This past weekend I went clothes shopping. I walked into one of those stores where you admire the clothes on display upfront, and then make your way to the clearance section in the back, because those prices are a little more realistic. But before making it to the back, I found a display for “skinny” jeans whose style names were “pencil stick” and “matchstick.” And all I could think was:
“When are they going to start making clothes for real people?”
Because our culture has elevated one body type above the rest, our worth and beauty has been boiled down to a number on a scale and the size of our clothes. Never mind that our body weight is always fluctuating, that clothing size is relevant to the store its found in, and that God decided to create us a in variety of body types–it’s still, always “less is more.” The lower the number on the scale, the “skinnier” the pair of jeans, the better.
You and I have gone over this before (just not together). We know in our heads, on some level, that this system of measuring our beauty and worth is faulty, and yet–we live as if it is Truth.
Some of us are conscious of our weight all the time. Some of us have developed coping mechanisms in which we try to ignore our bodies as much as possible.
Up until about four or five years ago, I could have won a gold medal in that latter category. Some days, I could still at least win a bronze. What I have found to be the problem for me, is that by buying into our culture’s limited definition of beauty and what it means to be a woman, I have turned against myself.
By believing that beauty looks like fitting into skinny jeans–I have taken the possibility of being beautiful, off the table. I have turned my reflection in the mirror into my enemy–because it won’t squeeze into a pair of “matchsticks,” no matter how much exercise I do or food I don’t eat. In this frame of mind, my body and my spirit are at war.
For years, my body was something I hated, something I hid under large shirts and sweaters. I became really good at taking care of other people so that I didn’t have to take care of myself. And the interesting thing is that my story is a common one.
Whether you have ignored your body or never taken your eye off the scale, have you too, been at war?
What would it take for us to call a cease-fire within ourselves?
What would it take–not just to love our bodies–but to actually like them too?
If we are going to Redefine Female, the journey begins within. It begins with what we choose to believe about beauty and our own bodies.
Wednesday, I am going to share one way I have begun a cease-fire within myself, and if you have any ways that are helping you, I would love to hear them!