Today, there was a shooting near Pittsburgh. I was gonna write about the rightwing, antisocial, white male gun nut who shot up an aerobics class full of women before allegedly killing himself and how even liberal guys seemed to sympathize with him to some extent, but I’m still too upset about it to be at least minimally-coherent, so I’m going in a different direction. It’s tangentially-related, but I would still talk about it even if it didn’t relate to the aforementioned incident at all.
Whabs, who is on my blogroll to the left of here (and down a bit) posted a marvelous blog entry today. You can read it here. It’s about women’s bodies and how they are perceived. It’s about what makes a woman hot or not–and by whose standards. It’s about how every woman is judged by her looks, no matter what her other talents and accomplishments. I am doing a poor job of summing up the blog entry, so go read it already. I’ll wait.
Back? Ok. Now for my riff on it. As you all know by now, I have a complicated relationship with my body. I am uncomfortably aware of how round it is and how much I don’t like it. However, I see pictures of April Flores, and I’m turned on by how lush and sexy she is. I would love to get lost in her curves and never find my way back out again.
Personally, my female type is more androgynous-looking women, but I love looking at full-figured women. They are so fertile and ripe and waiting to be plucked.
When I looked at whabs’ montage, I was struck by how beautiful each woman was. Well, ok, not each one (ew, Pam Anderson), but most of them. In fact, I found the non-famous women to be more beautiful than the famous ones–except for kd lang. I love her, and I am totally jealous that whabs got kissed by her. However, looking at all the different faces and bodies drove home a point–women are beautiful in general. In addition, what is even more beautiful is self-confidence. I know this intellectually, but it’s a whole different matter in my heart.
I don’t know a single woman who would not change something of her body. It may be something as little as smaller hands to something bigger such as, oh, everything. If I were going to take an inventory from head to toe, it would go something like this:
- Hair–I like it. Leave it alone.
- Forehead–less wrinkles, please.
- Mouth–a tad bigger.
- Upper arms–more toned (can actually do that!).
- Boobs–smaller by far.
- Stomach–concaved, please.
- Hips–trim off a couple of inches.
- Ass–I need a little more junk in my trunk.
- Thighs–less, please.
That’s just the short list! As I’ve said, I don’t look in the mirror very often because I don’t like what I see.
It doesn’t help with my mom here because she’s a mixture of obsessive weight-watching and going out to eat rich, fattening, but oh-so-yummy food. She is tiny, but obsessed with her stomach. Hey, at least I come by my disorders honestly.
I hate the fact that the easiest way to cut down a woman is still to comment on her looks. It’s so fucking frustrating to me that after all the strives I’ve been making, I’m still so caught up in something so ultimately meaningless. I’m not talking about health because I could give a flying fuck about my health. If someone said, “Hey, take this pill. It’s guaranteed to take off fifty pounds. We’re not sure of the side effects, but we’re pretty sure it won’t kill you,” I probably would take it.
It pains me to watch my mom get caught up in the same rationalization that I do myself. All the health shit she spouts at me sounds plausible, even though it’s not. It’s been shown that as you grow older, it’s best to gain ten pounds a decade. Now, I’m sure this varies from person to person, but the main point is, thinner is not better for older people. So, for all my mom’s protestations to the contrary, she is obsessed with the mythical last five pounds for strictly cosmetic reasons–and, perhaps psychological ones.
I grieve over all the energy spent by women (and men, but I’m talking about women right now) in order to whittle themselves away. Themselves? Me, too! Let me as clear as possible. This has nothing to do with my health. I don’t particularly care about that right now. This is about looks. I want to look like this–with most of my heart. Even though I am not remotely attracted to her, nor do I find her particularly attractive, I want to look like her, nonetheless.
How fucked up is that? Very fucked up. It discourages me that I can be so fucking smart in other areas, but not in this one. I wish I knew how to disengage from this vicious cycle. I don’t. It’s maddening to someone like me that I cannot get a grip on my disordered thinking around this issue. I so want to just give in and starve myself again.
It’s madness. As I have said before, I feel much more sexual when I’m heavier. However, I feel sexier when I’m thin. Therein lies the dichotomy. I want sex more when I’m heavier, but I feel like I’m more desirable when I’m thin.
I think another reason I am panicking over this now is because I’m unleashing my inner hedonist. She is voluptuous, ravenous, raunchy, lewd, lusty, and unabashedly raw. Being heavier too closely mimics my inner hedonist, and I am not quite comfortable with inhabiting her body (no pun intended), not just yet. I still feel like it’s a dangerous thing to be openly sexual in our crazy, mixed-up, fucked-up, repressed society–especially for a woman.
The guy who shot up the LA Fitness near Pittsburgh objectified women. In his online journal, he talked about all the Hot Young Things he wanted to fuck, and yet, he hadn’t had sex in 19 years (he was 48). His mom was a Bully (capital B), and his sister was a victim. He did this with the men in his life, too (labeled them, I mean), but his vitriol was saved for women. Evil women with our tempting bodies. It was our fault that he couldn’t get laid. We drove him to killing three women, wounding nine others, before allegedly turning the gun against himself.
There is a tie-in. This shooting and the aftermath reminds me that there are still plenty of guys (not men. Thanks, Gregory, for explaining the difference between the two for me) who believe that women exist to please them. We should mold ourselves into what they want, and we should never, ever reject them. We are not real people to guys like these–we are just repositories for their semen. See, it was our fault that this guy felt so bitterly rejected and alone. Wave aside that he was a rightwingnutterracistmuthafucker. No, if only one woman would have given him the time of day, he wouldn’t have been forced to shoot up the aerobics class in his local LA Fitness.
Stupid, right? Yes, but still an insidious belief that permeates our society. Just as many guys feel comfortable telling the women in their lives how they (the women) should look. In my first year at college (when I was drowning in my disordered eating and thinking), I dated a guy who had a beer gut. It didn’t bother him, and it certainly didn’t bother me. However, one day, he casually said to me, “I could never date a fat chick.” It made a big impression on me (especially as I was lightheaded from only eating fucking oyster crackers twice a day), and I never thought to question the fact that he sat there with his gut hanging over his jeans telling me this.
So. I am going to try my damnedest not to give in to that particular voice again. I am not going to try to whittle myself down to a size zero. I am not going to hate my body–not when she’s done so much for me this far. As much as I abuse her, she keeps chugging on. I am going to embrace how unabashedly lush my flesh is, and I am going to unleash my inner hedonist to show me the way out of my self-negation. If anyone can do it, she can.