Thursday, May 30, 2013

Missing the Self-hate Memo

There are some instances in which I missed the memo that I'm supposed to hate X about myself and later hear it as a widely accepted "beauty standard," and I'm all like WTF?

Stretch marks are one example, touching thighs another, and freckles. It would be like someone coming up to me today and telling me an hour-glass figure is universally undesirable. It's similar to feeling like an old lady for not keeping up with or understanding popular music (Bieber who?), fashion (ugg boots, animal prints, jeggings, and skinny jeans are abominations), YOLO (carpe diem for dumb people), etc.

There's a weird cognitive dissonance about it, bordering on offense. Sometime in my teens I heard or read people saying freckles are ugly and unattractive. What? My and my sister's freckles are freaking adorable and I totally get a lady boner for people with freckles. I dated some very cute freckled boys in high school and crushed on even more. Remember Lindsey Lohan before the weight loss and drugs? Or Emma Stone-Cold-Fox, though I wish she'd cover them with makeup less. (Tangent: I know freckles are sun damage and I wear ALL the sunblock when I spend time outdoors.)

Men and boys online talk about not liking women whose thighs touch, and I have to assume that's code for gay or necrophiliac. People love to rant about Lena Dunham's despicably fleshiness, too. I haven't seen the show, but she looks to be a straight-size woman in pictures I've seen, and I think her fleshiness is very like mine. (I mean to post the picture of her eating cake naked when I'm not on a work computer.) Or the people who railed at Kate Winslet's fat naked self onscreen in Titanic. (Whaaat??) And I am confused because everyone I've ever met socially would LOVE to see me naked. Yeah, I'm narcissistic, but I'm not lying.

And to all the women using pregnancy as the only justifiable excuse to accept stretch marks, screw you. I got my stretch marks at puberty, across my widening hips and thighs and burgeoning bosom. And those are good things. My figure is fucking fabulous, and so are the marks that come with it, all gifts of growth into womanhood. (And now maybe there needs to be said something about stretch marks from gaining fat, but I'm not sure what exactly. I think they look awesome whatever the reason.)

Sometimes self esteem is not always about making peace with my own flaws because I do not and have never seen any of these as flaws. Sometimes it requires lacking a give-a-damn that a vocal minority of people online (never IRL in my experience) don't like my adorable freckles, banging curves, or the stretch marks upon them.

Has anyone else had this experience? I wonder what women's self esteem would be like if we somehow missed more of these messages.

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