I guess we can call this a rough draft. I am sure to re-visit this at a later date but for now I just need to get it out. Because I feel very strongly on the topic.
I wish to discuss some things very important to me. Body image and respect.
First off, body image, especially in today’s society. Let me first say that I am pleased with the direction that the everyday depiction of a real woman’s body is headed these days. I see more and more full-figured woman in the media, advertisements, tv-shows, etc than ever before. But I believe there is still a real problem with society’s expectations of what size we should be or how we should look.
I believe much more emphasis should be put on the health aspect instead of “weight” and “size”. I’ve battled with my “weight” for a large portion of my life. Now that I have spent the last 5 years or so learning what it means to be “healthy”, I wish someone had introduced me to this lifestyle sooner. Instead of drinking slim-fast at age 9 (which is just fucking horrible now that I look back on it) or basically starving myself and taking very dangerous diet pills at age 21, I could have just learned how to eat real, whole, healthy foods and just be good to my body.
These days I am so proud of my body and I have no problems saying that. I embrace every little imperfection and make an effort to appreciate my whole self with every glance in the mirror. Maybe it’s wisdom that’s come with aging, maybe it’s so many empowering conversations I’ve had with my close female friends, or perhaps it’s all those times I spent changing in locker rooms finally realizing that no one is perfect and we all have our faults. I don’t know exactly but I am thankful for everything I’ve learned about myself.
Here is the problem. Now that we are approaching warmer temperatures, everyday clothing choices are no doubt more revealing. Especially when you’ve previously been bundled up with 3 or 4 layers. In all neighborhoods that I’ve resided in since my move to NYC, there seems to always be those men. The ones who stand around in groups just waiting for a girl in a skirt, dress, shorts, whatever to pass by. Then the filthy, disgusting, inappropriate, grotesque and degrading comments begin. It could be anything from a statement, a whistle, a look, a kiss noise or beyond. Either way, it’s uncomfortable and unwanted. This happens every year and at times it actually makes me question what clothing I choose to wear for the day. I think if I were in any other city I would be quicker to speak up and express my dislike of this. But to be on the safe side, I usually do everything I can to modify my path so that I do not have to come in direct contact with these men. This is difficult in a city where I rely on walking and public transit for all my travels.
I do not deserve to be treated in this way nor does any other woman. The lack of respect makes me sick and I wish I knew how to change it. Just because I am tall, have long legs and decide to wear shorts for the day, doesn’t give some creepy guy the right to say derogatory things to me.
So I vow to wear whatever I want to this summer. Without worrying about what disrespectful comment I might receive. Because it is my body and my freedom to be me. I will never again let someone else make me feel bad about that.