My good friend the Psych Major and her husband are known for this. They don’t hold back and will tell people “You’re fat” when asked. This causes a bit of strife with my other friends, as they call them narcissistic and think that the only thing that matters is physical appearance. Having known the Psych Major for her entire adult life, nothing could be further from the truth. She’s a loving, kind, gentle and understanding person. She just also calls a spade a spade and isn’t going to sugar coat it to make you feel better. If you ask her, she’ll tell you that you’re overweight. She won’t call you a fatty and bully you, but she’ll give it to you straight. I’m overweight and I know this. This is why I’ve chosen to work with a dietician and start a diet and exercise program to help me get in shape, make better food choices, etc. I’m not doing it because I feel I need to lose weight to please the masses, I want to set a good example for my children. Personally, I think we should all stop making excuses and get up off of the couch and focus on our health (not so much the size on our pants), myself included, even if it’s just 10 minutes of walking and drinking more water. But do I think we need to shame people through bullying and name calling? Nope. Not all women are built to be thin. Some people are going to be curvy, some thin, and some women are going to be thrilled to death that they’ve reached their skinny size of 20. When I read that Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t sell clothes in women’s L or XL sizes so overweight people couldn’t wear their gear, I was shocked. I also realized that as a thin teenager I could never have owned a shirt from there, as my DD cup chest has never fit in a shirt smaller than a large.
But I have noticed for years that it’s considered socially acceptable to shame women for wanting to look nice. I wear makeup. I don’t do pounds of foundation, or even lipstick, but I do play up my eyes a lot and my makeup collection is in a huge trunk. I do it for me, because I like to look nice when I go out in public. Much like food, presentation is important and I think there’s something to be said for a person who puts themselves together. I have my bummy days, but I like to look nice when I go out in public. However, I will constantly read people say things like “Oh, she’s obviously more comfortable with herself because she doesn’t wear makeup or worry about clothes, etc.” or I’ll see people lying about how they never wear makeup while watching them put on their mascara. It’s almost like it’s some sort of sin to wear makeup. Women appear damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we don’t wear makeup, then we’re some kind of pinko-femminazi, but if we do wear it, clearly we have crippling low self esteem and need it to feel some kind of self-worth.
I don’t understand why women should feel ashamed for wanting to take care of themselves. I may pray to Bath and Body Works and the L’Oreal corporation and use various products to help keep my skin hydrated and my face looking fresh, but I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to keep myself looking and feeling good. Obviously it’s working, as I know people who are younger than me who have been called my mother. If you’re not a makeup person, that’s cool, stay true to who you are, but there is no reason to belittle the women who enjoy make up and pedicures either. We should do what we feel most comfortable with to feel good about ourselves, whether it’s sweats and a t-shirt or dressed to the nines. But much like shaming someone for their weight, we shouldn’t shame someone for wanting to look nice either.
Every woman is different. Their comfort level is different. Their style of dress and how they wear their hair is different. Let’s embrace these differences and enjoy them without bullying each other. Honesty and shaming are different. Telling a friend, “I wouldn’t personally wear that eye shadow” or “You’re overweight” is totally different from shaming someone into making a good food choice or for wearing lip gloss. Do what works for you and let them do what works for them.