Does This Life Make My Butt Look Big?
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I recently saw a photo of a 19 year old, 5 feet 11 inch tall model who was one of the contestants in the Australian Miss Universe pageant. This Attack of the 50 Foot Woman weighed a measly 108 lbs. Big Mac anyone?
First of all, I have always laughed at the unbelievable narcissism of individual countries holding a Miss Universe pageant. Really??? A woman from Australia, Sweden or, as is usually the case, Venezuela can be crowned the most beautiful woman in the entire universe? How the hell do they know? Maybe there are some totally hot women practicing their splits and twirling skills as we speak on some planet that we have yet to discover. And, come on, who could judge a real Miss Universe contest fairly? Obviously people from other planets are bald, have really long necks and giant saucer-like eyes. Would a judge from earth really vote for them? And what about alien judges? Do you honestly think they would vote for a human? We have skin and hair and smell like dairy. I'm sorry Honey, but if you win this particular contest you're only Miss Planet Earth. Deal with it.
Like I said, this woman is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs just 108 lbs. and has a body mass index of 15.1. The official benchmark for malnutrition, by the way, is 18. I remember seeing bodies like this one in documentaries on both the holocaust and third world starvation. Take away the hair extensions, make up and string bikini, lay her on a mat and put a few flies on her face and there is little difference.
But there she is, starving atop her pedestal – a contestant for the title of The Most Beautiful Woman in the Universe. Seriously, we're still doing this to ourselves? I had friends with eating disorders in high school and I have friends with eating disorders now. And I can't believe that we are still here.
At the moment I am 41 years old and am actually enjoying getting older. I have never been happier, felt healthier, sexier, stronger, or more comfortable in my own skin. Most of my girlfriends are the same way - really coming into our own, finding new strength in really amazing ways, finally comfortable being with ourselves, more on track, more confident... Until, the weirdest thing happens. We catch one glimpse of the cellulite on our asses and all that goes out the window. Suddenly we are insecure and self-conscious and apologetic and depressed. And then we have a whirlwind love affair with an entire box of Krispy Kremes. What the hell??? How is it possible that women who have so much going on can still get derailed so fast by being human? It's like we are back in high school comparing ourselves to the cheerleaders and hiding in the library because we find we come up short.
I was recently with some friends having the most wonderful, intelligent, stimulating conversation until it turned to our bodies. Suddenly we're in front of mirrors bemoaning our thighs, boobs, noses, chins... My friends and I bitched and moaned about our squishy butts and the bellies that fold over our pants when we sit down. We want our chins to be this, our boobs to be that, the hair on our heads to do this and the rest of our hair waxed to do that. How is it possible that, with all the living and learning we have under our belts, we are still comparing ourselves to Supermodels and Porn queens? Guess what? Cindy Crawford has said that even she doesn't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. Models are airbrushed upside down and backwards. And, even if they're not, who the hell cares?
We tell ourselves it's for men. To attract men. Guess what? The average man doesn't care nearly as much as we think he does. Stand naked in front of your man and he's pretty much just happy to be there. But we take off our clothes in a ladies locker room or swimming pool and every woman there is scanning us for flaws - immediately comparing every inch for either validation or as another excuse to self loathe. And we do the same right back.
Men do it too. I know plenty of men that want bigger muscles, broader chests, bigger calves, rounder butts and bigger and longer love pumps. That’s why they spend so much money at the gym, the Chevy dealership and Hair Club for Men.
Okay, I’ll admit that some guys aren’t always the most helpful when it comes to our body images. Most of us carry around in our mental baggage lame things that high school boyfriends said about our big toes, our hair, or our bodies that were still struggling to bloom. Even adult men – while I am sticking to what I said a moment ago about man heaven being in the presence of a naked woman (and an icy beverage) – can be sensitivity challenged on occasion. I once dated a guy, for about 3 seconds, who told me he couldn’t be with a woman that had bigger thighs than he did. Okay, I am thinner than maybe 95% of the women my age and it was not my fault that this guy was walking around on Twizzlers. Only a ten year old girls legs would have been smaller than his. Or Miss Australia’s. But, I was undateable because I didn’t look like Olive Oil in a bikini. Whatever. Honestly, does it really matter if we aren’t another person’s idea of perfection? No. Some men will find us attractive and some won’t. We’re not attracted to every man that wants to buy us a drink on a Saturday night either. That’s life. Welcome to it.
When a friend of mine was newly married, his wife turned around and asked him if her pants made her butt look big. His response? “No, your butt makes your butt look big.” Rude? Maybe. But hilarious. Hands down the best response to that bear trap of a question I have ever heard. Ladies, we need to not ask the question if we don’t want the answer. Yes, sometimes it is the pants. But, honestly, sometimes it IS our butts. We are here on this human planet having a human experience with these human bodies and beat ourselves, and others, up because we have human butts. How ridiculous is that?
As hard as it may be, I am declaring an end to my personal body war. I am going to stop pointing finger at all the human butts, my own included, and start focusing on all the amazing things I have going on in this life. I will continue to run and weight train and stretch and do yoga and drink a ton of water and get enough sleep because it feels good to be healthy and strong. And I will eat as many alive fruits and vegetables and whole grains as possible but you better believe I will continue to drink wine and eat chocolate without brain damaged guilt because they make me deliriously happy. And happy and healthy beat skinny and sad any damn day of the week.
In behalf of myself and all my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s I am going to rip off my corset and swim in the ocean. I am going to walk barefoot in the grass and play in the rain without a stitch of makeup on and feel pretty just because I am. I am going to remember the little girl joy of eating an ice cream cone without once worrying how it is going to affect my belly. Because, let’s face it, it's way more fun to be wild and free and sassy and alive and to both have and to BE a blissfully bouncy, slightly dimpled, thoroughly unapologetic human ass.
From the e-book Does This Life Make My Butt Look Big?