I saw something on a website the other day that really made me think. I thought about it so much, it would simply be a crime not to sort those musings out into some sort of coherent form.
This article I read, it was about female empowerment. Specifically, big girl empowerment. Being of a curvier form myself, at first I thoroughly enjoyed the article. However, as I got towards the end, something kept nagging at me. When describing skinny girls, words like “bony” and “stick” were thrown around casually, like it was just a commonly accepted fact. But now I’m stuck with this feeling, I feel like the author of the article (while I bet her intentions were good) belittled and even bullied skinnier girls. I mean, there are unhealthy girls out there, but most can’t help being skinny any more than we can’t help being plus-sized! How does calling them out about it make us any better than girls in high school writing “fat cow” on the bathroom stall?
Do bigger girls think that we have a right to call girls things like this? Maybe the mindset is that being skinny is a good thing, so they shouldn’t care what they call them. If that’s so, isn’t that completely backwards? Like acknowledging what you are for skinny is good, but then turning around and calling someone fat is an unforgivable offense? How can we ever reach acceptance for every body type when we still have those molds firmly in our consciousness? Can’t we all just get past the name calling?
Another point I have is this, have you seen a magazine lately? Apparently, the “big is beautiful” movement is still going super strong. Personally, this strikes me as offensive as well. It’s like the owners of the magazines are just shouting at you “Hey, look! We put a girl in a size sixteen dress on our cover so you can see how nice we are! Now, turn the page and see all the pretty skinny people you really want to look at.” Have you ever seen the captions below these covers? It’s never the normal things, like boys or shopping. No, it’s about self-esteem. Always.
It’s like bigger girls aren’t capable of doing all the normal girl things, we simply have to smile big for the camera, and show that we just loooovvveeee who we are, while at the same time not offending the delicate sensibilities of the magazine reading public by showing off too much skin or talking about the fact that we actually flirt with boys to. It’s entirely counterproductive! The magazine isn’t helping show that big is beautiful, it’s just making it painfully clear that these two groups of women could never be grouped in the same category. It reduces plus-sized girls to stereotypes—nice girls. Good personality. Big boobs. You know what I’d like to see? A magazine featuring all forms of women, but without making a big deal over it. We don’t need a movement, we just need acceptance.
My point is this, once we get past the newness of it all, everyone is still just a woman. No woman is less or more for being skinny or fat. It is possible to simply co-exist without making clear the differences between us. In order to find the acceptance everyone desires, we need to go through that to the woman we all hide underneath the skin. Once we get to that, past the name calling, past the pomp and circumstance, past the self-righteousness, our world will be a better place. Not only for us, but for our daughters and granddaughters, who will grow up seeing not the differences that divide us, but the similarities that bring us closer together.