the seduction of inadequacy | body image

2015, Healthy Living, Inspiration, June

i’ve had this post saved in my drafts for some time. 7 months to be precise.

seduction of inadequacy

partly because i was waiting for the right time. when all i want to say was coherent enough.

and more than coherent, eloquent enough.

i want to be able adequately express how i feel about this, without sounding soap-boxish.

but let’s just be honest here. i’m gonna have to get my soap box out.

for as long as i can remember i have had major body image insecurities. and more so in my 20’s than i did when i was a teenager. i’ll come to the reason for this later.

we are bombarded… well… pummelled with:

get beach body ready. lose 10lbs in 2 weeks! fat burning pills. “insert abs here”. how to look good naked. drop 2 sizes in 2 weeks. bikini ready in 7 days!

my favourite blogger {and i don’t say favourite lightly} megfee had this to say about that whole “get beach body ready” thing:

So when some advertiser asks me, Are you beach body ready? I want to look them square in the eye and say, yeah, I got lungs and arms and legs that’ll kick, so how dare you try to tell me that my golden-ticket to the beach is how good I look in a bikini. My body–how it looks–is not not for you… So kindly BACK. OFF.

sigh. she writes stuff that stirs my soul. so much so it moved me to finish this post. read the rest of her post titled ‘changing the conversation’ here. SUCH a delicious read. and i might reference that post again later.

i recently saw this one: “run yourself to slim + happy”

wait. so being slim will make me happy?

here are some stats for you {these are uk stats but i am positive run throughout the western world}:

  • 60% of adults report feeling ashamed of the way they look (Centre for Appearance Research 2012)
  • 70% of adult women and 40% of adult men report that they have felt pressure from television and magazines to have a perfect body (Centre for Appearance Research 2012)
  • 34% of adolescent boys and 49% of girls have been on a diet to change their body shape or to lose weight (Centre for Appearance Research & Central YMCA 2011)
  • It is estimated that roughly two thirds of adults suffer from negative body image (All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image Report, 2012)
  • 42% of girls and young women feel that the most negative part about being a female is the pressure to look attractive (Girl Guiding UK, Girls Attitude Survey 2010)

are you surprised?

megfee goes on to say:

So to eliminate fat-talk is to actually change the way in which we experience our bodies in the world…yup, that slow-moving-realization, that’s the rumblings of a revolution, my friends.

It’s important to move our bodies. It’s important to do really difficult things. It improves brain elasticity and builds bone density. But to go to to a circuit class and lift heavy weights and crunch until I’m barely breathing all while the instructors tells me to keep going because on the other side of the pain is a pair of skinny jeans, one size smaller…well that is too flimsy a reason.

And frankly, insulting.

My body is doing really difficult things and you’re going to berate it for not being smaller?

and what do i mean by the seduction of inadequacy? well first off the phrase isn’t mine {even though i wish it was}. it was said by the beautiful lupita nyong’o. in a speech given at the essence magazine 7th annual black women in hollywood event. and while she primarily talked about the different ‘shades’ of beauty {for that is a whole other conversation}, it rings true to each of us.

frankly, inadequacy in seductive. and that is what the media feeds on.

i wrote earlier that body image has affected me more in my twenties than it did when i was a teenager. in truth it is because i have gained weight in my twenties {i’m going to throw it out there and say that that is normal?}, but also with the rise of social media and the poisonous tentacles of the media as a whole, i am even more aware of how far from that ‘perfection’ i am.

these days people who haven’t seen me in a few years tell me how much weight i have gained. because that’s exactly how you greet someone. 

i have always have been, and continue to be, told how ‘thick’ or big i am. or how i’ve ‘got body’ as they say in my culture.

enough with it.

so with megfee i stand, let’s change the conversation. let’s stop the fat-talk and weight shaming {can i add that i despise that????}. let’s not talk about how guilty we feel if we have a biscuit or 5 in the office. instead let’s celebrate the fact that we have food in abundance. let’s discuss being healthy no matter how we are built. let’s talk about the gift that is our bodies and how as women we {mostly} have the ability to grow another human inside of it.

because if you’re able to walk or use your arms or both, if you are a breathing human being, then you are beach body ready.

ok i’ll put my soap box away now.

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