A couple of weeks ago, I saw an article in The Evening Standard that had three female athletes done up to the nines (the go to fashion shoot for female sportswomen – ‘let’s make them ‘girly’ and ‘pretty’!). All three of them are 2012 hopefuls, at the top of their game. I look up to female athletes so I read on, only to see the inevitable question: is there anything you don’t like about your body? I had to hold myself back from going on a rampage on the train. Why was this a question in this interview and why must women always be encouraged to dislike something about their bodies?
I’ll try to move past how insanely patronising it is that this question is only asked of women. Nobody’s interviewing Mo Farah and asking him if he thinks his calves are a bit skinny. It’s such a frivolous, silly question. These are women at the top of their game. They’ve worked phenomenally hard. Their bodies are, quite literally, their business. If any women should be shouting from the rooftops about how awesome their bodies are, it’s these ones. If we needed women to show that you can be confident and beautiful and have an athletic body, we needed these ones to stand up for us. But no, rather than buck at how ridiculous the question is, they played right along with it.
So, we had Victoria Pendleton, World Champion cyclist actually spouting about how she hates her thighs. She’s a world champion cyclist people! Those thighs are taking her to the Olympics! The mind really boggles at this logic.
I put forth the argument that these women may not even feel badly about their bodies at all, but women aren’t actually allowed to look good and SAY they look good. They have to appease all the women with low self esteem. ‘I can’t say I look good and am happy with my body, because it may upset all those legions of women who feel they don’t look good and don’t like their bodies.’ It’s such a crazy, twisted, self fulfilling prophecy it actually makes my head hurt. Perhaps if more women actually spoke about how much they liked their bodies, we might see an increase in acceptance.
I’m sick to the back teeth of girls who look perfectly fine talking about how they hate their ‘flabby’ thighs or their (non-existent) love handles. It’s simply attention seeking and fishing for compliments. Just because you feel bad, doesn’t mean everyone else should. We’ve done this as a society, made women feel as though they can’t just be happy and confident and accept their bodies because there are too many women who don’t. Self esteem is to do with your self, don’t try to get everyone on that sinking ship with you. No amount of me saying how much I hate my pinky toe is gonna make you feel better about what you have going on. Let’s just all get real.
Can we just have ONE article with women who say ‘I love everything about my body’? Like, ‘I’m fit, I’m in shape, I’m a total badass and I love it.’ No no no, even women at the top of their game, whose job it is to be in shape, must say they dislike something. Does the fact that Victoria Pendleton hates her thighs make you feel better about yourself?
We created this nonsense people. We feed into it every day.
Well not me. Sorry folks. I love my body, I love working out and I love the way it makes me FEEL. Say it with me now: I will not feel bad about the fact that I feel good!
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