“She’s too pretty to be a body positive role model.”
“She’s too young to be unhappy with her body.”
“She’s too big to know about eating disorders.”
“She’s too skinny to be a fat activist.”
Over the years, these, and many other similar statements, have been said to me…
I’ve had older women tell me directly that I shouldn’t be unhappy with my body because I have my youth.
I’ve had larger girls tell me that we are not fighting the same fight because my size is not relatable to them.
I’ve had people directly and indirectly say that if they looked like me they wouldn’t hate their body.
While I’ve thought about addressing these comments for a while, I was initially afraid to open up the discussion.
I was worried I would come across as bragging if I said people have called me “too pretty, too skinny, too this, too that…”
But as good intentioned as people think their comments are…
Their words are actually problematic.
Let me just state that I’m not talking about when someone gives me an actual compliment. If someone tells me that I’m smart, or funny, or dress well, it makes me feel GOOD!!** But when it becomes a backhanded compliment is where I begin to feel guilty, ashamed or insecure.
A backhanded compliment usually begins with: “You are too (insert adjective)”
And then is followed by the words: “to be (insert anything).”
You are too feminine to be a bodybuilder.
You are too pretty to be sad.
**Just a refresher: “Skinny” is not a compliment. It is an adjective used to describe roads, trees, bike seats, eyebrows, and anything that is narrow. Saying someone is skinny is not a compliment. Their body, and any changes it has gone through, is none of your business (and I’m sure you can find better things to compliment them on anyways, like their intelligence or their kindness).
So why am I bringing this up?
Because I’m tired of us women dividing ourselves instead of understanding that we all struggle.
I can’t fight society on my own, and neither can you. We can only do it together. As a unified front.
When you look at a woman, and you say to yourself (or to her) that she’s too pretty, or skinny, or fat, or WHATEVER, to understand your own struggle, you are INSTANTLY dividing yourself from her.
I know that I’m not old enough to experience menopause’s changes to my body, but I still find fault with my body.
I know that I’m not big enough where I experience public shaming of my weight, but I still find fault with my body.
I know that (some people think) I’m not “conventionally” unattractive enough to hate my appearance, but I still find fault with my body.
I still experience pain, grief, shame, and sadness about my body, because society teaches us that this is the normal way to view ourselves.
Sometimes I’m sad, just like sometimes you’re sad.
That doesn’t mean I’m not also sometimes happy like you are too, but my emotions and confidence run the gamut, just like yours do.
All I want to do on this blog is help you take that sadness away, and the best way I know how to do it, is to tell you that sometimes I’m sad too.
I am not too pretty, too skinny, too fat, or too young.
You are not too pretty, too skinny, too fat, or too old.
And neither is she, or her, or whomever it is that seems to have it better off than you do.
– – –
When we lose empathy for the individual struggle of each one of our fellow sisters, we block out our ability to see the bigger picture.
When we focus on our differences, we can not come together.
When we divide ourselves, we can not conquer.
We must join forces. We are all hurt and vulnerable, and still incredibly loving beings.
Let’s fight this together. Because at the end of the day, we are all one.
I believe in you.
And quickly before I go, I want to give a huge shoutout to my friend Dru Dodd.
We recently shot outside on a quiet, freezing NYC night at sunset, and I’m amazed at the sky detail he was able to capture.
Dru is incredibly talented and I’m so blessed to have him and other amazing artists as friends.
Photography : Dru Dodd