I wrote a blog post about my thighs. I hated it. I added lots of disclaimers, checking my privilege and mentioning "bigger issues in the world."
I still hated it.
I'd felt I made progress because I hadn't thought about my thips in a long time, and didn't give a shit anymore, because
A) I'm more self-accepting.
B) There are bigger things to worry about in the world, and who has time to give a f*ck about thips?
Here's what I'm thinking now:
A) If I'm more self-accepting, why did I feel the need for all the disclaimers?
Great, I'm not judging my body anymore. Now I've replaced my self-judgment about my body with self-judgment about my privilege.
B) If there are bigger problems in the world, why am I focusing on my thips in the first place?
I appreciate all the big butt songs. It's a step, but whether we're saying it's too big or awesomely big, WE'RE STILL FOCUSING ON WOMEN'S BODIES.
Here's some of the original post, with commentary:
Yes, there are bigger problems in the world and I don’t blame you if you’d rather read about Russian cover-ups than my swimsuit cover-ups. (That was my attempt at a disclaimer. Way to get people to want to waste time reading this.)
But if you wanna digest some Sheltered-Manhattanite-turned-wanna-be-woke-Silverlaker nonfiction, I'll feed you a snack: (Could I be more self-deprecating?)
From a remarkably early age, I hated my thighs. It was really the whole thigh-hip-butt area I wanted to “disown,” as the self-helpers say. I had “thips,” as the self-deprecators say.
I wasn’t overweight and my thips weren’t huge. They just seemed out of proportion to the rest of my body, especially if I tried to wear Jordache or Calvin Klein. All the good jeans that made you kool-in-kindergarden (It was that early!) were either too tight in the hips or too big in the waist. And this was before any Kardashians or Beyoncé. (Details and references from the past and present. Barf.)
I wish I’d had the foresight to say to myself “just wait 20 to 30 years. You’ve got thips before they’re cool. Not to mention, you will have more important things to worry about. And a mom pooch.” (See, I make a joke but it's still pointing out another body part.)
I wore a uniform when I switched to a WASPy all-girls' school, but the upper east side thighs there were even skinnier than jewesses' at my elementary school. Especially in P.E., where the uniform included little shorts, but you could still wear your tiny bloomers from lower school if you wanted to. (Is this all boring and sad?)
I’m sure girls who were actually overweight wanted to kick my not-so-fat ass when they heard me complain about my body. But this was seriously an issue for me. (There's my "inner judge" wanting to kick my own ass.)
In high school there would be the occasional weekend away (with boys!) at someone's friend's parents' Hampton's house where the parents were away and it wasn't clear who was supposed to be in charge of us. Was it the housekeeper? The guy staying in the pool house? (This has nothing to do with the point of the post.)
I already checked my privilege. Let whoever owned that house check his privilege. Never mind, he's probably in jail. Or Washington. (This is an attempt at a joke while also "checking my privilege.")
Point is, I dreaded the swimming portion. It was ridiculous. I’d quickly remove my thip-cover -- shorts or sarong, place a towel close to where I was going to exit the water, and jump in. Then, when I got out, I’d pray nobody saw my thips before I immediately covered them up. I’d be like “Brrrr...I’m cold! Thank god there’s a towel right here!”
That was my sleek move.
After college I dated a guy who was born a white Jew from the upper west side but hung out with a group of kids from “PR” and spoke with a Puerto Rican accent. When I found out we grew up four blocks from each other and knew a lot of the same kids, I said, “I can’t believe we never met.” And he said, “Why would we have met? You and me -- we from two different worlds.” (This really happened. Not sure if it fits with my point but I can't mention him without mentioning that story.)
I was kind of offended. I knew he thought "his world" was cooler than mine. Also, WE WERE FROM THE SAME F*CKIN' WORLD OF WHITE PRIVILEGED KIDS WHO EITHER HATED THEIR BODIES OR HATED THEMSELVES FOR BEING WHITE AND PRIVILEGED. (Oh, maybe this is what my point is. Ok.)
The PR culture he’d adopted had a more celebrate-yourself attitude.
He once told me that he’d told his friends about me -- specifically, that I had “nice, thick thighs.”
I was horrified. Not because he was focused on my body instead of my feminist brain. All I could hear was “thick thighs.” It didn’t occur to me that “thick thighs” could be “nice.” (I think I was actually uncomfortable that he was talking about my body to them, but I'm just realizing this now.)
I was really bummed. If "his world" was about acceptance and being who you are, my world was about picking things to hate about myself.
Now I really wish I could go back and say to my young self: YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY.
WHETHER YOU LIKE YOUR THIPS/ASS/TITS OR HATE THEM, STOP IDENTIFYING YOURSELF BY THEM.
"Shake whatcha mama gave ya."
That shouldn't be just about body parts.
Let's celebrate what other people have, but also do the best with what we got.
In other words, "DON'T FRONT." (Here's the point. Whether it's your butt or your background, don't try to cover up what you are -- it makes it seem wrong. Don't make it wrong.)
I'm not sure whether I'll edit this again. I hope not. "It's time to move on to bigger issues in the world."