Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I’ve got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body.
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird.
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail beds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
Women have this innate ability to see themselves as if constantly looking through funhouse mirrors. Even the tiniest flaw becomes distorted and accentuated to the point that it’s almost damn near impossible to see the things that make us really sparkle and shine. It’s because of these distortion goggles that are permanently embedded in our irises that also makes us shrug or chuckle in disbelief when someone sees us for who and what we really are and tries to convince us of what they see.
I’ve recently started undergoing procedures to have these funhouse mirrors removed from my eyes. It’s a long, arduous, very painful process. But with each fragment that’s removed, I see myself more and more for who I am, truly, honestly. I see more and more of the woman that my husband, mother, and family have told me that they see for over two decades. I still am not completely satisfied with the image I see in the real mirror, but it looks a helluva lot better than what I’ve been used to seeing all these years.
My challenge to women everywhere is to have the same done for themselves. I want you to judge yourself for you who are. To no longer criticize or demean yourself for not looking like the person standing next to you, or the one whose picture is in magazines and on the silver screen every week. Learn to be happy with yourself.
The second part of this challenge is to love other women as you learn to love yourself. No matter a woman’s shape or size, criticism from someone who doesn’t look like her can always be heard. We all know the harshest judgement comes from our own mind, seconded closely by those of other women. No one is perfect and “ideals” when it comes to a women’s figure are purely subjective.
This doesn’t just apply to the heavy women trying to live up to the gross Hollywood and fashion standard as demonstrated in The Devil Wears Prada:
Andy Sachs: So none of the girls here eat anything?
Nigel: Not since two became new four and zero became the new two.
Andy Sachs: Well, I’m a six…
Nigel: Which is the new fourteen.
This also applies to the hate and nasty things said to women who ARE slender. One of the most common quotes I’ve seen is: Skinny women are like jeans without pockets. You don’t know where to put your hands!
Thin or thick, with curves of every shape and size, WE ARE ALL REAL WOMEN. Let’s start showing some respect to ourselves and to our sisterhood of women everywhere.
this is so eloquently and beautifully put, and it involves mean girls, so i mean…come on. you know this shit’s legit.
judge yourself for who you are
…people are not suddenly more sensitive than they were before. They are just starting to get more vocal.
We’re talking people who have survived horrible, terrible things. In the past, there was no way for them to really talk about their experiences. There was this huge culture of silence and shame. The internet and post modern critique and the explosion of voices in past decades have broken open that wall and given people a chance to improve the way they live and see themselves.
If you are not interested in people being more human, more capable and more productive members of society, and giving the respect required for that, fine. Your loss. But don’t be surprised when those people turn out to be your closest friends, your loved ones, your teachers, your siblings, or even YOU. Society is not perfect— it’s far from that— and we are all around you as the examples of that imperfection. Not broken, but getting better.
We are going to demand that the traumas in our lives are treated with respect not because we’re petty and shallow, but because we have as much right to survive as you.