“It’s not so bad,” said my nutritionist yesterday, smiling after our appointment. “But I feel uncomfortable with the 10 kg I’ve put on, it’s not only a matter of health”. I answered. I’ll warn my readers immediately: the topic of extra weight and the rapport (all) women have with their own bodies is an issue that really hits home. I say this because I struggled with anorexia at 16, and at 27 I was on a rigorous diet in order to lose 15 kg. Between the ages of 30 and 33, I was Little Miss Perfect in my size 4. Then at age 37, I started to put on weight. Indeed, my relationship with food is quite complicated. Food is often how I blow off steam and try to eliminate stress. After a 12-hour work day that leaves me with extreme fatigue and unutterable levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone), it’s fairly easy for me to open up the first package of cookies my eyes spot in my pantry and dive in, desperately seeking some form of fast, immediate consolation. That’s how it is, and it’s not good.
We’ve pretty much all gone through this, and many of us have looked in the mirror, scrutinizing our image, looking for some “flaw”… stretch marks, cellulite or a waistline that isn’t exactly perfect. In some cases, these things become our obsession. In others, they do not. And at some point, the time comes to say Stop and learn to accept who we are. Those who are part of the Body Positive movement on Instagram, which has found some devoted upholders among Hollywood stars, know this only too well. It may have started with the hashtag #nofilter – that is, the conscious decision to avoid modifying photos in any way before posting them. Today, the mission has become “putting a stop to the myth of beauty at all costs, the obsession for physical perfection that traps modern women and throws them into an endless cycle of desperation, self-consciousness and self-hate while trying to meet the impossible standards that society has set for defining beauty as something that must be impeccable.” This is how Selena Gomez commented on a music video she posted on Instagram in which she is on vacation by the sea, wearing a bikini and showing the two scars she has, one on her stomach and the other on her thigh, as a result of having undergone surgery. “If I take care of myself,” concluded Selena, “it’s because I want to, not because I feel I have to prove anything to anyone.”
View this post on Instagram
The beauty myth- an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone. Wind in her sails. 🌈💜
This is why I’ve decided to go on a diet. For myself, to be able to fit into the beautiful clothes I have in my wardrobe – not because I have to please others. It is driven by a feeling of love for my own body and not because I have to seek approval at all costs or to try to mimic the archetype of a women as dictated by society.
My goal is to like myself for who I am and who I can become by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Liking themselves for who they are and avoiding having to appear absolutely perfect is a concept that many stars and famous models are striving for. Prior to Gomez’ post, another diva, ex Victoria’s Secret angel Bridget Malcom, decided to stop obsessing over scales and selfies in gyms to show her daily progress. The model posted some old photos of herself accompanied by liberating comments, and then wrote a post on her blog called “My Road to Body Acceptance” in which she tells us about her journey toward “the freedom of being who I am because it was time to make peace with my body. I wanted to stop looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I was too fat or that I wasn’t doing enough,” she confesses. “I never realized how much time and energy I dedicated to useless diets. I feel much freer now, and it’s a wonderful feeling.”
View this post on Instagram
This photo was taken a few days before my first anxiety attack, and a few months before the story told in my blog post today. I was terrified I was gaining weight in this picture. I thought my arms were fat. But it was that first anxiety attack that woke me up, and forced me to start my journey towards health. Out of the problem precipitates the solution. The story today (link in bio) set me back a couple of months in my recovery. I truly hope that the women involved in my story find their peace. I can’t imagine how much pain you must be in to set out to hurt and shame another young person like that. You never know the story behind someone’s eyes. So we should always love and respect. #idictatemyroad
“Today, I’ve accepted my cellulite and stretch marks,” the same sentiment echoed by Lily Aldridge. “I am a woman who loves training and feeling good, but I’ve quit judging myself too harshly. It doesn’t really matter if I don’t have the same abs I used to have!”
Though some stars are expressing an elevated self-awareness and self-love, not all fans and friends are able to grasp such an important message. Drew Barrymore knows all too well what it is to deal with ignorant and invasive comments about her weight, when a fan recently mistook her for being pregnant (as happens frequently even to regular people like myself).
In order to protect ourselves from this perpetual media attack, divas often choose irony, which is exactly what Halle Berry did when, in light of her slightly more pronounced stomach — which apparently creates a lot of confusion as to whether or not she might be pregnant, despite the fact that she’s 50 and it’s really none of anyone’s business – she answered “Can a girl have some steak and fries??”
This is the sad reality of this whole story: having to defend oneself from ongoing external attacks against our own bodies, against our own personal and unique way of relating to the world, always being in the spotlight and being told if and to what extent we are pretty, if and to what extent we are women with a capital W, underlining everything that makes us anything less than perfect to the entire world. As if women should have to constantly prove they are up to par. Inevitably, this type of meat slaughtering mechanism was bound to implode one day.
Empathy towards the victims of this perversion by mass media is not only coming from the fact that I am heavier now than I would like to be. I am convinced that we’ve reached a turning point and that we need to reposition the female body, placing it in the proper dimension: individual. Our bodies are our own personal stories and deserve deep respect; they should not be compared to the bodies of those around us.
This is exactly why I was struck by the attacks curvy model Jenna Kutcher had to put up with, guilty of having posted a photo on social media of herself and her husband, aptly dubbed Mister Six Pack. The photo was met with a wave of absurd reactions. “How can a guy like that want to be with a fatso like you?” someone commented.
View this post on Instagram
Someone once slid into my DMs and told me they couldn’t believe I had managed to land a guy as good looking as @kickingitwithkutch. I’ll be honest that I was taken aback. ✨ Part of my insecurity with my body has stemmed around being married to Mr. 6-Pack himself. Why should I, a curvy girl get him? I feel unworthy and when I write narratives in my head that because I am not thin, I don’t deserve him. 🙋🏼 This man has embraced every curve, every dimple, pound and pimple for the last ten years and has always me reminded me that I’m beautiful even when my inner dialogue doesn’t match. 🙌🏻 So yes, my thighs kiss, my arms are big, and my bum is bumpy but there is just more of me for him to love and I chose the man that could handle alllll that (and so much more!) ✨ I am so much more than my body, so is he, and so are you. Double tap if true love doesn’t see size. Photo by: @mrslindseyroman
I’ll end this piece with Jenna’s reply, which says it all when it comes to this new, positive female attitude that’s all about self-acceptance and self-love. “This man,” Jenna replied, “has welcomed every single one of my curves, every single flaw and has always reminded me that I am beautiful even when I didn’t feel I was. Yes, my thighs touch, my arms are rather large, and my stomach is somewhat protruding, but he gets more parts of me to love, and I’ve chosen a man who is able to appreciate all of them. I am much more than my body, just like he is and just like you are.”