By Ginger Bangalore
Editor’s Note: I don’t impress easily (in fact, I’m an opinionated prick) so when I like something, it’s worth mentioning. This an abridged version of a post on my new favorite local blog, The Rambling Method by Ginger Bangalore. Ginger is a blogger, burlesque performer with the Thunder Kittens, and a burgeoning sex posivite activist. I expect great things from her. – David Wraith
You’re beautiful. You don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be beautiful. You don’t need to hate yourself into thinness or fatness. You don’t need to live inside a mask of make-up. We’re all a little fucked up, we can work through that, or I’ll help you find a cool therapist, and in the meantime don’t forget what I said about you being beautiful.
In other words:
“I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see in the mirror on a day a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who ever taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass.”
– Andrea Gibson
But then I realized that I didn’t really think of fat people as beautiful. As even capable of being beautiful. Which is an honest statement that is really painful for me to type out. But I didn’t. Society had taught Me, had beaten into me, that fat is ugly, bad and unacceptable. The first time I really fully consciously grappled with this concept was when I picked up the book Women En Large from a book sale at my college. My mom had always lamented her weight. While I never struggled with any eating disorders (except for one panic-ridden semester and summer during college when I got some ill-placed solace in how I could “control” my life by controlling the food I ate), what I did struggle with monumentally was with my image of myself.
Every. Woman. Does. It is rammed down our throats at every turn, what we are supposed to look like in order to be considered beautiful. And so while I’ve always been really healthy, my curvy body was where I placed my absolute hatred after puberty struck. I developed a pretty distorted sense of being “fat” which was not okay. Oh my fuck what was wrong with me! But here’s the thing: I was surrounded by the message; it came at me from all sides, and especially from the mouths of my peers who were obsessed with their weight and size. So I, of course, started to attach my worth to my perceived level of attractiveness as compared to those around me, my friends, etcetera.
So. Much. Awfulness. Cuz I never “measured up” in the way I thought I was supposed to. I turned to diversive tactics, like wearing really low-cut and revealing shirts (cuz everyone said my breasts were great, they were/are big and round), and then I took it even further and got my nipples pierced at the ripe age of sixteen, so as to show off my ta-tas for, of course, aesthetic reasons. Good grief. I remember how I loved to throw that reasoning around as I flashed anyone with eyes.
I was constantly doing the comparison game, which is in no way a healthy practice for any woman or girl. I see how it plays out in the life of my sixteen-year-old sister who is drop-dead gorgeous but has immense self-esteem issues. Constantly I ranked myself as either better or worse, in terms of everything: hair, calves, hip shape, arm muscles, eyebrows, belly shape, on and on…
Sigh. And then in college I thought I got over my ridiculousness because I surrounded myself with really awesome people, who were just fucking awesome, and looked all kinds of ways!
Then I got that book and thought, “Fuck. I’m not really cured.” Even though I knew that one’s worth was not hinged on their looks, even though I spouted words about cultivating inner-beauty and developing one’s self. So I spent hours with that book. Hours examining those fat naked bodies with my eyes, hours taking in every dimple, curve, bump, and roll, hours imagining those bodies doing things like masturbating, giving birth, cuddling, having sex, going shopping, dancing, taking showers, and on and on. I burned the idea into my brain; it was the only way I knew to eradicate every anti-fat message I had heard, seen and believed in my life.
I remember being so angry with myself, that I had the gall to consider myself better than such-and-such person because my body is smaller. How insanely fucking ridiculous that is! It is absolutely horrifying that this is what takes up vast amounts of head-space in the world: the fashion industry, the dieting industry, in the celebrity world, in eating disorders (have you ever seen a “Thinsperation” video on YouTube?). And it is still something I have to be intentionally conscious of: not comparing, seeing all as beautiful, but the mind can be re-structured away from the body-negative lies we’re fed most our lives.
Read the original post in its entirety here.