On the “real” issue.

by Melissa on October 9, 2013

Good Morning!

So I’ve got some roaring to do today. (You excited?)

I started this post in September – how’s that for falling behind a little? ;)

I woke up one morning, after falling back to sleep cuddling with the littlest of littles in the house (I haven’t been sleeping well recently – more to come on that later), and saw a little article shared by a friend discussing “What Real Men Look Like In Underwear Ads”. (Again, this was back in September, and since then, I’ve seen several other instances of articles talking about “real” bodies.)

I never read the article, and nor do I want to. The title and photos said it all for me, to be quite honest with you.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’d love to smack myself for the years of “real body” discrimination I entertained. I was just as guilty as the next overweight woman pointing fingers at skinny women, proclaiming that I wished society would realize that “real women have curves”. The ignorant, unjustified words of a sad girl humble me today. I am not perfect. Those words, amongst others I have spoken, help keep me grounded. They keep me from flying too high on the knowledge and experience I gain as I age and experience life, especially in this industry.  They remind me that everyone falls prey to judgement – on the receiving end and on the giving end.

You see, friends, didn’t you know we’re all “real”?? Every single one of us. If we could all just get past calling any body shape (weight, height, or otherwise) “real”, we could start moving past the issue we really face in our world today: judgement. Every body is “real”. It doesn’t matter what you look like or even what you’ve enhanced. Skinny, fat, tall, short, long-legged, long-torso-ed, and everything in-between. It’s all “real”!!! We don’t go around calling any specific race the “real” race now do we? What would that even mean!?! (As a side note, after thinking about this statement, I’m reminded that we do, in fact, face issues with racism still today. How ignorant, yes?)

The problem we have here is that most people are so focused on vanity, with some sort of “standard” set by whatever trend that’s “in” at any given time. For instance, right now there’s an overabundance of “fitspiration floating around convincing people that “fit/strong is the new sexy”. Man…talk about using health for propaganda, no? Those words are splattered all over images of tanned, sweaty, ripped women (and men!) mid-workout, and what do you think those images are meant to “inspire” others to strive for? Hmmm, I can’t possibly imagine!! The other version of that is “strong/fit is the new skinny”. Yep. Before “fit” or “strong” was in, skinny was the goal for some time…

Oh, who am I kidding? Fitspiration, thinspiration, tomayto, tomahto…“inspiration” to be something other than what we currently are has been around for a very long time. Anything that isn’t our own is what we all seem to strive for at some point, no? (Even the most confident woman here who may be claiming she never wished to look like someone else probably did at some point in her teen years, I’m sure. I’m willing to bet on that.) It’s a huge problem, and I wish we could just chain it down and demolish it.

You are not a mistake.

Why can’t we start an “I am the new sexy” movement? Our own selves. Who we are now. Regardless of weight, height, fashion sense, or whatever. Why can’t we just stop using the term “real” to describe a body type!?

We do this with diets, too. We have tunnel vision. The moment some big name starts endorsing a diet or a pill or a powder or whatever “secret” is “out” at the moment it goes viral. Everyone does it. I feel like we’re brainwashing each other – over how to look, how to dress, how to eat, how to speak, how to work out, where to go to school, what car to drive…why can’t we just start a revolution where we all just start being ourselves, think for ourselves, and love what’s right front of us??

Why don’t we all just start seeing the beauty and strength in our selves and use it to really influence others…to bring out the joy in life…to bring out the best in ourselves?

#selfisthenewsexy

To make this world a better, kinder, more forgiving and accepting place to live?

Now wouldn’t that be something?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Fancy Nancy October 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

Sing it sister!!! I agree that I so often I fall into the “I’m not good enough until _____ happens”. I take this on as a burden to bear so many days but I would NEVER want my daughters too!!! Perhaps I should start living how I want them to instead of the do as I say not as I do! Thanks for posting this!

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Melissa October 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

Believe me when I say I know exactly what you mean about falling into the “until this happens” trap. (I have a post coming up on that.) I have sort of fallen back into a less…confident-in-my-body…mindset, and I do so pretty silently. For that very reason. My girls don’t deserve to hear my BS talk. And you’re right…do as you say. ;) I’m working on it, too, my friend. <3
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Sophie @ life's philosophie October 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

Well put! It’s hard to not to get trapped in the mindset that you need changing. I think change can be good, but it needs to be change YOU truly want, not change that is being pushed onto you by society.
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Melissa October 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

Exactly. We should be setting standards for ourselves, not letting others set them for us!
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Bella October 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

We just must all remember that bodies in magazines are almost always photoshopped–that’s the “unreality” that needs fixing.

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Melissa October 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

As a photographer myself, I know the beauty of photoshop. I KNOW what can be done through a program like that, and you’re right. No one’s skin is that smooth or evenly toned. (And of course, there’s “adjustments” made to their bodies. Sigh.) The thing is, I hate when people claim models in magazines don’t have real bodies. They sure do, and I can’t imagine what it’s like when they find out for the first time that their photos have been enhanced to make them look a certain way? I can’t imagine it’s good for their self esteem. There have been plenty of models who have spoken out about alternations that occur in post-production processing. It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed.
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Samantha October 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Oh I love this! I just had a breakdown – on Sunday – about this. I haven’t been able to run in a week and a half, and probably won’t be able to for some time. I stepped on the scale Sunday morning and got ANGRY. Angry with myself for letting my weight get to where it is, angry that I can’t run, angry that I quit food logging – anger I didn’t need to be experiencing.

Then, after dinner (half of a gluten free pizza and a cider), while wearing skinny jeans, I proclaimed to my bf that I hated “this” as I lifted up my shirt and shook my belly at him. I yelled “I don’t care what you say, how you think or anyone else thinks I look, I HATE THIS!”

Once I got it all off my chest I felt a tad better – proclaiming I’d start working out more while I can’t run and really watching what I eat/drink.

Last night I went to the store with him while he shopped for jeans – and I stood looking at myself in the full length mirror. Dressed in leggings and a dressy, not really very loose or flowy top, I really REALLY looked. This morning I proclaimed to him that he’s right – I shouldn’t be weighing myself (especially while nursing an injury), that when I was in my best shape I worked IN A GYM, and that I’m way too hard on myself.

All of this fitspiration this that and the other b.s. sure does have a way of getting to you if you let it – we just have to remember to power through and love ourselves for ourselves. I do the best I can day in and day out – and I can’t really ask myself to do much more.

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