In this post, I am returning to a topic that came up in my very first blog post – body image.
Because not long after I posted the blog entry, a woman (or a betrayal of the word) started harassing me with taunts about my weight and jeered at the very idea of me going to the gym. My body is what it is. I wear a size 14 (although there are two dresses that are a size 16 in my wardrobe that I bought when the size 14 in the style was too small in the bust area).
So, what’s so laughable about a size 14 woman using a gym?
Is it because I go to the gym but remain a size 14?
*cue my trademark sarcasm* How awful that I don’t feel the need to vanish away into those old size 8 dresses I wore in my twenties…
Am I overweight? Sure – according to the BMI chart (we all know that’s a nonsense anyhow) and this one nasty individual.
Do I care?
What do you think?
Fat shaming exists. Thin shaming exists, too. I’ve experienced both during my lifetime. The female body is always up for review. But there is something about women shaming other women’s bodies that will always make me uncomfortable. Women should be supporting other women – we should be celebrating our differences and our individuality – instead of trying to destroy them.
For most of us, it’s really hard to understand how women can become the greatest adversaries of other women. I can only think of three reasons (and none of them are valid excuses):
- They project their own unwanted parts on to other women – especially their envy, jealousy and resentment.
- Because they can get away with it – it’s a form of entertainment for them when they’re bored or unsatisfied with their own lot.
- They lack the inter and intrapersonal skills to recognise or alter their behaviour.
Nasty women exist – women who are ruled by a narcissistic and manipulative quest for control, with no care or concern for the damage they can cause to other people.
Women don’t need other women trying to dismantle them – the truth is, most of us are our own worst critics. Like many women, I’ve had a long personal journey in accepting my body. Many years ago, this hateful person would have caused me great upset. A younger version of myself would have started skipping meals. She’d have spent three hours in the gym instead of one. She’d have cried and avoided going out with friends because she was worried that she looked fat in the tenth dress she’d tried on. But I’m not that girl anymore; so, the hatred and the envy that’s being dished out might cause a little shock but it has no power over me. Why? Because I am always being pro-active in maintaining and improving my own body image, especially through the clothes that I wear.
I’m going to share a few of those ways with you. It might involve a little sewing but if you weren’t willing to consider that possibility you probably wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.
- Accept yourself
The thing is, if we don’t accept who we are right now, it’s going to be bloody hard to make changes. If we didn’t care about ourselves today, why would we invest in our tomorrow? Love what you’ve got and work what you’ve been given!
- Understand your own body and tailor your clothes
Learn your measurements. Why would you not want to wear clothes that are made for your specific measurements? Clothes that are made for YOU – no matter what size or shape your body is – will make you feel better about your body. We’ve all been there – ready to wear clothes aren’t always that comfortable – remember that button on the blouse that threatened to pop open, that sleeve that was a little too tight, the skirt that hugged your hips but was way too roomy at the waist? These ready to wear clothes were made to fit a model, not you. Just a specific person with specific measurements that some faceless company decided was ‘standard’ and then graded the sizes accordingly. That ‘standard’ is a myth. If you have different measurements or are shaped differently to that model, you’ll need to alter those clothes.
- Sew your own clothes
Invest in clothes that fit, and I don’t mean that you should spend an absolute fortune on bespoke clothing (although, if you’ve got that amount of money at your disposal, fire on). What I mean is invest your time and your effort in learning a skill – sewing – that will empower you to treat your body with the fit of clothes it deserves. Basic sewing skills will help you alter those ready to wear clothes in your wardrobe that don’t fit just right but, moreover, you’ll be able to make clothes intended to be worn just by you.
- Invest in good fitting bras
Good lingerie will make all your clothes fit better. A bra should fit your body right and give you support, helping you to stand straighter and feel much more confident. I get it – bra shopping *is* a battle, for the same reason buying any ready to wear item of clothing is a battle. I’ve at least 4 different sizes of bras in my collection because standardisation doesn’t exist! Once I up my sewing skills a few levels, I’ll give it a go to make them myself. For now, however, I take a lot of time ensuring the lingerie I buy is the right fit for me.
- Be bold – stand out
That idea that black is slimming – forget it. People are a little afraid of colour and I understand it: black used to be my comfort zone, my invisibility cloak. I was afraid to stand out too much but now I embrace it. The simple act of wearing colour is empowering (although, sometimes a sexy Gothic-inspired dress can make me feel like the Queen of the Night). It changes your mood and the way you see and feel about yourself. My wardrobe is now bursting with colour.
These basic things all feed into my self-acceptance so if people want to try dragging me down, they’ll have to try something other than attacking my body.
Remember, self-love is the greatest middle finger of all time!