AKA: the Gatsby New Year’s Birthday Party of the Century…
Three days ago I turned 30. It doesn’t feel much different than any of my 20′s aside from the fact that I know more now than I did then. However, the milestone occasion called for an amazing celebration filled with beaded dresses, bubbles and vintage furs, beautiful people and the Sorrento hotel…
View the rest of the photos here…
I read the fantastic IFB article on freelancing today – it had a great tips for gals and guys who want to make the move from blogging to freelancing (to, of course, supplement their blog income – because really, who makes all that much from their blog? Not meeee. And I have NO problem with that.)
I’m pretty sure blogging helped me get the job I have now. Of course, by that, I mean: all the things I learned while learning to be a blogger helped me into my current position. I freelance – it’s a long-term contract position with a fantastic Social, Marketing, and Web company. I work from home, so the premise is much the same. I have assignments – long term. I pay my own self-employment taxes. It’s adult.
The IFB tips are great, and they are just the tip – of the freelancing iceberg, that is. Freelancing is tough, but it’s totally worth it. Here are 3 things to remember:
1. Get up in the AM like everyone else, get ready for, and go to work. AKA: Why I Won’t Work in My Pajamas.
It took me a WHILE to figure this one out. “Really? I have to get up and go to work like everyone else? But I work from home!”
That didn’t work for me. I’d wake up at 9:30, sometimes even 10. It would take forever to get moving. I would schlep around in my pajamas… And I didn’t feel nearly as productive as if I would have gotten up at a set time, got dressed (or really, brush my hair + teeth, and put on NOT-pajamas), had breakfast, and started work at a set time.
Now I do this. It’s important. I do make a point to get up at a set time each day. I make sure that I eat something, and that I put on real clothes instead of sitting around in my underwear and a sleep shirt. Sometimes I’ll even put on tinted moisturizer (nothing crazy here) because it makes me feel like a real human being. And when I feel like a real human being, I’m more productive.
Side note: Some people can’t freelance because they’re at home. There are a million things you need to do at home – like clean your bathroom – and it can be hard to prioritize your work. Alternately, you might be tempted to slough off – like eating bonbons and reading trashy novels – instead of working, because you ARE at home. If you struggle working from home, do the cafe thing, until you get into a set rhythm in your routine. Alternately, look into something like Loosecubes where you can find co-working spaces. Set yourself up for success from the start.
2. Get up periodically throughout the day and do something COMPLETELY different.
Sometimes when the Mr gets home from a long day at the office, I feel a little manic. He’s the first person I’ve seen all day! It’s exciting! Sure I’m talking to people from work online, or I’m blogging, or I’m communicating in general, but the truth is that when I’m parked at my desk for 8 hours, nonstop, I start to feel a little crazy. You know what helps? Taking a damn break.
Wanna hear some science on that? Taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity, while skipping them can lead to stress and exhaustion.
I make sure to take a lunch break – where I’m not at my computer. For my sanity (and for J’s sanity when he gets home from work) it really helps if I get up, get away from my PC, and do SOMETHING. Walk the dog. Eat a sandwich and read a book in the sun on my porch. Hit the gym. Do a load of laundry. Ultra glamour – I know – but I have realized that I need to make time to pause throughout the day. Not just lunch breaks either: I have to write in those breaks that would be normally scheduled if I worked for anyone but me. And it works. I feel better about my work, and I feel like I get more done.
It also helps your brain reboot. Working on a frustrating project? Take a time out, do a 3 minute dance party in your office where you dance around like a damn fool to whatever floats your boat. When you sit back down to tackle that thing that was bugging you, you’ll be able to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.
3. Make to-do lists. Make to-do lists of to-do lists. I like lists.
When I’m done in the afternoon, I like to write myself a list of “shit I need to do tomorrow”. These are usually prioritized, so the big big tasks (or sometimes the repetitive stuff, depending on what it is) get written down first, and then lesser tasks.
Lists are perfect for freelancers because a) crossing stuff off gives you a sense of accomplishment in a medium where your end result isn’t necessarily tangible and where there’s not really anyone to congratulate you on – you know, transferring 1100 products from one site to another or whatever it is you’re working on, and b) lists help me stay organized in what I need to do and what I’ve been able to do. They help me for billing purposes later – so that when I’m invoicing, I can type all the stuff I’ve crossed out into my time sheet. Bravo!
Bonus: Get better at managing your own time.
Yeah, lists will help. And being productive because you know when to get up and dance out your frustration will help. But the best thing you can do for yourself as a freelancer is to get into the habit of documenting and estimating how long it’ll take you to do things. Your boss wants 3 blog posts done for this client in an hour – do you know how long it ACTUALLY takes to do that?
As a freelancer, time management is CRUCIAL. My friend David SWEARS by the Harvest app, saying that it’s great for tracking time, adding notes, and estimating time. If you’re not ready to schill out the $50 to get it, use Excel and a stopwatch. Note the time you started, how long it took you, and what you did. Start this now. Do it for your blog posts (I’ve been working on this post for exactly half an hour – which is pretty good for a 1000 word post). Do it for your laundry. Do it for your morning routine (didn’t Fabulously Broke write about that?).
Just don’t beat yourself up when you go over your estimate. Adjust your estimate, and maybe find ways to shave off a little bit of time here or there, until you can become accurate. Really REALLY accurate.
So that’s that. Tips for freelancers. Do you have any super great tips for freelancers that I didn’t write about? Put ‘em in the comments!
Guest Post By Kate Harrison founder of The Green Bride Guide
Smell is a potent sense, especially when it comes to memory. Memories can be tied to a particular smell, whether it’s pecan pie and Thanksgiving dinner at your grandmother’s, or the smell of your father’s favorite cologne. Whatever the smell and memory, these two together can elicit some of your fondest times year after year.
Incorporating particular smells into your wedding celebration can form brand new scent associations for your friends and family. Just think about it. Whenever you smell thyme or lavender, you can remember sitting at the head table next to your new life partner or dancing with your father.
If you have a favorite herb, like mint or basil, you can make that the focus of your wedding. Otherwise, you can create an herb smorgasbord and relish the rich, fresh scent of the garden as you and your guests celebrate and remember the happiest day of your life. Here are a few ideas on how to make your wedding smell absolutely delicious:
Image Source: Teemiesblooms.com
Herbs are beautiful living plants and they work well in a bouquet, as an accent to the flowers, or as the main event. Consider incorporating a few tall lavender sprigs or some baby’s breath to add some color to the ensemble. The best part? After the wedding, your bouquet will bring its delicious fragrance to your home for weeks. You can even save the dried herbs to use in your favorite recipes
Image Source: Eventstoatdc.com
Give your guests potted herbs as favors that they can take home and plant, or use right away, straight from the pot. Include an instruction card if the herbs you choose are choosy (i.e. they need a specific amount of light, extra water, etc.). Many farms will sell sprouted herbs in bulk so you don’t have to start your seeds from scratch.
Image source: Onereputation.com
Unify your theme by using the same herbs in your cocktails that you give as favors. Mint is particularly delicious in alcoholic beverages. Mojitos are refreshing rum-based drinks with sugar, lime, and fresh muddled mint. These are perfect for a hot summer wedding!
Image source: 3.bp.blogspot.com
Incorporating your favorite herbs into your cuisine is easy—think rosemary chicken or pesto pasta. Ask your caterer about getting herbs from a local garden and make sure they’re organic.
About the Author: Kate Harrison
GBG’s CEO, Kate L. Harrison, has a JD in Environmental Law and a Master’s from Yale in Environmental Policy. She planned her own green wedding in 2007 and wrote the bestselling green wedding book The Green Bride Guide: How to Plan an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget (Sourcebooks, 2008). In 2009, she founded www.greenbrideguide.com to help couples use their weddings to promote social and environmental change and supports the local green economy.
It seems, recently, the fashion-internet-atmosphere is electro-charged with debates about race, cultural theft and appropriation; vilifying both fat and skinny girls; whether or not the idea of “nude” colors in photo spreads feeds covert racism … the list goes on. Squeezed in between outrage inducing posts we find our fair share of trolls tearing apart both authors and commenters for liking or disliking an author’s content. I’ll admit, I’ve felt the need to talk about certain topics for my edification – and my readers have responded. Some have had nothing but positive input and others have called me “delusional”. I get to spend my day wondering just how helpful these posts are towards changing anything. I worry that my thoughts on any matter are going to elicit the screams of trolls who have, at hand, a multitude of insults ranging from name calling to visions of self grandeur. And one question begs answer – why are you coming here if you’re only coming to hate? Why even bother?
When it comes down to expressing your view on the internet, you’re preaching to a choir who already has an opinion, doesn’t care about much else, and has a list of mean-spirited reasons at-ready to tear you down with – including that set of outfit pictures you meticulously posed for. I know you’re shaking your head in disbelief, but this Slate article hit the nail right on top of its pretty little head:
It’s a prime example of the feminist blogosphere’s tendency to tap into the market force of what I’ve come to think of as “outrage world”—the regularly occurring firestorms stirred up on mainstream, for-profit, woman-targeted blogs … They’re ignited by writers who are pushing readers to feel what the writers claim is righteously indignant rage but which is actually just petty jealousy, cleverly marketed as feminism. These firestorms are great for page-view-pimping bloggy business. But they promote the exact opposite of progressive thought and rational discourse, and the comment wars they elicit almost inevitably devolve into didactic one-upsmanship and faux-feminist cliché. The vibe is less sisterhood-is-powerful than middle-school clique in-fight, with anyone who dares to step outside of chalk-drawn lines delimiting what’s “empowering” and “anti-feminist” inevitably getting flamed and shamed to bits. Paradoxically, in the midst of all the deeply felt concern about women’s sexual and professional freedom to look and be however they want, it’s considered de rigueur to criticize anyone… who dares to seem to want to sexually attract men.
I sit, reading that and recall several posts where, for example, fashion bloggers are torn down for choices, for outfits, and for the ever-increasing hot topics cropping up in the fashion world. (A good post on that? Check out Fashion Blogger Bashing on Grechen Blogs). Example: I’ve seen multiple comments about one certain blog – a prime example of jealous rage (for a great read on that – click here), stemming from insecurity and a sense of self righteousness. And no offense to Sister Wolf, here – who is often poignant or funny, this post just exemplifies my point about that one blog that often comes under fire.
… Instead of mimicking the old directly anxiety-making model—for example, by posting weight-loss tips and photos of impossibly thin models like a traditional women’s magazine—Jezebel and the Slate and Salon “lady-blogs” [among others - Birdie's emphasis...] post a critique of a rail-thin model’s physique, explaining how her attractiveness hurts women. The end result is the same as the old formula—women’s insecurities sell ads. The only difference is the level of doublespeak and manipulation that it takes to produce that result…
Oh yeah – being a small person, I get to read all those articles on how even naturally well-proportioned, beautiful models’ “attractiveness hurts other women” or that “Curves are In” and my body type isn’t. I happen to have been built small. I realize that real-life women are not necessarily angry at me because of my size, and that many women in reality could care less about the contents of my closet – but many “feminist” blogs play on this faux-outrage and women (including yours truly) sometimes fall for it. What’s worse are the bands of trolls who hop into the fray, with slurs of eating disorders, anorexia, illness, pretentiousness, selfishness, show-off; all vile words of hatred.
Evil words pontificate outrage on how an author is the bad guy for everything from being small, to wearing interesting looks others can’t afford, or liking ultra-high robo-geisha shoes. I’m supposed to be outraged at how people hate me. Readers are supposed to be outraged at how I don’t want to be hated – how I want to be me. The cycle begins, and pageviews soar.
It’s certainly important to have honest, open conversations about the issues that reliably rake in comments and page views—rape, underage sexuality, and the cruel tyranny of the impossible beauty standards promoted by most advertisers and magazines (except the ones canny enough to use gently lit, slightly rounder, older, or more ethnic examples of “true beauty”). But it may just be that it’s not possible to have these conversations online. On the Web, writers tend to play up the most jealousy- and insecurity-evoking aspects of controversy, and then anonymous commenters—who bear no responsibility for the effects of their statements—take the writers’ hints to any possible extreme. It’s just how the Internet works.
At the same time, many posts on these sites aren’t consciously written with the twisted mess of intentions I just described. Probably many of the writers feel that their work is helping women by exposing sexism and getting important women’s issues onto their radar. But especially for Jezebel writers, whose page-view-generating skills are a matter of public record, and whose careers are dependent on maintaining their stats, the pressure to continuously hit “outrage world” topics must be intense…
It makes me think about every time I’ve scrolled through comments on Slate, Jezebel, or any other “outrage inducing” blog post, reading the legions of comments ripping both the writer and each other to shreds. It’s like any decency one may have goes to hell as soon as they hit the next hot-button topic on the net. Of course, nameless and faceless makes all the more reason to speak out, right? And each outrage-inducing post plays into our dire need for self validation.
And while we’re crying outrage at a system that lets these hot-button topics and transgressions happen, while we’re out tearing each other apart instead of fostering intelligent discussion, we’ve become victims of a system that is subversively wielding our clicks and cash-flow, making money off our outrage. We’ve become part of a system that – instead of unifying – is slowly tearing itself apart, limb-from-limb in an attempt at feeble self-validation and monetary gain. (I have the feeling there’s going to be one person who says “This post is exactly what you’re complaining about.” The difference? I think pageviews are an unreliable measure of my success.)
How do we break this cycle of unintelligent criticism? Is it as simple as not judging and just accepting, and how do you teach an entire internet movement to be so civil? Is it worth putting our positive vibes and discussions out there? Do we refrain from participating in “outrage-world” and it’s inherent discontent – disengage from the wash of negative media offered by authors and trolls alike? Or is that simply “the way the Internet is” – a conscious problem to be considered, but ultimately ignored?
You know that moment when you’re a kid, and you realize your first movie hero? Or Heroine, as it were… This was definitely my movie. I wanted to be a rollerskating muse so bad as a kid. And strangely, I haven’t grown out of it; probably because as far as goofy fun goes, this is it.
It’s kinda just fun to watch – to sit back and say “Oh wow, this is really, really silly, and I’m kind of into that.” It’s one of the BEST worst films you’ve ever seen. (The soundtrack, which topped the charts totally makes up for the excess of camp and hilariously amazing musical numbers.)
You know what’s a little crazy about watching this movie? How much the style they’re rockin’ resembles a lot of the street style I’m seeing today. Batwing/dolman sweaters tucked into tulip skirts. Harem-style, halter jumpsuits. Harem pants in general! Little flippy shorts and tailored tops. Strong shoulders and swingy mid-length skirts. STRIPES! Floaty dresses + slouchy boots and an over-load of fringe. Big florals and fishnets. Yellow and black dots. CRAZY lycra jumpsuits. The end montage shows off a wide array of animal print, and there’s even a tightrope walker that makes me think of all the hipster-y girls in their teeny, floral, micro print dresses and tights. All their 80′s-does-40′s (and just straight 80′s style) has been all-the-rage for the last year.
Maybe it’s because the 80′s just became vintage. Because neon is cool, because we’re okay with tapered pants again, and because rollerskates are totally all the rage – right? Well, aren’t they?
Okay, and there’s a Xanadu Marvel comic book? Are you kidding me?
OH MY GOD. I found this via the Lovely Dolly Dahl and I CANNOT stop watching it. It’s 100 years of East London Style in 100 seconds…
If you haven’t checked out Dolly’s blog yet, get over and do so! She’s adorable and amazing!
Also, THIS cracks me up so much – Hot Feet!
Recently you may have noticed the crickets chirping all by their lonesomes here at Bonne Vie. This bird has been busy, buying textbooks, cleaning out cobwebs, and writing a lot of really insightful stuff for clients. Learning, growing… you get the idea. I’ve hardly had time for outfit photos, let alone a good afternoon of window-shopping.
What, you may ask, have I been writing about? Here’s a little slice from Rorymartin.com:
The top 10 social media mistakes your business is making: You need to sit down and create a social media plan, you need to engage and listen, you should address negative comments – in whatever manner you see fit, and you should research ways to measure the time you’re investing in social media. Whether you’re a business or a fashion blogger, it’s a good idea to flip through these tips, and think about ways to improve your social media strategy.
If you’re asking, “Why do all my visitors only stay for a moment, and how do I keep them on my site?”, you may need to delve into your visitor bounce rate. It could be your industry, it might be your content, or you may not be using target=”blank” in your URLs. Whatever it is, this cool KissMetrics graphic shows you the factors that keep people on your page.
Are you properly using keywords? I know for a FACT that I am not – and as a fashion blogger who wants to maintain an audience, using the right keywords on posts can make a world of difference. Build a great keyword strategy that utilizes both specific and broader terms to really get your blog out there.
Not sure how to use Facebook as a blogger or as a business? There’s this little thing called Edge Rank that will make or break your page, and to beat the algorithm you need to find new and better ways to connect with your users so your content is seen by more people. Edge Rank determines the relevancy of your posts, and then decides whether or not you’re relevant enough to show to a Facebook demographic. How do you become relevant? Ask questions, use polls, link your blog to your Facebook page with a simple like button. Get involved, interact and have fun. Most of all, do more listening than self-promoting.
All this information is definitely useful, no matter what sort of website you’re running. Stay informed and stay ahead of the curve. And never fear, we’ll have more fashiony posts again, before you even know it!
My 10 year reunion just happened and though I did not attend (I was working. OH! and it’s a 9 hour drive each way), I spent some time contemplating the reunion and thinking about what I’d wear if I went.
Reunions are complicated things. On the one hand, you fear that you’ll need to impress people with how much better your life is than it was in High School. (No brainer – it TOTALLY IS) And you might feel the need to be able to say, “I’ve made something of myself!” You also think to yourself, “Why would I want to go? These people are just going to be as stuck up as they were in High School.” But listen, it’s up to you a) to decide that you want to go and b) to decide that it’s going to be fun. If you waltz in with an air of “you’re all assholes” superiority, you’re going to miss out on what makes these parties fun.
So, going into this, remember: These people are just people, just like you, who’ve done wonderful things, who are loved by people, who have probably made mistakes and made up for them. The first thing you need to put on when preparing for your reunion is a smile. The second thing you’re going to do is put on your war face – You’re going to need to be a little brave, because I’m going to suggest you go and talk to everyone you can remember, and even some of the people you don’t remember! The third thing I’m going to suggest is to maybe eat before hand, and don’t automatically bum-rush the bar (if there’s a bar). Nobody wants to see you carried out to a taxi halfway through the party. Be smart about your alcohol consumption.
Oh, and nobody wants to relive that humiliating junior prom – you remember, the one where you had a blemish the size of Vesuvius on your chin, after stressing about a gal-pal going with your ex-flame. Take a breather, maybe book a facial a few weeks ahead of time. It’s time to plan what to wear.
Go a little classic for your evening event, but skip the LBD. Instead, work in light colors, graphic accessories and a lot of charm with a bold lip.
Add a lot of drama by mixing high contrast colors. Toss in a pop of raspberry or coral to keep it fresh. This look is great for both day-time and evening events, and you’ll totally turn heads…
Now that you’ve got your “what to wear”, take a minute to survey the room and put on a smile.
What did you wear to your reunion? Got any tips for reunion-bound babes?
Whether we realize it or not, we are all influenced by something, whether it be celebrities, trends or designs of the past. This week’s links a la mode celebrates influencers and the voices we create from our inspiration. As fashion bloggers, we have each other to look for when we are feeling uninspired and this community is something we should never take for granted!
Links à la Mode: July 28st
- 1972projects: WASTED
- a tout le monde: Simple & to the Point!
- Beyond Fabric: The Lost Art of Keeping it Simple
- Bespoke Baroque: The Challenge to Wear Less Black (and Grey and Beige)
- Bonnie Vie: Body Con(scious)
- Britt + Whit: Wall Art
- Chanel and Something Else: The Naked Back
- Dress With Courage: How do you define blogging success?
- Fashables: Forever 21 Dresses
- FASHSTASH: Redefining the Gender Boundaries in Fashion
- I Got Style and I’m Fab: A Reflection on Small-Town Fashion
- IFB: What Makes a Blogger Influential?
- Interrobangs Anonymous: Revolution Through Sweaty Apathy
- Kings Rule Together: A Kings Response: GQ 40 Worst-Dress Cities in America
- Lifestyles of the Thrifty and Shameless: Everybody, Everywear (again)
- Panache Offblast: Bring Out Your Inner Geek-Chic!
- Pretty Innovative: Geeked Out Over eCommerce
- Style Island: I’ll be on your side forever more..that’s what trends are for
- Styling You: 10 Ways to Dress for French Champagne on an Aussie Beer Budget
- The Loudmouth Lifestyle: Competing, Comparing Confessing
My body is changing. In the last year, I’ve gained an inch or two around – everywhere. I know this because sometimes I can be a little self conscious, but if you no longer fit into any of your jeans, wouldn’t you be a little annoyed? Besides being heavier than I’ve ever been, I’m also more out-of-shape than ever. So in a recent conversation I mentioned a meeting with a trainer, and a friend asked me, “Like … at a gym? Why do YOU need a trainer? That’s silly!” I thought about it – I want to fit into the clothes I own. I’d also like to be able to run up a flight of stairs without gasping like a fish out of water! From the outside this might seem like a thin-obsession, but it’s more about knowing what makes me feel good.
I asked body-positive blogger, Jessica from Tangled Up In Lace, about this phenomenon:
The whole flipping point of Body Acceptance is that NO MATTER what you decide your body’s path is, its perfect for you. Its a matter of thinking critically about WHY you want to do what you want to do with your body. I’m so behind self care and deciding what healthy means to you
No one ever has the right to put value on how someone handles their own body.
And Ashe from Dramatis Personae pointed out:
There hasn’t been a point in my life where my body wasn’t solely my own concern. My parents were always worried about me being too fat as a child, when I really wasn’t more than chubby. Instead of teaching me to eat right, they just tried to ban foods from my diet. It wasn’t ever about health, it was about appearance.
In the past 2 months, I’ve had one close friend and one acquaintance call me fat. And the fact is, it made me more angry than anything. Who the hell are they to make comments on my body? As far as I’m concerned, my weight is the concern of me, my doctor, and my partner– in that order.
The media doesn’t help– since I was a kid, magazines had covers boasting the weight loss of stars, while tabloid magazines trashed the weight gains and struggles of others. They’ve taken women’s bodies and made them public property, free for all to make comments on, without regard to the fact that there are people inside those bodies.
Women should do, simply, what makes them feel good without being detrimental to their health. If eating a cupcake on a bad day makes you feel better, do it! If going on a 5 mile run makes you feel great after a fight with you best friend, do it. Every goal I have for my own body and weight is, for the first time in my life, strictly for me. It’s about feeling a certain way, going back to a place where I was happy, and was living a life in moderation.
My friend Carrie is undertaking a fitness/body challenge – she’s recently competed in figure competitions. She does it because “It makes me feel strong, confident, sexy, invincible… I’ve realized that I loved the process leading up to it much more than the competition itself. The way I feel when I take care of myself by eating right and working out is enough motivation for me now. There’s nothing better than feeling great!”
Although she does it for the best reasons, she’s still subject to body-shaming. She adds:
It’s much easier to cut a person down or discourage them because of your own issues than be unconditionally supportive. I see this in all aspects of my life, but never moreso than going through this fitness/body transformation journey… and I STILL get it even after all this time. The comments change but story is the same, the people belittling my effort, & my goals seem threatened by it. They are happier if I’m not doing than if I am.
Honestly, the more I think about it, that whole “you’re fine just the way you are” thing really gets to me. Because if [someone] mentions a desire to change… why not improve? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with that (outside of like you said, extreme situations where there’s something else going on). I really think it goes back to making the rest of us uncomfortable… it’s been much easier for the masses to say, “love yourself the way you are” than for ALL of us to have to take an honest look at ourselves and either accept what we know we don’t like, or … work fucking hard to make changes. Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to matters of eating/exercise and the discipline that involves.
I felt a little shame as I headed to my gym appointment, because obviously I love me, right? Why should I get the side-eye, because I want to be healthier and stronger? There’s this derisiveness towards my hitting the gym as if these people think I’m deluding myself about why I go. I feel like we (Everybody. Women. Ourselves. Each other.) are so programmed to snark on women’s bodies, regardless of the situation – whether they’re curvaceous or thin or fit or waiflike or brown or purple or like cheese or whatever. We’re totally missing the point of just caring for ourselves.
As this post titled, The Body Count from “At War With Our Bodies” adds,
Body image should never be a battle. Although it is true that the ideal weight, as defined by the mass media, has been shrinking in recent years I am more disheartened by this attitude of “winning” and “losing” than I am by the media’s glorification of a nearly unattainable body. People are losing sight of the real problem maker, the media, and aiming their frustrations at each-other by splitting off into teams of sorts ; us against them, skinny against fat, muscular against frail… it just doesn’t make sense.
While I am 100% behind the Fat Acceptance Movement and all of the more generalized Body Acceptance Movements, I cannot get behind their unintentional exclusion of certain body types. For instance, the phrase used by many FA Activists, real women have curves**, really bothers me. Real women have curves? How about; real women have vaginas? Or even better; all women are real women, whether they were born female or became female by choice. By excluding women of a certain body type from being “real” women these groups are participating in the same exclusion they protest… that hardly seems like winning to me.
[These two sentiments] are both equally damaging as they deny people their right to feel comfortable with their body, regardless of what shape it is. One sentiment may be more mainstream than the other, however, this doesn’t make either statement right or justifiable.
I appreciate what the self-love movement does and is trying to do to liberate people from certain ideals. I also appreciate when a girl mows down a salad instead of picking pasta because she’s looking after herself (who am I to judge? Maybe she needs the fiber, right?). In my opinion, she should be able to also eat pasta if it pleases her, but jumping off on a rant about how she “needs a cheeseburger” assumes things about her that may not be true. Self acceptance comes from within – not from the peanut gallery. Self-love can mean challenging your self to become a better you. Just because you’re undertaking that challenge doesn’t mean you love you any less.
I think we could stand to stop treating women’s bodies like public property to comment on. I know that sometimes it’s hard to take a message off the ‘net and apply it in real life, and that it might be awkward to point out to your group of in-person friends when they’re body-snarking. But maybe you can turn it around.
When someone says something negative about a girl’s body, point out a positive. Or when you hear yourself saying you want to lose a few, acknowledge the reasons why and remember all the other reasons that your body is great. And then work out if you want to - if your goal is safe, and reasonable, there’s absolutely no reason why you should be ashamed of wanting to “make better”. Your choice is just that – yours.
And if you’re one of those people who constantly say “you’re fine the way you are” to your friends who express wanting to better their bodies, know your reasons for doing so. Stop to think about your reasons before you speak, because that sentiment could be inadvertently shaming. Instead of saying, “you’re fine the way you are”, try pointing out something positive, your favorite part of that person who wants to make better. Encourage them to do what they feel is right for their bodies, because ultimately that choice is theirs.
So what do you think? Angry? In agreement? Ever been subject to body shaming on either side?