years of some deliberation, I’ve decided it’s pretty much impossible to “be” a girl.
I can start off by talking about the sexual double standard (thank you, sociology prof): the idea that the same action is perceived by the general public completely differently depending on if it was executed by a male or by a female. A guy sleeps around with a lot of girls, his friends applaud. A girl does that, and other girls think she’s disgusting; everyone is well versed in this example. The constant complaint of amateur feminism revolves around the idea of the “slut.”
A girl can be a slut, and not only will guys get with her, but they’ll get with her because of it. They won’t love her and they won’t want to date her. But she’s a dime, right? A guy can be a slut, and girls will be both a-ware and war-y of it. But will they still get with him? Probably. If a man whore wanted to take a girl out, would she hesitate to say yes? No. But let’s be real here: would a guy ask a slut out if he knows she’ll be an easy bang in the first place? Never.
The unrealistic expectations don’t end here. The next topic I’d like to elaborate on is my personal favorite: fashion. We’re supposed to dress “trendy.” And right now, trendy looks a lot like all black, vintage t-shirts, ghetto-fab, rocker-chick-ish, but also polished, put together, and expensive. Naturally, I would take this advice and walk around in ripped boyfriend jeans and a small t-shirt with my black high top Converse 24/7. And, naturally, I do. But most of the time I lack the element of “hot.” It takes one helluva effort to find the perfect mix of Kurt Cobain circa 1992–though most girls who strive for “trendy” have no idea that the MTV Unplugged in New York album even exists–and maybe, like, Kendall Jenner or something. We’ve gotta dress like a tomboy, but in crop tops and skinny jeans. Um, what?
We could never forget the bod. We can’t be too skinny, because then guys won’t like us. But we have to be fit; toned. We have to have some curves in some places–the right places–but not too many. We also have to love food, because we all are striving to be Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story when she chooses the Big Mac over the rice cake. Besides, Chad Michael Murray likes a girl with a hearty appetite. But then this happens…
…and we all are, like, well, sorry not sorry you’re always too busy talking to the girls who eat the rice cakes.
Do you see our dilemma now? If we eat whatever we want but don’t look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, then it’s gross. But if we eat whatever we want and still look like Lindsay Lohan pre-rehab, then we’re in the clear.
In the end, it’s all about making it seem like we care and we also don’t care at all. I probably look like I was dressed by a blind person four out of seven days a week. But guess what? I spent forty minutes picking out that outfit in my hot pink fuzzy robe. #Appreciate. It relates to the fact that we ignore your texts for an hour but, to no surprise, were staring at your little “typing” bubble the entire time. Do ya notice the pattern yet?
The fact that perfection consists of so many things makes perfection itself impossible. If perfection wants to really exist, then it should just be one thing that you can hold, or pet, or grab, or something, and when you have it you know exactly what it is and how it feels and what it looks like and then you can just be happy.
I could be wrong. Maybe instead, perfection should change for us. In reality, HA HA. Unfortunately, we know that perfection can never change. There will always be an idea of what we have to do, what we should look like, and who we have to be that exists in girl world. But since it’s so unattainable, then why the hell am I wasting time trying to convince myself to wear normal jeans?
I’ve never watched a full episode of The Biggest Loser. I only have one friend who’s really into it (though I don’t believe she even watched this season), and the only other person I know who liked it was my grandma (who is now deceased). Regardless, it seems like a pretty inspirational show. People change their lives for the better, have happily ever afters, etc. etc. etc. The concept is really great. But in a society where we teeter back and forth between being too thin and too fat, does The Biggest Loser prompt people to feel like… big losers?
Rachel Frederickson was just crowned this season’s winner, dropping from 260 to 105 pounds. Before I read the first of many articles I would eventually read about her, I saw her “after” photo. She looked good–toned, fit, thin. I assumed she was in her early-mid 30s. It turns out that Rachel’s only 24. That was the first unsettling fact to me.
Then, I learned that she now weighs only 105 pounds. Then, I learned that Rachel is 5’4”. I’m 5’4”. I’m not nearly 105 pounds. Yes, bodies come in every shape and size, and weight is just a number. Body fat is proportioned differently depending on the person, and no one should feel the need to conform to a number on an outdated BMI index. But there is an undeniable fact that everyone is aware of, and it is that being 105 pounds and 5’4” usually means you’re too thin.
Obviously, controversy sparked from every corner of the body-centric world. Two very valid arguments arise: the first, that The Biggest Loser is a weight loss show and Rachel accomplished (very well) exactly what she went on the show to do. This side argues Rachel shouldn’t be penalized and she didn’t take things too far. The second argument pleads the opposite: that Rachel clearly has a problem; one drilled into her head by a show that monitors contestants as if it was the NSA for fat people.
Those of you who blame The Biggest Loser for turning an obese young woman into a petite someone who other women will envy–you are wrong. You cannot blame a television production based on helping unhealthy people lead healthy lifestyles for a contestant’s weight loss. At the same time, you can’t say that Rachel’s weight loss is okay just because you “wouldn’t call her skeletal,” as Betches Love This likes to put it. “Have you ever seen an actual anorexic person or like, a Holocaust survivor?” The “Betches” continue, “That is fucking skeletal.” They also say that Rachel “is the size of a mother of three who spends a lot of time at Soul Cycle or like, Kate Middleton,” and therefore we shouldn’t be concerned.
No, no, no, no, no. We can be funny all we want–we can make fun of ourselves, of the pettiness of young women, of the ridiculous obsessions we have with things like social media and men, but we cannot make jokes about body image. Just because someone doesn’t “look” like they have an eating disorder–like they aren’t “skeletal”–doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering mentally.
Last week, I called my mom in hysterics because I felt comparable to a very large whale. Moms are used to the complaints of their daughters, many of whom are perfectly fine and healthy but suffer from a paranoia and awareness of the body that is unnecessarily overwhelming. My mom, however, could sense the extreme level of shittiness I was feeling. When I told her that it pained me to look in the mirror and to have more than one sit-down meal a day–that the thought of giving in to a plateful of food rather than the Chobani and then the apple and then the Fiber One bar snacking regimen I had perfected to a tee–she knew I was falling into a trap.
My mom asked me why I hadn’t spoken to anyone about this–my friends, a therapist, etc. I told her something I consider to be one of the most wretched mindsets of our image-infatuated generation: I just didn’t look like I had a problem. I’m not “thin,” I’m curvy with a butt and boobs and legs, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been like that since the fourth grade. What are the odds that someone takes me seriously when I walk up to her and tell her I’m having trouble eating? You can claim someone would listen to me, and if it was a real problem, someone would be able to tell. But unfortunately, I can fill you in from experience–that isn’t the case. It seems like you can’t have a problem unless you look like you do.
Okay, so if I lose 30 pounds, will you believe me then?
Luckily, I swung out of my funk and adjusted back to a normal, healthy routine. But there are thousands upon thousands of girls that won’t. Did Rachel Frederickson’s drastic weight loss pose a bad influence on self-conscious teens? I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser, but I’m assuming they only showed her losing weight healthily. They probably didn’t showcase her anorexia, or her bulimia, or any other eating disorder she might have. As I said before, her size doesn’t have to correlate to her mental state, and her mental state doesn’t have to correlate to her size.
In truth, the people who tend to be sensitive to the appearances of people in the media will be affected by Rachel’s weight loss just as they would the body of any other celebrity. The less sensitive people won’t. The job of The Biggest Loser is to help its contestants become healthier. The job of me–and of every other young lady, and even the job of every young man–is to make sure that I am healthy, that my friends are healthy, and that my family is healthy. Rachel’s weight loss was startling to me, too. But can we please get over the battle of too thin versus thin enough and realize the bigger picture?
It would be a sin for me to hog all of the amazing shit I find on the internet for myself. New segment: Shit You Should Read. Because you really, really should.
We know a lot about Barbie. Her boyfriend is Ken, her BFF is Teresa. She loves a good beach party and her dwarfish younger sister is Kelly. What we didn’t realize about Barbie is that she doesn’t have a vagina, and what we didn’t know about Barbie is that she’s pretty pissed about it.
In FYD fashion, HuffPost threw up an open letter on their blog from Barbie about body image. We discussed open letters last week because most of them are 99% pointless and 100% overdone in an effort to rebel against the plights of our generation. But to our surprise, Barbie did it well. Here’s some of our fav lines from the piece:
“I have no vagina. You probably know this already (I know your perverted younger brothers know this as well). This is one of the hardest things for me to live with.”
“I wish I looked more like She-Ra or Wonder Woman. They always go to Crossfit together and never invite me.”
“Ken and I have had a rough relationship for many years. He does not have a penis.”
“I do not eat much because I am usually in a box, and then there is that whole being made of plastic thing.”
And Barbie closes with an ode to her glitzy BRATZ (the doll version of betches)… “My body might not be realistic for most, and that is OK. That is actually better than OK. Because I am sure that some young women have talents that most do not have. Some have sparkling eyes that most others do not have.”
Read the whole letter here.
I decided to get creative. Instead of blurring out the photo, I “anonymified” it. As I sit at my computer screen, hysterically laughing at this devious creation (thank you photo editing apps), I can’t help but recall when this photo was taken: four days before I broke up with my boyfriend. We went into the city for a night, and all I kept saying was that I wanted to buy a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ben & Jerry’s and eat out of it with a spoon. Needless to say, we bought the pint at 2 a.m., shared a sparse amount (whatever I was willing to give up) with some friends, and finished the entire thing. Therefore, I can scientifically prove to you that eating stuff out of the jar is a comfort, easing some of the most difficult curveballs life throws our way.
My first instinct was to write about Nutella. But honestly, what am I going to tell you about Nutella that you don’t already know? Nutella and the young woman are inseparable. We rely on Nutella like we rely on tampons. To put it bluntly, they just soak everything up.
If you’re happy, you might celebrate with a thing of Nutella. If you’re
high as hell sad, you’ll head right for the Nutella. But in reality, it isn’t the hazelnut that gives you a sense of satisfaction. It’s eating shit right out of the jar that does.
For being obsessed with being skinny, we seem to let all f**** go when a jar of something yummy comes our way. Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same in a cup or a cone or a bowl. It’s only great out of the tub. Bethenny Frankel says that “naturally thin” people never eat stuff out of the jar. You end up eating without thinking, eating too much, and getting fat, and dying alone. Or, god forbid, you might decrease the size of your thigh gap. We all know that a decreased thigh gap is only good for catching crumbs of food as they fall on the way to your mouth. So not worth it.
In honor of the food coma that Christmas instills in all people–if you aren’t eating a ham right now, then you’re definitely going ham on kosher Chinese food–it’s important to come to terms with the fact that we love eating shit out of the jar. I spend most of my weeknights on the floor on my room sticking my fingers in a jar of Justin’s almond butter with my best friend. We love getting dirty with some Nutella, ice cream, almond butter, and obviously peanut butter (the indulgent version of almond butter). Eating out of the jar, for most girls with ridiculous body image issues, is the closest you’ll ever get to going skydiving or something like that. Risky as hell. Living life on the edge. Not counting calories for a slim (or not so slim) second.
On a day like today when I’m having serious trouble coping with my own #fatgirlproblems, I’m going to give you shitty advice: eat out of the jar. But keeping “thin” in mind, maybe only have a few bites. Also, remember that committing to not eating out of the jar is, by association, committing to not taking swigs out of the bottle. Now that is a bond I’m not sure any of us are ready to break.
Because it clearly doesn’t receive enough media attention as it is, right?
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is the one time a year girls decide to work out for like, a solid week. Then we remember that it’s winter and we’re actually in hibernation so jk lol we aren’t going to work out. But if the fashion show happened during March, perhaps, we would definitely all continue to do an impressive 20 jumping jacks and 10 sit-ups before bed. Right? Right.
The fashion show was an exciting time for me until I watched The Social Network and learned that the founder of VS committed suicide because he thought that his company, which now produces bras with a greater value than my house, would fail. Now it’s just depressing. It’s especially depressing because it also pulls a trigger that causes thousands of teenaged (and not-so teenaged) girls struggling with body image to give a public cry for help. The fashion show prompts the immediate overload of a Facebook estrogen presence. “Why don’t I look like that?” (which usually looks more like “y dont i looookkk likkkeee thttt ughh fml :/”) along with a million other self-hating statuses go up for the world to see. This year, it was ALL about the cover photo switch to a feature of the models wearing bras made out of gold and other flakey metals.
The fashion show is an interesting concept–yes, these models are not “typical” or “accurate” representations of women, but should it get to the point where we cannot handle watching them? A while ago I wrote about the controversy of plus-sized models. It turns out there’s just as much controversy about coke-thin models. You shouldn’t be at a point where you can’t bear to watch the show because it makes you feel shitty about who you are. At the same time, you also shouldn’t watch the show and obsess about these women as body role models you strive to become.
If the show does get you down, which is totally normal, think about these things:
1. BOYS LIKE BUTTS. I promise.
2. If you don’t have a butt, boys will still like you. BECAUSE BOYS LIKE GIRLS WITH ACTUAL PERSONALITIES. AND BOOBS. (just kidding) (well, kinda kidding)
3. Buy yourself an overpriced ridiculously bedazzled push up bra. No, not because boys like boobs. Buy one so that you can walk up to one of the models and say, “OMG, twinsies!!!!!!!” or “GET ON MY LEVEL, BITCH.” I’m a personal fan of option two.