Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Real women are strong women

I saw something once that really frustrated me (for more reason than one). It said something to the effect of "Girls who are naturally skinny are lucky. Girls who have to fight to be skinny are strong"

First of all, I hate that women feel like the have to be a certain way. That in itself is complete crap. But on top of that, this statement frustrated me because I am probably one of those girls that, looking at me, you would think I am a lucky one. I have always been on the thinner side, even in those times I thought I was as big as a house. But in reality, I don't feel "lucky".

Sure, it is nice to have people complement your figure, tell you how beautiful you are, but after a while, you feel like that is all you have become. A body.  A pretty face.

I don't feel lucky to be constantly so concerned with my body and what size my clothes are. I don't feel lucky to have once struggled so much with eating that I tried losing more weight than I could afford. And now, because of that, this is just the state of my body. I will always be small. Does this mean I am not a strong person because I am "lucky" to be thin? The grass is not always greener.

And then there is the argument about "real women". We need real women models, not these skinny models that do not portray reality. No one is that size. While I understand the sentiment in statements such as this, and it is important to display women of more shapes and sizes than just thin, what does that say to those models? To women that maybe are that size? Are they less of a woman because they have bought into the lies of the culture, because they believed too much that they needed to be thin to be beautiful? Are they not real, too?

If you are a woman who is confident in your body, confident with your size, then truly, I applaud you. It does indeed take great strength to rise above the lies that society tells us as women, and to embrace the body that you are blessed with. And sure, we all have good days and bad days, but you are defeating the body image battle, and it is a beautiful thing. Activists who are out there promoting awareness on this fault of our culture constantly praise celebrities who speak out about loving their "fuller figures", calling them real women, strong women, beautiful women.

And where does that leave those of us who maybe don't love our bodies as much, who maybe relate more to those celebrities who are "too thin"? Feeling weak, 'unreal', and defeated by the body image battle.

Praise God that He has brought me through so much healing that I no longer struggle as much. But let's not forget our sisters (and brothers) who do struggle, who have a hard time seeing that their beauty and worth lies so much beyond a number on a scale. Yes, there is strength in confidence, but there is also strength in the struggle. Strength in the pain, the sorrow, the disgust. Maybe looking at someone and thinking they have it easy because they are thin is not actually true. We are fighting too.

In truth, at the end of the day, we are all fighting. No matter our size, no matter our shape, we are all trying to be beautiful in our own way and learning to love our selves. Some of us are better at it than others, and that is ok. I know people mean well, but maybe instead of just calling some women beautiful and strong and real, remind every person that they are indeed those things and so much more. Even if you may think they simply have more luck.

**Edit: I am aware that many women have been "Photoshopped" in photographs, so that is where the concept of 'real women' may come from, however I think the above is still something that needs to be discussed. Just adding a different perspective to the discussion :) 

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