clevermanka: default (feh-muh-nist)
[personal profile] clevermanka
There is a war on women in our society. Yes, there is. If you think there isn't, that systemic misogyny isn't a real thing, that women aren't an oppressed group, that things really aren't so bad for us, that we should be happy with the progress that we've made, and that we need to just settle down already geez, you can seriously GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY JOURNAL. I don't have the time or energy for that because I already spend too much of my time and energy FIGHTING OTHERS LIKE YOU EVERY DAY.

Okay, that said (whew!), here is a lighthearted but infuriating video clip that illustrates in two instances just how women and women's bodies are erased and/or objectified.

I had a realization a few days ago about bodies, body image, and how much I still care about how people perceive me. After I posted the thing about the creeps, I was struck with the realization that my frustration-anger-despair over my wobbly midsection was totally and completely dependent on what people like that (i.e. douchebags) think of me. I have been beating myself up for years (YEARS!) over the opinion of utter and complete jerks. The people who matter to me, who love me, whom I think are awesome--they don't care that I'm carrying an extra couple inches around my middle. They don't care that my thighs rub when I walk or that I have to wear bloomers or buy that anti-chafing stuff if I want to comfortably walk around in a dress on a really hot day. They don't care. Who does care? Who does care that my upper arms are not perfectly smooth and lean? Who does care that my belly is soft and hangs over the top of my jeans? DOUCHEBAGS. Douchebags care about those things.

It took me thirty-some years to internalize the knowledge that I've been caring about the opinion of douchebags in regards to my own body. WHAT A FUCKING WASTE.

In a glorious circumstance of serendipity, this post showed up on my Tumblr dash that very evening.

And just like that, I've decided no more. I don't fucking care about douchebag opinions of my body. I don't fucking care if they think I shouldn't be wearing these jeans or that dress or this bathing suit. Fuck them. They aren't important to me, so why are their opinions? Answer: THEY AREN'T ANYMORE.

This is not to say I'm not continuing my efforts to relieve my abdominal swelling issues, because that shit is uncomfortable and physically exhausting and I'll be honest, it is a pain in the ass (also logistically difficult) to maintain a stylish and professional wardrobe that appeals to me in two different sizes. It's unfortunate, but I just don't like stretch pants or elastic waistbands enough to live in them every day.

But am I going to allow the opinions of people I actively dislike to determine how I feel about the shape of my body?




Fuck no. No. Not anymore. Not ever again.

Date: 2014-03-13 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mckitterick.livejournal.com
This is *insert hyperbole-that-isn't-hyperbole-but-there-are-no-words here*

I want to share this broadly, because it's important for everyone to see. I want to tell everyone how proud I am to be your partner. But I suspect you don't want this LJ to be associated with you-as-the-real-person. Maybe post the whole thing on Tumblr so other can reblog it?

Date: 2014-03-13 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Let me see what I can do to clean it up and anonymize it. Thanks!

Date: 2014-03-13 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msmitti.livejournal.com
This really, really is an awesome post and I think it would be great if you shared it more broadly. It resonated with me, though I do admit I am afraid to examine my own feelings about others' opinions about me too closely. This is something for all of us to be aware of though.

Kudos to you.

Date: 2014-03-13 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Thanks! I don't know if I'm going to be able to edit it down today, but I hope to have a share-able version before the weekend.

Date: 2014-03-13 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 1-rhiannon-1.livejournal.com
*applause* That Tumblr post is epic :D

Date: 2014-03-13 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saffronhare.livejournal.com
Please to imagine me throwing my granny panties onto your stage in the friendliest possible manner.

Date: 2014-03-14 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sherwood21.livejournal.com
FUCK YEAH. You are the only person that has a right to like or dislike the way your body looks.

Also, that video clip is amazing on pointing out the ridiculous.

Date: 2014-03-14 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Isn't it just? SO RIDICULOUS.

Date: 2014-03-14 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
GOOD FOR YOU!!! YESSSS!!!

*fistbump*

Date: 2014-03-19 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Thanks! It feels good. I wore leggings with a short sweater today (one that doesn't quite cover my ass) and I'm like FUCK Y'ALL. So my ass is hanging out there. I'm comfortable and ain't nobody in the office today so who needs to look professional.

Yep. FEELS GOOD.

Date: 2014-03-19 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redheadfae.livejournal.com

Now *that's* a big step.

I dunno how I missed this post, other than timing.

Recently, I made an effort to really look at other women that I admire and think of as Very Attractive, with particular attention to their waistlines, as a comparison, and guess what? I'd never noticed that most of them are one of several packages of awesome:

They are, indeed, Big Women and I just don't notice because they are so awesome.
or
They have a gut as well..just like mine, or larger.. and I NEVER NOTICED it.
or
They fall into neither category but have some body bits that they don't like or feel shy over, or "less than".. and again.. I NEVER NOTICED until THEY TALK ABOUT IT.





Date: 2014-03-19 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Isn't it amazing the restrictions and criticisms we put on ourselves? THANK YOU SOCIETY. FUCK YOU SOCIETY.

Date: 2014-03-19 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redheadfae.livejournal.com

I don't get nearly as angry at society about it as I do my own mother, I suppose I didn't recognize that her harping on my appearance was a result of her caving to societal ingraining.

I don't know how I managed to escape those societal influences..other than not giving a rat's ass from the very beginning. Alas, most of my criticism of my self comes in my mother's voice.

The first time she saw my curvature of belly as I reached up, she actually poked me in the belly while exclaiming "What is THAT?!"

For years and years, I thought I had "awful droopy boobs" just because I couldn't proudly "pass a pencil test" like her. I was relieved to finally find out that my boobs were NORMAL for their size.

Date: 2014-03-19 07:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-03-20 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-lucky-nun.livejournal.com
This made me laugh and cringe and laugh some more. All I can do is laugh. I'm exhausted. Thanks for linking back to this post, because I missed it the first time around.

Date: 2014-03-20 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Glad to hear it moved you! Seems a lot of people missed it the first time around.

Date: 2014-03-20 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I sure did, and yours is one of the few individual journals I visit to read back. You know, so I don't miss things, particularly when I don't visit LJ for a few days. So THAT appears to be working perfectly. :-/

But yes, WITH YOU. You know I am. I have hated and tortured myself for most of my life because of those fucking assholes. It's ingrained, but I've been working on it for a couple of years, and I'm getting better.

Date: 2014-03-20 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
I'm glad I mentioned it in a second post.

Here's to getting better. I think it'll be a lifelong effort, but so, so worthwhile.

Date: 2014-03-20 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
No doubt it will be a lifelong effort, and it will be easier on some days and in some environments than others, but yes, well worth it.

Date: 2014-03-20 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pointoforigin.livejournal.com
I did miss this the first time around, and I'm not sure why. Probably a combo of music practice and being depressed and not on top of things. I actually got tears in my eyes when I did read it. It was that moving to me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I think of you as one of the strongest women I know, and I never would have thought that you were afflicted by caring about this crap. I think you are courageous and honest to say that you do, and even more so to declare that you no longer intend to.

I'm trying to separate my real and true personal reasons for dissatisfaction with my body right now--pain and discomfort--from Fear of Douchebags. Because for me, that really is the reason why I care. Fear. A lifetime of being bullied and attacked, sometimes at random out of the blue, when I thought everything was fine, until some asshole decided I could not live without his personal opinion of me, loudly expressed in words and sometimes physical contact. I don't want to please them, or even think about them, but I do wish that I could make myself invulnerable to them.

But here's the thing--there is no way. The whole point of their behavior is to demean and control, so no one, no matter how "perfect," will ever be allowed to escape their scrutiny. The only way out is to stop caring. As you have done, and I salute you! And wouldn't it be great if we could also stop mimicking them as we judge each other? Wouldn't it be great if we could, instead, support each other in all our variegated courage and beauty? I think the thoughts and experiences you record on this blog go a long way toward helping create such a world.

And THANK YOU for acknowledging that systemic misogyny exists. It is such a relief to not have to fight that battle every damn place I go or read.

Date: 2014-03-20 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
I never would have thought that you were afflicted by caring about this crap

TBH, I didn't realize how much I was afflicted by caring about this, or how much I cared. I knew that it was important to me how my body was seen by others, but it never sunk in that the people who judge me poorly for my body are assholes. And the accompanying statement to that is that if I judge people for their bodies, then I am an asshole, too.

So no more. No.

Best of luck and wishes to you, overcoming your own Fear of Douchebags.

I think of you as one of the strongest women I know

This is an amazing thing to hear. I just...wow. Thank you. It makes me incredibly proud and humbled at the same time to hear that.

And THANK YOU for acknowledging that systemic misogyny exists. It is such a relief to not have to fight that battle every damn place I go or read.

Have you checked out The Toast (http://the-toast.net/)? It's my new favorite web...magazine? thing? I don't know what you call that sort of site, but it's SO GOOD.

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