Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Barbie blues

Yesterday i posted the first of these posters onto Facebook.  Like most of my facebook comments it was done in the spur of the moment. I came across the poster, it resonated with me and i decided to post it.  I didnt really think about it too much.  I often think that facebook is like a stream of consciousness dialogue whereas my blog requires real conscious thought.  So I posted it.  It is not really a secret that i dont like barbie.  I dont look like Barbie at all.  I have never really identified with her.  And i think i need to thank my mom that i didnt really feel bad about it.

I have always been overweight.  Check me out in my preschool photos and i am the kid who is plump.  But the thing is i never grew up feeling plump or inferior or anything.  I grew up feeling just great.  My mom screwed up a lot of things but on self esteem building she scored an A+.  She didnt tell me everyday that she thought that i was wonderful. She didnt have to. I knew that she thought i was wonderful and beautiful.  I knew it as surely as i knew the sky was blue.

As i grew older, thankfully much older i got more exposed to negative messaging about my appearance and my body.  The thing that really got me was that most of this negativity was not from a positive stance.  It didnt tell me in a factual way that being overweight was unhealthy or would effect my body in the following ways.  Most of it just came from the slant that you:
  • Cant be happy, gorgeous and fabulous if you are not perfectly thin, have a straight nose and clear skin.
  • That you will not be accepted, that you wont be loved, get married, have kids if you dont look perfect.
  • That you have to fit this predestined idea of what is attractive.
I tried.  I spent a lot of my adolescence trying hard to fit the mould, be prettier, be thinner, be BETTER!

But then one day i stopped and looked around me and realised some things:
  • I was pretty happy.  I actually liked my life.  I was still overweight but i didnt think about it all the time.  I was married.  He seemed to really love me.  We had great kids.  We had great sex and it was not all about how i looked.
  • There were lots of other thin people out there that were not that happy, even though they fit the mould.
  • In my social work practice i also realise that there were a lot of really beautiful women out there who got treated like real crap by their partners.  That even if they looked really hot in lingere their partners still were unfaithful.
And it was like exhaling.  It doesnt mean that i dont want to lose weight.  It doesnt mean that i dont see a great dress and think "I wish i could squeeze my ass into that!!!"  But i think it and it is over.

The hard thing for me now is not to judge others who are a different stage in their lives.  I am not really a make up, high heels, blow dry your hair kind of girl.  Okay, i am not at all.  If you see me in full war paint, it means one of three things:
  • I am at a funeral or wedding.
  • I am at a job interview.
  • I am on a real wild party night (which with almost 3 kids is never and normally involved a swipe of lipstick and mascara!)
I will admit it:  I went on a date with my husband and had to look for 20 mins to find my make up bag (I only carry lipstick in my bag for emergencies!)

So it becomes so easy for me to judge others who spend huge amounts of time on their appearances.  As much as they probably judge me for not spending huge amounts of time on my appearance. Go figure!

I got some flak yesterday.  It turned into a typical bimbo versus slob fight.  Which pissed me off.  And then saddened me a lot.  Because i often wonder what drives women to turn on each other as much as we do.

But at least i left the whole thing feeling more sure of who i am, and who i want my daughter to be.  I dont mind if she is beautiful.  I know that she will be.  Breathtaking to me.  But i want her to know that no matter what she looks like she is worthy, fantastic, that she can never be insignificant to me.

Thanks Mom.


  1. Goose-bump post! Was really a nice read - from the heart, keep it up!


  2. Ever since the kids left I have battled with my weight. I gave up almost everything but to no avail. I get a lot of exercise chasing my grand kids around, and am beat at the end of the day. Still, the weight stays on.

    So I give up - I am going to keep drinking a cup of flavored coffee every day and keep using my breville coffee maker.