Reading Alyssa’s blog post yesterday about her reflection on body shame made me do some reflections of my own. As she referred to in the post, Saturday I had a swift lesson on reality. Alyssa and I had changed into our bathing suits at the beach bathroom down by San Diego. She finished first and took with her the towels so upon that realization, I nervously walked across the road feeling super self conscious of the people around me. I was so afraid of the way my body parts were potentially bouncing around in my tankini suit! As soon as I got to the other side of the street and grabbed my towel to hide my shame, Alyssa commented on two men in their car checking me out and within half a second I snapped back about how they were probably only looking at my fat thighs.
Instead of the common response of “Oh, April, shut up,” Alyssa quickly responded back to me about how I wouldn’t ever say that to my best friend, so why should I ever say that to myself?
That simple sentence definitely got me pondering deeply about the way I treat myself. Of course I would never say something so hurtful like that to anyone, but yet it’s just so easy to mean to myself. Society has successfully manipulated my mind into believing what is attractive and what is not and breaking away from that hypnotism has been as much of a challenge as losing weight itself! An attractive woman in a bathing suit does NOT have thick thighs and her boobs always stay in a perfect cleavage form, never once falling to their own individual sides!
The other night I was at the grocery store and gazed upon the magazines conveniently placed to distract customers away from their own lives for a moment. With headlines on most magazine covers about Miley Cyrus’s bold life, my eyes turned to the genuine trash magazines. On the cover showed an assortment of celebrities braving their own bodies at the beach. A few actresses made the cut of what is considered attractive with their perky breasts and bikini bodies. Other celebrities were hidden behind some tagline like “Guess who!?” in a horribly timed photograph that captured the reality of what many people face; she had cellulite on her thighs!
It’s easy to get caught up in magazines like the one I am describing. I love seeing a celebrity with cellulite so I can relate as much as many other Americans or else headlines like this wouldn’t exist. But the message magazines like this is sending is horrible. I’m not sure who is pictured on the cover as one of the “worst beach bodies” but when I see that mystery woman in her bathing suit, I don’t see a horrible picture. I see a woman in a red bathing suit having fun at the beach! She shouldn’t have to feel self conscious about wearing what people are SUPPOSED to wear at the beach! It’s a shame that the media has put such negative attention onto bodies that do not fit into the perceived general idea of attractiveness.
What if the magazines took pictures of civilians on the beach and labeled them as having the worst bodies? The magazines would probably be pulled from the shelves within two days for sending such a hurtful message to the public!
Just like it wasn’t alright for me to tear myself self image of myself in my bathing suit, it’s not alright to tear apart a celebrity in their bathing suit either. Degrading anyone’s body with words is sending out a negative message to the world that everyone needs to fit into this assumed idea of what a perfect body looks like.
Maybe I didn’t feel attractive in my bathing suit as I crossed the road over to the beach, but according to Alyssa, there were two men who thought I was. Too bad I was too worried about how my thighs and boobs looked rather than being able to flash them an “April smile.” Those San Diego surfer dudes are pretty hot!
Besides my bathing suit reality check at the beach, I went through another moment of getting over body shame this weekend. On the drive down to Los Angeles, our friend Katelyn and I passed the time by singing. We sang all types of songs from our favorite movies like Pitch Perfect, but one song in particular moved us enough to record it as a tribute to Alyssa and her husband, Matt. After failing at being able to text or email Alyssa the voice recording we made, we decided to record a video to upload to Youtube. We successfully recorded the song in one shot and after we stopped to watch it, I immediately became less excited about how high I could hit the notes and started to dwell on how fat I looked. All sorts of thoughts raced through my head of what I could have done better. If only I had worn make-up that day! If only I wasn’t wearing a hoodie! If only my hair was a bit more voluminous!
WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE SUCH A BIG DOUBLE CHIN!?!?
I think Katelyn could sense my disappointment with how I looked and offered to re-record the masterpiece on Sunday in the daylight. All through the weekend, I thought about making the video again and after we re-did it and watched it, I decided I needed to get over how I look on video and keep our original improved and hilarious video. I decided I didn’t care about how I thought I looked because what matters is the amount of fun I had while making the video. This video has brought me to tears so many times from laughing and makes me happy enough to have NO SHAME.
So, in spirits of getting over my body shame, here’s the video for you all to laugh and sing along to at a low volume level on your computer. Enjoy!