What Not to Do
On Valentine's Day, i thought it would be the best time to take advantage of a couple of recent comments to challenge our body image issues. Okay, this is coming from left field, but i feel the need to use my blog power here. Let me explain to you first what this blog means to me. It's a place for me to share my ideas around being a vegan, feminist, and crafty grrl. It's where i post recipes, ideas, social justice info, and also knitting/sewing/jewellry ideas. My blog gives me voice and does not silence me. This blog is about being connected to a community of like-minded people who are supportive and compassionate as well. Having said that, while my style is obviously not subtle, this blog is not a place where i seek out criticism and fashion advice. I do belong to an absolutely great Flickr group called Wardrobe Remix - a place to go to admire other 'regular/non-celebrity' women's fashion sense for their creative ideas and concoctions. It is also a place to all celebrate our bodies as they are, a safe place to go without judgement. And it's also a place where my partner gets to play photographer - something that he doesn't always love considering it may be 8am. Maybe it shows in the photos, but who cares?!
What Not to Wear is a great resource and 'reality TV' attempt to help people learn what their true style identities are. It's helpful to people who are in a rut and just need a couple of big hands of support to get out of that said rut. One of the scary things the guests must go through is a mirror where they face their worst looks. The hosts can be downright nasty - all in the name of ratings, i wonder? They probably don't have to be so harsh, but that's entertainment for you! Is this what allows us to act this way? Are we so naive to think 'reality TV' is really that real? The guests are chosen by friends and family to go on the show, but they choose to actually make that trip. This is where constructive feedback on the show is powerful - it's harsh but the recipients asked for it. One wonderful thing about the show is the $5000 they get to spend. Another is the support Stacy and Clinton (the hosts) give them. They highlight the guest's good stuff and provide guidance around how to 'hide flaws.' I am a feminist who loves her body and also believes we are all different in shape, size, and colour and we should celebrate that difference. It is not always that easy, though. It is when we receive comments (especially by other women) that are destructive, not asked for, and mean-spirited that we begin to feel like we have to fit into a 'norm.' There is no such thing.
I love what i wear because it's individual, celebrates vintage and second hand, is never by big names like The Gap that support slave labour, is colourful, and is also by local small designers. I usually wear make-up, but not always. I also don't have the need to wear tight fitting clothes and i do feel comfortable in every outfit i wear. What makes me sad is when other women get trapped in thinking we have to all look the same to be attractive. Who says i need to wear clothes simply to show off my figure? So what if a blouse doesn't have structure. I know i am sexy underneath. And i may look pregnant (maybe i am) but isn't it quite rude to get a comment that tells me i do? I should hope we have a better sense than to put down someone we don't know: Own your own stuff. Body image is something i take deeply, and is in fact the work i do. I speak for us all when i say 'celebrate yourself.' Not everyone feels comfortable to do wear what we want to. I'm just lucky that i do.
As a side note, here in Canada, we just finished the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a powerful educational outreach to help people who have body images as well as others who believe we all should look the same. Februay 26 - March 4 is the American eating disorder awareness week. And, it's no wonder we need them when it's so easy to be critical of each other. Celebrate your body that week! Wear what you want and how you like it! Say Fuck you! to societal pressures to conform! Feedback is only constructive and useful when we want it and it's safe for us to hear. So, thank you to the anonymous comments that were meant to offend and be hurtful, they infact gave me an outlet to chat about our battle with body image and society's pressures on us!