self-care

Loving your body and the booty revolution

I hang out on Twitter a lot. I consume a lot of my news on the platform and I enjoy it quite a bit. I rarely get involved in anything and only tweet a handful of friends. For the most part, I am an outsider looking in. I like it that way. On Tuesday I read an article about Meghan Tonjes. She is a YouTube vlogger and artist. She, like a lot of us, documents her life on Instagram. This includes her weight-loss journey. When she posted a picture of her clothed derriere it was reported and as a result taken down by Instagram. For the full story click here.

After the video about her experience went viral something amazing happened and the bootyrevolution hashtag was born. The whole point of the hashtag, as I understand it, is to encourage women to be free and love their bodies no matter their size. Fat bodies have long been considered ugly and relegated to something that needs to be hidden from view. Fat women can’t exist.

Body-policing is the act of policing a body because it does not conform to social norms. I would argue that it involves a lot more than that as it includes making assumptions about a person’s health, eating habits, and overall personality. I have heard (and admit to being guilty of it myself at times) people remark, “She’s too fat to wear that.” or “If you’re that size you should not be wearing a two-piece.”  and the perennial “She’s so fat it’s disgusting.” Additionally, this body-policing is generally skewed towards women.

When I hear friends and family members hate on their bodies I get sad. When I see young girls starve themselves because they want to be skinny like the girls in magazines I have a strong desire to do something. What can I do? I decided to join the #bootyrevolution by posting a selfie of my booty. I must admit I thought myself half mad for even considering it. Then I took a picture (or twenty) and wondered if it was worth it. Could I actually post a picture of my butt on Instagram? The internet is forever after all. After a few minutes of intense deliberation, as well as encouragement from a fellow booty warrior, I decided to do it. Why not flood the internet with pictures of bodies in all shapes and sizes? If women can look through these and feel empowered and comforted in knowing that there are other women like them out there then I want to be a part of that.

A question that kept nagging me was what would people think? I have friends and family that follow me on Instagram and they might not be aware of the point of the picture. Would they be offended? This, dear readers, is the question that really stuck out to me. The fact that I took their offense into consideration. Sure, I would never choose to offend the ones I love but my body is not offensive. And my booty is not for them. Who cares what they think? People post all sorts of things all the time and I am sure as heck they don’t give me a second thought when they do so.

With shaky hands I hit share and felt immediate and utter pride for having done so. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I put my professed body positivity into practice. I became involved.

Of course, men missed the entire point of the hashtag and used it as a mining tool for their own perversions. I am not here for them. I am not here to see pictures of their privates or to receive their accolades and innuendo. If you think that posting a picture of my rear invites these comments then you are part of the problem. Exercising free agency over my body is not an invitation to men to make lewd remarks. I have now experienced firsthand yet again how women are seen and treated as commodities and sexual objects.

Overall, sharing my booty has been a positive experience. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and have seen lots of beautiful women take the brave step to share their pride and love of themselves. That is a beautiful thing.

 

bootyrevolution

No- the magic word

No: the magic word

Recently, I was talking to a friend who mentioned receiving a request on social media that she did not want to accept but felt she was being rude if she didn’t. I immediately told her that she’s entitled to her privacy and that self-care includes the word no and is never rude. Ever. I remember growing up being taught to always be polite, especially to adults. How often does this reverence for adults and politeness in general lands us in situations that we are not comfortable with? As a woman I know that men are often lechers, I experienced no shortage of this growing up. Children are especially vulnerable to the power dynamics that exist between younger  persons and older ones.

How can we protect our children? I think that we empower them when we teach them to use the word no. Teach them to say it often and loudly. Teach them that we don’t owe people our discomfort in order to avoid theirs. Children need to know that their parent’s stand behind them and that they won’t be reprimanded for standing up for themselves.

I mentioned earlier that I was taught to be polite, being rude was not tolerated by my parents, but saying no was. I remember when I was in the sixth grade waiting for my mom to pick me up from school and she was unusually late. Normally, she was waiting for us, we never waited for her. I knew we had plans to go to lunch at a friend’s house so it wasn’t completely weird for my friend’s dad to approach me and tell me that he had been instructed to pick my brother and I up from school. Even though I knew this man, knew I was meant to go to his house that afternoon I declined. I told him that if my mom had made alternate arrangements for my transportation after school she would always tell me beforehand. I refused to get into his car. Finally, we went to the school office where I called my mom and she apologized for worrying me, I was indeed supposed to ride with my friend and her dad. All of the adults were very impressed with me for sticking to my guns. Even though they were giving me credit, the real credit should go to my parents who had me feeling so sure of myself and them that I went head to head with an adult and won.

I often hear a lot of negative talk around using the word no with toddlers and kids. Redirect, use positive words, I’m sure we’ve all see this parenting philosophy. In many cases it makes sense to tell a child what you’d rather they do than yelling “No!”. I think that overusing the word no causes it to lose its effectiveness. Also, one of the reasons toddlers say no so much is because they hear it so often.

Bottom line: teaching our kids to say no and use it appropriately is important. It’s also important for them to get told no on occasion. Life doesn’t give you what you want all the time.

How do you feel about saying no?