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I'm Beth. I'm married to my best friend, and he's pretty awesome. We have two equally awesome kids, Gavin and Sophie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Real Woman?

I may ramble. Well, strike the word may. What makes a real woman? I've been thinking about this since seeing new fan pages on facebook -- real women have curves, real women aren't a size zero...etc. At first thought, I was inclined to "like" these pages. However, I don't really think that's something I want to support. Believe me, I'm all for supporting curvy women and letting bigger girls get past feeling like crap by only seeing stick thin models in magazines. But I was reminded by some thin friends of mine, who are both gorgeous, that being thin doesn't automatically make you happy with your body. Would I feel bad about myself if I saw a friend of mine "like" a page entitled "curvy girls are cows"? YES. Well, maybe girls who aren't "curvy" are offended by these pages that are meant, I guess, to empower bigger women. Probably because from what I've seen, these pages don't celebrate big girls, they bash small ones. Just as us bigger girls hate feeling judged. Maybe it makes them even more insecure than they already may be. While its hard for me to understand the other side, that doesn't mean their body image problems are any less justified than mine. I feel judged, quite a bit. I've been at Target recently and had some skinny woman and her daughter whispering behind me because I was buying junk food for a road trip. Probably thinking, well, she's fat because that's what she eats. That is their view of me, from one sighting. They know nothing about me. Just like you know nothing about the super skinny girl you see and think "oh she must not eat", or comment that she looks like a boy. There are so many things that contribute to a woman's size and shape. And while I think that society as a whole is more inclined to view fat people in a negative light, it doesn't mean that a woman who is a size 2 doesn't get negative feedback. I know women of all shapes and sizes, and for the most part it seems that every one is just as unhappy with their bodies. Especially mothers. I know so many beautiful, talented, sweet, intelligent women who have given birth. And all of them hate something about what pregnancy and childbirth did to their bodies. We see models who have been photo-shopped and airbrushed so much in magazines that they look "perfect", and beautiful. But who decided that their flawless skin and flat belly had to be what was the most beautiful? What about the stretch marks that mean that you gave life to a child? What about some gray hairs? Does that mean you're past your prime? My husband said one of the most wonderful things recently when I was of course stressed over some gray hairs I saw on my head. He said they were beautiful to him. Now that may seem like a line, but he seemed to genuinely mean it when he said that is just a reminder of all the things I have gone through to give him a precious daughter. No doubt the worrying and sickness during my pregnancy and then depression and a difficult baby added to the production of those gray hairs. What if people could learn to love our flaws because of the story they tell? What if you see a woman in the grocery store who's maybe overweight, and her chest looks uneven. What if instead of whispering about her, or looking at her in disgust, you think about the fact that she is a survivor...maybe that woman had breast cancer and had to lose a breast but kept her life? Do you think she minds the way she looks right now, or is she just happy to have beaten that disease? What about the girl you see who is skin and bones? And you talk behind her back about how she must be anorexic, or on drugs. Maybe instead, you realize that maybe she is heartbroken because she has just lost her husband, who was overseas, and because of sacrifices like this, we can live free? I wish we could all stop and think. And see the flaws...the extra weight, the lack of "curves", the gray hairs, bags under eyes, stretch marks...as part of what has shaped that person's life. I'm guilty of judging on first glance. After all, that is what we are programmed to do. But I'm just asking people to think about it. A woman who is a size 2 with a flat chest is no less a woman than her voluptuous neighbor. She is just as capable of love, just as capable of caring for her children...she experiences joy the same, and pain. Its not the outside, but the inside that counts.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4

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