Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perspective & Compassion

One of the exciting parts about being involved in this blog is the chance to have your voice heard – for we feel it’s a bit of unchartered territory and sometimes we don’t know how to navigate it.

There has been quite a bit of debate over the past month about the double-standard of calling out thin people and making it an “us vs. them” kind of thing. Some have expressed their concern that we intend to promote an anti-skinny girl mentality, and of course nothing could be farther from the truth. As we work out some of our demons, we hope you’ll be gentle with us.

We here at Curvy Girl want you to know that we welcome guest bloggers of all kinds, and if you feel you would like to contribute, it’s a done deal. Send us something, we’ll post it! We would love to include your well-written and intelligent (or even just good-humored) thoughts on issues of body image, self-care and fitness/nutrition. That’s what we’re here for.

Perhaps it will give everyone pause to consider, however, that we will not approach you. Why? Because it might hurt your feelings for us to say “Would you like to write for our Curvy Girl website?” but if someone approached you with the same offer for “Confessions of a Slender/Athletic/Slim/Size 4 Girl” it would be an insane compliment. You’d jump at the chance, would you not?! We totally would. So there is a double-standard and it’s real and we’ve been living with it our entire lives.

I guess my point is that we want you to celebrate being curvy, and we want it to be something worth celebrating. But we’re not there yet – we curvy girls carry a lot of baggage that our slimmer counterparts may not.

We’ve been teased in high school by the captain of the football team, we’ve wondered where to sit at lunch and whether eating in front of people would garner more or less attention than skipping a meal. At least two out of three of us curvy girls have eaten in the bathroom for fear of the high school cafeteria and its landmines of humiliation. We’ve endured the chiding of our siblings, the disappointment of our parents, the assumption that we are lazy or damaged. We are working hard at feeling ok with it, and we apologize if that comes across as a battle against the size 0s of the world. Sometime even the littlest things can put us back in those hallways, and a flippant accusation as we make ourselves vulnerable is the most damaging of aggressions.

In the end, you are right. It’s not ours to criticize and we need to keep our envy and jealousy in check, and we have to accept that you might take small pieces of our message out of context – especially the little bits that we laugh at as we consider the very act of laughing a small victory. That lifetime of ridicule and humiliation has changed us, and we know that not everyone is going to understand.

We might even have to accept that we carry some latent resentment we didn’t even know was there and dealing with criticism is just part of the process of becoming better. We want to be better.

Just please be patient as we get comfortable in our own skin. It’s been a long road, and we are finally reaching our destination. We’ll let you know when we’ve arrived, and we expect there to be unlimited sushi, wine and elliptical machines when we get there.

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