Monday, August 18, 2008

jlh sells out...or gives in

I was tossing around the idea of this blog yesterday, but I'm glad I waited, since now I've got even more fodder to discuss.

The first thing that triggered the idea of this blog was a comic in yesterday's paper. I think it's called Zits, but I'm not sure. It was only two frames long. The first frame showed two teenaged girls greeting each other. Out loud, they say, "Hi." But both of their inner dialogues go something like this.

"Weird haircut, did she shave her legs? is she really wearing that middy shirt? what's with those cuffed shorts, are you kidding me? omg, look at her shoes. seriously, tweeze much?"

The second frame is two teenaged boys greeting each other. Out loud, they say, "Hi." And that's it.

The second thing, the thing that really prompted me to write this blog, was a small entertainment news blurb. Jennifer Love Hewitt, after all her campaigning for natural body love after the critical reception of pictures of her looking nicely curvy in a bikini, lost eighteen pounds.

I'm 4'10' tall. I weigh 120 pounds. I'm a size five in jeans, a size three in skirts. I go running or biking an average of five times a week. I'm not gorgeous, but I'm attractive, so I'm told. I get compliments on my hair from complete strangers almost any time I wear it down.

I'm also an author. That's right, I write books. Full of words, arranged solely by yours truly. I can converse intelligently on almost any subject. I'm well-read, I keep up on current events. I'm funny. I'm loyal, and I like to think I'm a good friend. I'm a good wife to my husband, and a great doggy- and kitty- mommy.

So why is it that, every time I stand in front of a mirror, I don't see any of those things? I don't see an accomplished woman with great hair and a nice, perky booty looking back at me. I see a short, chubby chick with a stomach that, despite her best efforts, is always thicker than she wants it to be. My thighs are huge, and no pair of shorts in the world can flatter them. My hips jiggle. My nose is too big and too shiny.

The thing is, the body hatred doesn't just stop at mine. I am truly, truly ashamed of this, but do you want to know what I thought when Jennifer Love Hewitt, defending her bikini pics, said, "Size two isn't fat,"? I thought, "If she's a size two, I'm the queen of England." Nice, huh? Not, "Well, good for her." Nope. I jumped right on the haters' bandwagon.

When it comes to our bodies, it seems like women are always ready to think the worst. Rather than think about all the wonderful places my muscular legs have been strong enough to take me, I mentally abuse them every time I see them. I constantly compare myself to every other woman I see on the street. I don't focus on intelligence or humor or common sense, I focus on whether her waist is bigger than mine.

I hate it, but I don't know how to stop it. And no one else seems to, either. JK Rowling wrote a passionate blog about women's body image on her website last year, about how it shouldn't matter how big or small you are, but what you say and do. Last month, I saw a video blog of her commencement address to Harvard, in which she expressed gratitude toward the jitters she felt coming up to the speech, since it enabled her to lose weight.

I'd be interested in hearing everyone's views on this, so please leave a comment or message if you've got an opinion.

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