By now, everyone on Facebook has seen at least one friend repost some variation of the following meme.
Aside from its blatant disrespect for proper punctuation use, I have another problem with this meme, as well as pages like this one, which nearly 2 million people on the ‘Book like. And that’s the message that they send.
Now a few of those women on the top row are probably too thin to be considered healthy. (And no one can have as much plastic surgery as Heidi Montag and be considered “healthy.”) But Keira Knightly? She’s naturally thin and has muscle definition. And as long as she’s not starving herself or overexercising, then there’s nothing unhealthy about that. But instead of celebrating that as long as they’re healthy, both naturally thin and curvy body types are hot, this meme has to argue that one of them is better than the other.
As for the “Curvy girls are better than skinny girls” page, I wouldn’t have an issue with it if it were called something like “Curvy Girls Rock,” because they do. But so do women of other bodily proportions. And as one of those, I am fed up.
Now, before you have the urge to scream “why don’t you go enjoy your lettuce in hell, you skinny bitch!” let me explain:
When I was 15 or so, I remember reading an issue of CosmoGirl or Seventeen or some other bullshit teen magazine with an article proclaiming “Real Women Have Curves!” And I immediately thought to my gaunt, 90-pound, flat-chested, already-insecure self “Now I’m not even a real woman!! I’m some sort of androgynous freak!! No one will ever love me!! WAHHHHHHHHH!!”
I understand what those magazines were trying to do, but by attempting to make one subset of girls feel more confident about their bodies, they effectively lowered the self-esteem of others.
Don’t get me wrong; I now appreciate my petite figure and above-average metabolism. That doesn’t mean I’m immune to the laws of physiology though, and consistent bad habits and unhealthy behavior catch up to me, as they do with anyone. But when I do gain weight — which I did to the tune of 20 pounds during my alcohol-heavy and exercise-minimal college years — it doesn’t go straight to my butt or hips, but, rather, to my stomach and face. Yep, that’s as unflattering as it sounds:
So even if I only ate chocolate-covered bacon and deep-fried cream puffs for a year, it would just turn me into a bobble-headed chipmunk caricature, not a curvalicious diva.
Basically, any time I’m exercising and eating right and, consequently, at a healthy weight for my height, it means I’m a 110-pound waif. And there’s not a lot I can do about it, just as there’s not a lot a naturally curvy woman can do to fit into a pair of size 2 jeans.
Now, does this mean I’m not a “real woman”? Of course not. But if you’re an insecure 15-year-old bombarded by messages screaming “REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES,” it’s going to take you a while to believe otherwise.
I understand I’m probably in the minority here, and that society is much more unfair toward those who aren’t naturally svelte. And the media consistently portray thin women as the ideal to which all us ladies should strive, and that makes a lot of women feel bad about their bodies and go on insane diets and do other crazy things to conform to that ideal.
But is tearing down another group of women the solution to making the other group feel better? Of course not. And, unfortunately, the media gon’ do what the media gon’ do. But why do we, as individual women, feel the need to perpetuate it on sites like Facebook and Pinterest? It’s not like there is a finite amount of body confidence to go around. Just because one woman has a lot of it doesn’t mean there’s less left for everyone else.
So instead of doing that, how about we celebrate women with healthy bodies of all sizes, from pear-shaped women to boy-shaped women and every option in between? I bet then all of us — not just some — would feel better about ourselves, and we could starting learning to love whichever beautiful body we’re so blessed to have in the first place.