Welcome to the blog post I almost didn't write. Because the thing about having a blog is that there's a real danger of becoming soap box preachy and that's not really what I'm about. I'm usually much more interested in making people laugh or basically discussing relatively fun, painless, sometimes wildly inappropriate stuff. Fifty Shades movie? Hell yes! It's the joke that practically tells itself. Ghostbusters banter? I'm totally in! How Anne Rice is, and always will be, my Gothic American Idol? Sho nuff. But when it comes to bullying people on the internet and fat shaming women into thinking they're not good enough... well, generally I'd avoid these subjects like the plague. I don't write because I want to change the world or stoke the flames of controversy, I simply enjoy putting something out there that people might enjoy. (Well that and I can't NOT write, so I may as well just do it right?) So, when I woke up yesterday and decided that maybe I had bit off more than I could chew by wanting to address the new Lane Bryant ad with curvy girls prancing around in their undies for fear of things getting far too serious up in here, I was then inundated by the Human Beings Can Really Suck gem of the day that made me rethink my rethinking. Apparently Pink (the singer) is being lambasted on social media for gaining some weight and being fat. You know Pink? The woman who did an entire world tour swinging from the rafters Cirque du Soleil style in nothing but a body stocking and a smile? The one who wrote the anthem (Fuckin') Perfect about embracing what God gave you and female empowerment? Pink, the gloriously unapologetic badass who could leap up on your back and crack your skull with her thighs just because she CAN? Yes. THAT Pink.
Apparently she went on a bit of a break and gained a few pounds and now the trolls are out in full force. (Above is the exact picture that started the whole controversy btw.)
What the hell is happening people? It's NOT okay.
So, let me attempt to start from the beginning.... Last week while watching the news I came across the story about Lane Bryant's new I'm No Angel ad, a bare bones black and white commercial showcasing a bevy of big, beautiful women in nothing but their underwear, expounding that they're happily nothing like their size zero Angel counterparts over at Victoria's Secret. My initial reaction was a resounding "huzzah!" since I was thrilled to see these sexy ladies showcased so nicely on network TV. My next thought was actually of my son and what he would've thought of the commercial. Now, my son is only eight, so he would most likely have ignored the thing entirely, asked for more apple juice, and then went back to playing Minecraft. But I was thinking more of my future son. My hypothetical man, as it were. Because someday soon he'll have a very clear opinion about what he finds attractive and not attractive in a woman and I'll be right there watching it happen, front row center -- whether I like it or not.
I've often asked myself over the years whether or not I personally have a predilection for more voluptuous figures because I myself have always been curvy. I'm consistently attracted to an hourglass shape, with boobs and hips to spare. Hollywood versions of this type would include people like Sophia Vegara, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Christina Hendricks, and Kim K's ass. Although in reality, these women are far from large by any stretch, they've been chosen as the acceptable depiction of what a beautiful curvy woman is today, and I guess it's better than nothing. Small battles. Tiny victories. I'll take what I can get. Still, as I happily watched half a dozen zaftig ladies prance around in their skivvies, I couldn't help but wonder what the male reaction was to the whole thing.
I should point out that we do this a lot, my girlfriends and I. We often have in-depth conversations amongst ourselves and wish we could hear the male perspective on the matter. And by male perspective we mean one that doesn't belong to our husbands and/or significant others. These men are livin' far too close to the flames to answer these kind of inquiries honestly. They know too much. They've seen waaaayyyy too much. There's no way for them not to be internally editing their responses for content, realizing full well they may end up in the dog house or at least on the couch depending on the amount of wine we've imbibed, what direction the wind is blowing that day, or even THEIR STUPID FACE. With all due respect, bitches be crazy. What can I say? I have no real defense.
Therefore, in light of all this, I decided it was much safer to go to my male friends and ask them how they felt about the plus size ladies of Lane Bryant selling their nearly naked wares on national television, and the replies I got were extremely enlightening, devastatingly honest, and pretty clear cut. (Thanks guys! You're all aces.) The men I spoke to all said that they didn't really give a shit about a woman's size. In point of fact, none of them even knew what the average woman in America's size is right now (with the exception of one correct second guess that was just that -- a guess). And one hundred percent of them said the women in the commercial were attractive. Further, the general consensus was that confidence is a turn on, no matter what the shape and size of the package and that if they're interested in a woman they're simply interested. Nothing more. Nothing less. They don't really think about it too much, or obsess about it, or ask anyone's opinions on the matter -- it just is what it is.
To quote Keanu Reeves in the Matrix -- "Whoa."
But LADIES, if you're listening, here's the rub... One hundred percent of the men I surveyed also said that they believe that other women are to blame for a large portion of the vitriol and negativity out there. In fact, the terms jealous, catty, judgmental, and hateful were all used when asked if they thought that women were harder on other women than men. And, as a card carrying woman myself, this particular information, while not all that surprising, was hard to digest. When did that happen? More importantly, why did it happen? Where did it all go so horribly wrong?
And here's where I do that thing that I was so worried about back at the beginning -- here comes my inevitable soap box tirade, no holds barred, Jennie from the block, kumbaya style: Male or female, size is the insecurity you can never hide. It's out there for all the world to see at all times, plain and clear. But no one is perfect and we all have things about ourselves we'd like to change. We're all humans and we're all exquisitely, irreparably flawed in ways we can see and in many ways we can't. So, from now on, why not think a little bit more before we speak? Why not be more aware of what we put out there into the world? Why not try to be more confident, for no other reason but it feels really damn good? Why not just do things that make us happy and not worry so much about what everyone else thinks? Why not surround ourselves with people who care about us for who we are rather than how we look? Own it like a Lane Bryant underwear model my friends! Because the fact of the matter is that skinny or fat, tall or short, curly or straight, blonde, red, gray, or brunette -- life is way too short to give anyone else the power to bring you down.
Can I get an AMEN? A high five? A slightly encouraging head nod? I'll take it!
Oh, and, for the love of God, leave Pink alone. Because she has people who can find out where you live. Don't say I didn't warn ya'.