notice said character’s brain.
Both women were applauded for feminist efforts, however the latter was applauded for keeping it sexy. Why?
This is what frustrates me as a woman. Why is it alright for one woman to be sexy and one woman to not be? Is this the reason why some women think it is acceptable to be objectified?
In my own experience, I have been on both sides of the coin. Overweight and appreciated for my mental gymnastics and humor. On the other side, skinny, sometimes physically fit and eyed as someone who could be molded into an ideal in someone else’s brain; a veritable human canvas.
When I was overweight, there was a lot of pressure on aesthetics. I noticed skinny people more. I noticed how nothing cute was in larger sizes. Everything was skewed to say, YOU ARE NOT DESIRABLE OR NORMAL. Sure, women appreciated my advice and what I had to say, however people didn’t really take notice of me until my appearance changed. Men listened to what I had to say more while my former female comrades gave me the stink eye.
It took me a while to figure out why the ladies leered at me while I gave them quizzical looks to say, “What?” I literally had no clue.
Now I am more aware and more cognizant. The more I think back on the time people knew me during my physical transformation phase, the more frustrated and angry I get. Why did it take me slimming down for men to take note of my brains? Why did the women I once admired and talked to during their lunch breaks no longer talk to me in the same regard?
When I dated someone during this time, it became apparent it was important to him I dressed a certain way. I drew a line and this is where the break down with him and the realizations about women and body image came for me.
He felt there was no shame in putting the hard work I went through on display. I had to explain to him, what feeling like a piece of raw steak felt like. Not to mention it would be disrespectful for me to ask the same of him. He wanted bragging rights, a chance to put me on a pedestal and parade me around in front of other men. I’ve never been one for this kind of behavior. By prancing around in short cut off shorts with each cheek hanging out the side, I knew not only how cold I would be, but I would constantly have to have my back toward the door so no one could see my posterior. I had the foresight to know no one would want to hear what I had to say, male or female. I wouldn’t listen to me wearing those shorts.
I am still uncomfortable in my body even having kept off the 40 pounds I lost 3 years ago. There are dimples, there are rolls, there is cellulite for the life of me I can not figure why it’s in the same spot it was when I was a baby. Even if I had a rear like a Victoria Secret model, I STILL wouldn’t ask people to listen to me while I walked around like a duck so everyone could see my backside.
How you dress is a message you send out to the world. When you dress yourself, people know how to appropriately listen to you. I’m not saying a woman can’t wear what she wants. It is all in what she feels comfortable with. However, if you are a woman touting feminist ideals, for the rest of us gals who have insecurities instilled in our minds, maybe put a robe on, or something. For the love of God put a robe on. That is all we ask, just so we know your thoughts are appreciated for once before your body. It is nice for women of ALL sizes to have that peace of mind.
Time Life Magazine, if you are not going to portray one of my favorite women as a feminist, then by all means…allow her to be a feminist through her curves. No more 14 year old thigh gap, no more unrealistic proportions, if she is going to be celebrated in a two piece, at least let her do it in her real skin; flaws and all. This way for us ladies who are paying attention, we can tell our daughters, nieces, friends, the words Lorde famously uttered, “Flaws are ok.”