Now that bathing suit season is officially upon us, I’ve been thinking about self-esteem in the face of summer fashion. We probably all know someone (or are someone) who suffers through 90 degree days in long pants because they feel their legs are not fit for public viewing. Then there is the refusal to “bare arms” that so many women fall prey to, and of course the swimmer who is too self-conscious to remove her oversize t-shirt in the water for fear of people judging her bathing suit-clad body.
It pisses me off when I hear people talking smack about other people’s bodies. Hey, everyone has a right to their own opinion of what constitutes attractiveness, and I don’t expect everyone to like or appreciate the visage of every human who crosses their path. But at the end of the day, my body is my business. So is yours. No one has the right to offer commentary on it, and you have the right to not give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks about you.
The following passage is quoted from a great book I read recently:
“At some point in your adult life, you’ve probably walked into a party and felt a frisson of relief upon discovering at least one woman there who was fatter, uglier, and/or dressed more inappropriately than you. We sure have. But if you want to have any hope of making peace with your own body, you need to knock that shit off.
We’re not even telling you to stop just because it’s nasty, petty, and beneath you to judge other women so harshly; it is, but you’re not a saint, and neither are we. We’re telling you to stop because it’s actually in your own self-interest to stop being such a bitch. ‘Cause you know what happens when you quit saying that crap about other women? You magically stop saying it about yourself so much, too.
Judging other women negatively creates a constant stream of nasty thoughts in your head. It is inevitable that you will end up applying those same standards to yourself. We think we’re building ourselves up when we do this but, really, we’re just tearing other people down to our level. And we hate to go all Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on you, but tearing other people down isn’t really productive. It leaves you in the same place you started, which is full of loathing for your own body.”
~Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby, “Lessons From The Fat-o-sphere”
I really hope to impart this lesson to my girls through my words and actions. I hope other parents will do the same, for their kids and for themselves. So grab that tank top, shorts, bikini or whatever you love and feel good in, and work it! And if the haters start hatin’…