REAL men like curves, only a dog wants a bone!
REAL women have curves!
REAL women have muscles!
Strong is the new sexy!
How many of you have uttered one of these phrases?
Yep. Embarrassingly enough, me too. In fact, I can’t count the number of times I have said things like this, and looking back, I am so ashamed.
You see, just a couple of weeks ago, a thoughtful gentleman named Shane reached out to me and told me that he had been reading my blogs and listening to interviews with me. He said he loved my work, and was a huge fan of my “giving yourself grace” attitude that I am trying to spread within the fitness community. That being said, he had a bit of a bone to pick with me.
He had been listening to an interview I did on The Fitcast with Kevin Larabee (you can see my other interview here), and took real offense to a statement I made about guys and skinny jeans. I said something to the effect of how I thought they were creepy, and how if my boyfriend’s jeans are tight on ME, then we have a real problem.
As a former-super-skinny-guy who had endured ruthless bullying about his size and frame (very tall, and very thin), he felt as though I were engaging in similar behavior (i.e. making fun of really skinny guys), which is the exact message I preach against (giving yourself grace when it comes to your body, and not being so hard on yourself).
We corresponded back and forth a bit, and while there *was* a disconnect in my thought process and the intention behind what I was saying, and how he interpreted it, he still had a very solid point.
(My point was as follows: if your jeans are so tight that I can see the outline of your genitalia, I find that creepy. I would say the same thing to anyone of any size or gender whether they are wearing jeans, yoga pants, a dress, etc.)
Shane’s point was this: making rude comments about a guy being skinny and it being creepy (although that was not my intention, that’s how my statement could’ve been taken) is the same as making fun of a woman for being heavy, and saying that if her jeans are tight on her husband, then she is disgusting/creepy/etc.
Since my back-and-forth with Shane, I’ve started noticing so many memes, postcards, fitspo posters, and quotes that are meant to be inspirational to a certain group of individuals (muscular women, heavy women, curvy women, etc.) but they are almost always at the expense of another group (skinny women, heavy women, muscular women, etc.)
My question is: WHY?
Why do we feel the need to make nasty comments about other people’s bodies in order to feel better about our own?
Going back to my admission above: Yes, I used to say things like, “Real women have curves.” You know why? Because I have curves. Because I am considered “thick.” Because I have broad shoulders and big boobs and big hips and a big butt and big thighs, and it has made me self-conscious for a long time. So I said those things out-loud to other people, because I was insecure about myself.
When you have poor self-esteem or you feel like crap about yourself, the only way you know how to make yourself feel better is to try and put others down. So that’s what I did.
The more that I think about that statement and statements like it, the more annoyed and disgusted I get (with myself and others).
Who the hell am I to say what a REAL woman looks like?
Truthfully, who the hell are ANY of us to define a “real” woman or a “real” man, specifically based on their body type?
I have so many female friends who are thin/curvy/heavy/lean/tall/short/muscular/etc. and every single one of them is a “real” woman. I would never look at any one of them and tell them that they aren’t a “real” woman because they don’t have “x” or “y” or “z” physical characteristic.
Lucky for all of us, there are people out there who like small and tall and big and thin and lean and muscular and fit and flabby and curvy and narrow and round and blonde and brunette and everything else under the sun.
If only one body type or look constituted a “real” woman, we would be in big trouble. Same thing goes for men. If only one body type or look constituted a “real” man, a lot of super awesome guys would go unnoticed.
Yes, this blog post is definitely a rant of sorts. But I hope it gets at least a few of you to open up your eyes and start recognizing a few things:
- It’s not our job to determine what look or body type constitutes a “real” man or woman.
- If we are secure within ourselves, we shouldn’t have to put other people down to feel good about ourselves and our bodies. Can’t we simply celebrate the love we have for our bodies and leave everyone else (and their bodies) out of it?
- If we do our best to take care of ourselves, and we like how we look, that’s all that matters. If someone else doesn’t like it and thinks it’s not feminine enough or not masculine enough, or too big or small or whatever, that’s too damn bad for them. And if they keep talking about it, they need to check their own self-esteem, (and they also need to get a hobby).
So what do you think? Have you said those phrases above? Why do you think we put others down to lift ourselves up? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!