I have a friend who does bodywork — massage and chiropractic, basically — who is helping me to get through marathon training. This happens to be the same friend who’s training me in practical self-defense and who knows all about my traumas.
When he was working on my quads last week, I instinctively did what I always instinctively do — tensed up. “Agh, I hate having my thighs worked on,” I said.
“Yes, I’m aware of your safeguards,” he said.
“No, it just tickles.”
“Well, some people have physical safeguards and emotional safeguards. Just relax.”
And, it being for the benefit of my tired legs, I did. But it got me thinking about something I’ve been mulling over since I wrote about posting on Reddit’s GoneWild forum and my new approach to body image. Some of the feedback that I got was that I was unconvincing as far as my body positivity went, and that the GW posting would’ve been more interesting if I had been more upfront about overcoming body issues. Reading that made me think, Well, what if some women just don’t really have big problems with the way our bodies look? Keep reading »
Here are all the things I know about my body: My angular face no longer gains weight at the same rate that the rest of my body does, so when I gain weight my head looks smaller even though everything else looks about right in ratio to each other. I have proportionately very large thighs, and specifically proportionately very large quadriceps. My hamstrings and calves aren’t as developed. My ankles are likewise really wide. I have splayed breasts and my nipples don’t point quite forward. My rib cage is just about as wide as my hips. My hips are very wide. My butt has a pretty round shape but it doesn’t sit very high and I still don’t know if that can change via infinite squats (or if I care?). I have thin fingers but knobby knuckles. I have wide shoulders. My upper arms have some heft, so when they’re flat to my sides they splay out a little. My toes curl into each other. The tops of my feet are kind of hairy. I have a genuinely big-boned frame. The way I carry fat on my body has changed significantly in the last 10 years. I bloat up the week before my period. My skin never tans, it just gets sort of burnished. My legs are short for my height. I’m 70 inches tall, I weigh 176 pounds, and I have 24 percent body fat.
None of these things are criticisms — well, none of them are criticisms anymore. I spent the larger part of my life avoiding looking in the mirror, and when I did, I would only catch glances. It’d be a glance here at my legs, a glance there at my arms. It was always part of a subconscious effort to compare a part of my body to a part of someone else’s body — not just celebrities, but women I’d see walking down the street. So I only knew about my body the things that didn’t match up to someone else. Keep reading »
Maybe you are a lady and you hate your body because you don’t deserve to have control over it, according to the highest authority on law in the land. Or maybe you are a man and you hate your body because it doesn’t look like what you see on TV or in pornzz or whatever.
Well, don’t worry! Because I have a few pieces of advice for you on How To Not Hate Your Body, whether you are a woman, a man, or a genderqueer person who does not conform to the binary system! Some of these ideas may seem silly and lame and non-snarky, because guess what? True things are often sincere things, and sincerity has never been “cool.” Right now, we’re going to dispense with ideas of what is and is not cool and we’re going to do our best to save your self-esteem and maybe your life in the process, so strap the fuck in for a loving ride (no, not THAT kind of loving ride, jeez, we are not a pornzz site, OR ARE WE). Keep reading »
Gabourey Sidibe wasn’t the only woman to deliver a beautiful speech at last week’s Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. Comedian Amy Schumer also took the stage and gave a speech on confidence that was as moving as it was funny, and no doubt relatable to any woman who has struggled with self-esteem issues. Schumer’s humor is often raunchy and the speech did not disappoint in that regard either, but amidst the jokes about bad sex and semi-soft erections were incredibly inspiring words about the importance of being your own Fairy Godmother. Unfortunately, there isn’t video yet but you can read the full speech after the jump. Fair warning: you’re going to want to share it with every girl friend you can think of. [NYMag.com] Keep reading »
Last week, ABC News reporter Claire Shipman and BBC World News American anchor Katty Kay published an essay in The Atlantic called “The Confidence Gap” about the divide in confidence between men and women. The piece is promoting their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know. The basic gist is that although women have proven themselves just as competent as men in higher education and in the workplace, we struggle with confidence in our abilities (even while men who lack those abilities are assuredly overconfident).
Predictably, these statements have set off a flurry of response pieces. On Al-Jazeera, Alice Driver criticized the book for setting the male status quo as the standard for women (as did Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In). Amanda Hess took a similar tack over at Slate’s Double X blog. Over at Jezebel, Tracy Moore argued there there’s no confidence crisis at all: “It’s just sexism.” Keep reading »
I blinked a couple times in disbelief, jiggling the sliding weight marker on the old school scale in the corner of the YMCA. An inch to the right or left, and it would clank down, but the weight it was balanced on couldn’t be right, could it? If I was doing the math correctly, I’d lost 13 pounds since the last time I weighed myself, two months ago.
I hadn’t been trying to lose weight, exactly. I had tried more consciously to lose a few pounds last year, getting up at 5:30 every morning to work out for an hour, but I hadn’t changed my diet much, so, to my disappointment and frustration, the scale never budged. A few months ago I decided to ditch the goal of weight loss and just start eating intuitively. I still exercised because it made me feel good, but I didn’t go crazy about it.
And now here I was, staring at proof that I was shedding pounds, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I was surprised, happy, but more confused than anything: how could I have lost more than 10 pounds without really noticing? And why didn’t it feel like a more momentous occasion? Keep reading »