Real-men-like-curves.-Dogs-like-bones

REAL men like curves, only a dog wants a bone!

REAL women have curves!

REAL women have muscles!

Strong is the new sexy!

We *ALL* have muscles, right?  Or we couldn't exactly function.  Some women's muscles are just bigger and more apparent than others. =)

We *ALL* have muscles, right? Or we couldn’t exactly function. Some women’s muscles are just bigger and more apparent than others. =)

 

Ugh.  This is so gross and hateful. Makes me sad.

Ugh. This is so gross and hateful. Makes me sad.

 

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.)

 

On the surface this may seem like an uplifting message to curvy women, but what about the women without curves?  Is it OK to imply that they are "lesser" in the process?

On the surface this may seem like an uplifting message to curvy women, but what about the women without curves? In the process of uplifting the curvy gals, is it somehow OK to imply that the women without curves are “lesser?”

 

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?

 

How dare anyone tell me

This…

 

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.

 

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

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.

 

My niece.  I can't imagine someone telling her that she is less of a "girl" because she doesn't have a certain physical characteristic.

My niece. I can’t imagine someone telling her that she is less of a “girl” because she doesn’t have a certain physical characteristic.

 

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:

  1. It’s not our job to determine what look or body type constitutes a “real” man or woman.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Responses to Only A Dog Wants a Bone…?

  1. Sharon says:

    Hey molly, same reason, I was insecure about myself after putting on weigh so when I was feeling crap about myself I used to call everyone, she’s too fat, she’s too skinny,, since discovering GGS & lifting heavy I’ve gone down 2 dress sizes & put on a stone, but I look & feel the best I’ve ever done so now I’m secure in myself, I don’t judge anyone, all women are real women (or men) regardless of shape or size ,,,,

  2. A million times yes! I have been working on not using phrases like “real women have curves,” and “only a dog wants a bone” and so one when I realized what I was really saying. I was simply being mean because I felt bad about the way I looked. My boyfriend, who is a personal trainer and powerlifter, pointed out to me that a lot of women that he’s come across will make a nasty comment about how other women look, rather than the person’s character. That’s when it hit me. We all do this. I have a friend who is tall and skinny, the girl can’t put weight on to save her life. I have another friend who had been struggling with her weight, and she would always tell my skinny friend to eat more. My tall skinny friend admitted to me how much it bothered her when people told her she needed to eat more. She was just skinny, she couldn’t help it. I feel like we’re all caught in a cycle of trying to fight against the beauty ideas set forth by the media, that the skinnier the better, and we forget that people in this world are just skinny. We start hating on everyone that isn’t like us, deeming them not real as you so eloquently point out. We are all real women, no matter our size or shape. We need to accept that our bodies our beautiful, no matter what people may say. I’m glad you wrote this. Thank you for being so inspirational.

  3. Theresa says:

    I do hope this means that in the future GGS will also feature some strong, athletic women who are perhaps a little less lean. As a competitive masters powerlifter whose BF is somewhere in the mid 20′s, I’d like to see other athletes featured who aren’t also ripped enough to grace a magazine or one of those awful fitspiration posters.
    Thanks for sharing, I love your posts!

  4. Patti says:

    I have been referred to as a “skinny bitch” by larger women as if my size automatically made me a bitch.

  5. Ariana says:

    I agree with this so much… always having been naturally thin and then also a late bloomer, in my teenage years I was being told of how “real women have curves” and even people I had considered friends would constantly point out that I was flat chested and had no shape etc…

    All of these comments gave me terrible self esteem, but then on the flip side of that people would get really angry and indignant at me if they found out I had bad self esteem or that I was unhappy with my body and say things like “but you’re skinny you have nothing to complain about”.

    At least now I finally have good self esteem and I understand that they said things like that because they were insecure themselves.

  6. Kirsten says:

    As always? You rock.

    Also? I was at a fitness event selling tanks that said, “Strong is the New Skinny.” We made “Strong is the New Sexy” tanks because to me, strong women, of all shapes and sizes – are sexy! In my personal opinion, there is nothing sexier than a woman who realizes how important it is to take care of herself FIRST (mentally, physically, spiritually) so she can better take care of those around her. I’m uber-far from skinny, but when I wear my tank, I feel strong. And feeling strong nurtures my inner sex kitten. :)

    Purr On, Sistah! – Kirsten from IFAST

  7. Patty says:

    Awesome article…Body image is such a huge thing. Bringing up the conversation of acceptance is a start to changing how society sees as perfect as to what is real. Being the best you can be personally should be an individual’s goal…this is the road to happiness.Thank you Molly.

  8. Abbie says:

    You are not thick (if that is you in the photo). You are fit. Thick implies a bit of extra (thicker) meat.

  9. I participate in the fitness world as a powerlifting athlete. I have never repeated any of the phrases decried in this piece because I am not large, and I find them alienating, highly negative, and totally unproductive. I have competed in the 105 weight class and currently am tied for a #6 standing in the nation there, and have also competed (and intend to compete in the future) at 114, where I also hold rankings. I can deadlift more than many women I know, and many of those women are over 40 lb heavier than I am. I am strong, and I am small. I therefore see it as contradictory to continue with the myth that size equals strength (it very absolutely does not) and that larger women are the only strong women. I get this message through participants in my sport as well as others quite frequently. I never know whether to stay silent when women online are bashing small strength athletes/those who maintain a leaner figure or to speak out against their sentiments. I understand that my body type has been privileged in deeply ingrained ways over the decades, but I will not stand for someone insulting it when I have been able to do great things with it. My body has served me well, and no part of that has to do with how well it qualifies as someone’s idea of “woman,” “strength athlete,” or whatever type the masses seem to feel needs an ideal.

    My body type is closer to the slim type idealized by Western culture and therefore targeted in the backlash that is “real women have curves” and equivalent phrases. These phrases communicate pain and oppression, but as you contend here, they are just as injurious and oppressive as the original sentiment they’re intended to fight. Fighting negatives with negatives is never going to result in a positive.

  10. This is a great post, Molly. I too am guilty of saying some of the phrases above in the past, and I think it purely stemmed from a place of low self esteem. When I didn’t feel confident in my naturally curvy body, I tore down everyone else – whether they were thin or overweight. It wasn’t until I started lifting and became much more body confident that I stopped judging other people based on their appearance. I stopped hating on my own body as well. I know I’m far from perfect, but I don’t feel the need to constantly tell myself that day in and day out. Most women seem to be competitive about who hates their body more! Now: “If you have a vagina, you’re a real woman”!

  11. Barb D says:

    I personally feel that what is inside a person is what counts! I can meet someone and judge them for their physical appearance, only to be blown away 10 minutes later by the personality. A person can look A LOT

  12. Barb D says:

    different on the outside when you get to know them. My mother always raised me to “never judge a book by it’s cover” and I try best to do that. Does that mean that I never said any of those comments? Yes, I have, but always end up putting my foot in my mouth afterwards. All I know is I love helping people and if I can share some of the knowledge I now have about weight training and nutrition, then it is all good!

  13. Keki says:

    Thank you for this article. I’d like to share a story.

    When I was in middle school, I was rounder than other girls. I was teased and bullied, though never fought back. The bullying lead me to having a body complex and I became very thin. I would look in the mirror and still see “ugly” even though my body was beautiful. I have overcome this, but it took work to erase the hateful things that were said to me. Some days they would pop up, and I would erase them again. I had an experience that finally kicked those nasty words for good:

    Years later at my 10 year class reunion, the first thing that was said to me by the main abuser that used to taunt me for my weight in middle school was “You need to eat”. I noticed that it didn’t seem to matter how I looked (I am healthy and full of life!), it mattered that I was having positive engagement with others, loving and being loved. I had hugged her and said a nice thing to her prior to the “stabbing”, as I call it.

    I ignored the statement and remained kind, then politely excused myself from her company and engaged with others. She would follow me, trying to get to me. She watched how happy I was, and this caused her to say more judgmental things. Others watched and saw just how desperate she was to slash me down. Why? I don’t know, but I believe she thought I had “power” when I was loving others and having fun with them. By the end of the night she had changed her tune and would try to force conversation with me, try and get me to do or say things with her. Again, I was polite but would not engage with what I felt was uncomfortable and forceful behavior.

    I learned she is insecure and perceives me as a threat. In middle school I was not only beautiful, I was joyful, kind and loving to those in my life. My “power” was friendliness and this made me an easy target for her insecurities since I would not be cruel. I made the mistake of believing her words for a while but now I know she was hurting herself. Ten years later, she still is hurting herself. I can do nothing but be myself and be kind to her. I am grateful for the lesson, and ultimately, the compliment! :)

  14. Thanks so much for writing this. I have never been curvy and I never will be curvy (at least not in the “real woman” way). That doesn’t mean I’m crazy skinny, it means I have almost no waist, and the negligible boobs and booty I have are thanks to push-up bras and endless squats. These are things I’ve been self-conscious about since I was old enough to BE self-conscious. Having a “boyish body” made me feel un-feminine and unattractive. The last thing I need is someone telling me I’m not a “real” woman. Sadly, I haven’t been so innocent myself, since in the past my reaction has been to roll my eyes and spew my own hurtful words about curvier women, and disgusted with myself is a good way to put it. I think you are right on that it all comes from a place of insecurity. We’re ALL real women… because we are women! Girl power :)

  15. Hannah says:

    Never stop blogging, please.

  16. Mary Kate says:

    Great post. Great comments. I am guilty as well because I am short and stocky but strong. I recently started training a ‘skinny guy’ who wants to gain muscle. I didn’t realize how self-conscious those with fast metabolisms were until we started working together and he shared some of the struggles he had in high school. It again made me realize we are all on our own personal journey to love, accept, and care for the body we have been given. This is giving me a lot to think about in regards to my clients and those I teach in my group fitness classes. Thanks.

  17. Ashley says:

    Well said – and THANK YOU. With so much “fitspiration” and the like, you are so right in that it’s not our job, or anyone’s job, for that matter, to determine what body type constitutes real men or women. We are all “real,” and that is what is so simply fantastic (and difficult at times) about life!

  18. Ali says:

    hey! – great post, i never liked to talk down on people to make me feel better about myself, but i definitely used to let people talk me down sometimes, realising that they are the one’s feeling bad about then self’s helped me to deal with my on image !~
    Keep on the great job!

  19. Emmi says:

    Just this: http://i.imgur.com/Jtk6Sej.jpg

    Also, why are all the fitspiration pics about strong being the new skinny and health being sexy, featuring fitness models and skinny women? ;)

  20. I may be the only bloke commenting in this but here goes.

    I completely see your point and see where these poster pics have also started.
    Probably created by another frustrated person witnessing women destroying their health and body to gain in their eyes a great body….. But isn’t actually a great body, just smaller clothes and ‘looks’ leaner in clothes.

    I see this a lot. Skinny fat women who may look good in clothes but have a terrible figure because they eat under 900 calories a day and half of that is chocolate because they can’t live a day without it.

    I think an extra few bodyfat percent in a woman as long as she is firm, strong and healthy. Bd healthy women actually look more attractive in the face.

    I hear women all the time say look at the size of her arse and legs but failure to distinguish between a firm strong women and a lazy overweight woman.

    Blokes do the same to each other too. I personall like to fill out my clothes and feel slightly more masculine even it sacrifices a six pack.

    Just my 2 cents!! Don’t shoot me ladies :)

  21. Cat says:

    Thank you for your post. It’s unbelievably frustrating as a size 0 petite female to constantly see ads for “real” women. I realize the intention is to be empowering, but it’s exclusionary.

    That said, I think the phrase, “Strong is the new sexy” isn’t offensive. “Strong is the new skinny” is, as it’s based on aesthetics only and I have no idea what it actually means, but strength encompasses more than muscles. Strength is what enables people to be all that they can be. Being strong includes physical strength, but isn’t limited to it. It’s about taking a shot when you don’t want to, not giving up and giving in when you know it’s best even though you don’t want to too, and overall, going through this thing called life. It’s amazing and beautiful and we all possess it.

  22. Poster says:

    Great blog post! We all need to examine the things we say and why we say them. One thing about “Strong is the new sexy”…I find the phrase itself to be positive and healthy. The problem is the pictures that usually go along with that phrase. Imagine a poster with just some regular women out hiking or biking or playing tag with their kids, or one of those older ladies power-walking through the mall. Now those images would do justice to that phrase. (obviously the same with men, too)

  23. Anna says:

    Thank you! Thank you thank you. We are all real! And by understanding and promoting THAT message, we can actually achieve the sense of inclusion and well-being that these fitspiration posters are presumably going for.

    In the meantime, I try to focus the pangs of self-consciousness these posters create for me (as a tall and skinny person with a minimum of curves – who is nonetheless actually real and female!) on a mantra of compassion. THIS is what it feels like, I think, for my friends, family, and colleagues who have struggled with feelings of being too big or too curvy. And that sucks, because they are gorgeous and fabulous.

    So I think, pat yourself on your (real) back, and give a hug to your (real) friends, and take joy in the amazing and wonderful variety of human beauty!

  24. Brooke Brown says:

    Just excellent!!

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