This is Part 2 of a two-part series. If you missed Part 1, check it out here. Today, Goodwin finishes up her discussion on impossibly destructive beauty standards. Get ready for frank observations about her experience in the dating world, as well as considerations for the old maxims of “when you look good you feel good”, and “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
By: Cassie Goodwin
Let me put my “person who likes the ladies” hat on, and tell you what those of us who like looking at women DO notice. There was a girl a little while ago that I had a brief crush on, but we’ve since lost touch. She was pretty big – in fact, at first I felt she might be a little too big for my taste. I know, fat girl throwing stones, but it is what it is. However, once I started talking to her, other things overwhelmed that initial impression. She had a habit of saying, “Gee, whillikers!” and “Jimminy Cricket!” in all seriousness, and looking perplexed when I laughed my arse off. She had enormous bright blue eyes, that could look entirely innocent or deeply wicked depending on her mood. She wore gorgeous fifties style dresses with big swishy skirts, and was delightfully and unashamedly femme. She also had quite…er…bountiful breasts. Apart from those particular fat deposits, I couldn’t tell you where else she was carrying weight specifically. I could sketch her overall shape for you, but I don’t recall ever specifically noticing if her arms wobbled when she waved them around at all.
As I said, we have now lost touch, by which I mean I stopped calling her. And you know what? It was nothing to do with her weight, nothing to do with her possibly flabby arms, nothing to do with how much weight she may or may not have been carrying on her belly. She was just…boring. By our third date I realised we had very little to talk about, because she was actually rather dull. So I stopped calling her.
Now it would be pretty hypocritical of me to say that appearance doesn’t matter at all. I write a beauty blog after all, and all the products I’ve discussed and reviewed over there are designed to make you more visually appealing. What I am saying is that these products are only any good if they make you feel better about yourself. I know I FEEL prettier with a nice nail polish on, and mascara, and a nice subtle lipstick. It’s how I FEEL about myself that people notice. They might notice that I’m wearing a new lipstick, but they’ll notice it because my confidence gained by feeling pretty makes them look. If I walk into the office wearing a new lipstick and a black mood, the mood is what people notice.
Arm cinchers, butt squeezers, and body contorters might make some people feel good temporarily, but they don’t enhance your body – they disguise it. Which means you end up stressing about what happens when the disguise comes off. Remember that scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary when she takes the guy home, but she’s wearing her big grannie panties, and she gets all embarrassed? For Jones, it ends up working out okay, despite her worries. In fact, I would be willing to bet money that Hugh Grant would have still gone home with her even if her stomach wasn’t squeezed right in. I bet if tested, he wouldn’t be able to tell the damn difference between the squeezing knickers, and sexy ones from the outside. I know my boyfriend can’t.
The last thing women need is another thing to be paranoid about. We’re already supposed to be stressing about our wrinkles, and our pubic hair (or lack thereof), how perky our breasts look, and we’re supposed to add panicking about getting naked because we’ve been walking around in a skinny person suit on top of that?
Screw all of that.
You are not your oily cuticles. You are not your visible pores. You are not that wobbly bit of flesh just under your belly button that never goes away no matter how many crunches you do. You are not your fuzzy upper lip. You are not your dry cracked heels.
You are a whole person. Your skin, your flesh, your hair, your mind and heart – a melding of all these things is what people really see. So forget the spandex, and read a book instead.
Cassie is a thirty something Australian with an enormously chequered past, who can be found spouting her endless opinions all over the internet. Her opinions are largely confined to The Reluctant Femme at present, but if you feel like you need a constant stream of it, she can also be found on Twitter (@anwyn)