Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guest Post -How do we see others? Ourselves?

Today we have a guest post from my very own mum! You might remember I publicly called her out for criticizing another woman's body on my Facebook page. Well, she had a few things to say! I have been bugging her for ages for a blog post because she's super fit, healthy and she proofreads way better than I do - if only I had known that a public call-out was all I had to do to get her writing! So check out what Pamela Jansen, my mum, has to say: (I included a picture of my mum and step-dad ice-dancing's awesome! how many mums ice dance??)

Recently Julia posted about commenting on other people’s physiques in a negative manner and I think she was right on – we shouldn’t, ever.

There is an old saying about not judging someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes.   It’s true.   Their story, whatever it is, is not my story, or anyone else’s.   If you see someone who you think is really overweight, what possible good can it do to comment on it and, as a lovely young friend of mine has pointed out, how do you know that that person hasn’t just lost 100 pounds.   You don’t know.

If someone is way too muscly for your liking that doesn’t mean that they neglect their family, don’t eat well, lecture others on weight, or are completely fanatical about not gaining an ounce.   They just might be an extreme athlete of some sort and following a passion, they might have a family history of illness that scared the s**t out of them and have decided to be strong to help them stay healthy forever.   You don’t know.

The bigger question is why do we feel the need to put someone down, in any way, but in this discussion by commenting about their body.

We have become such an image/body conscious society and as a result I think most of us are unhappy with all or some of our bodies.  For some it seems like the only way to feel better is to think someone else has at least as many if not more problems than we think we do.   By saying something out loud (and online is loud) we are trying to make ourselves feel better – we don’t weigh as much, or don’t have such “masculine” muscles, we don’t have anorexia etc. 

It’s been said a gazillion times before, but Hollywood, magazines and fashion models all make us feel “less” and it’s gone on for so long that those of us alive today really don’t know much else.   Our mothers felt the pressure, we as mothers felt the pressure, our daughters feel it and I see it my friends’ grandchildren too.   Heck even young men are feeling pressured about their bodies like they’ve never been before.

I applaud the magazines and fashion designers who are starting to use “real” people as models, but there is a long way to go and really with a very few exceptions the models are still pretty slim and pretty in a conventional way.  I have seen Chatelaine magazine (Canadian mag) use some pretty normal folks in some of their fashion spreads and I have to say they have done really great job of showcasing the clothes and the women.  BUT even they haven’t done it often enough and most don’t do it all.

And don’t get me started on older women – I’ll save that for a later guest post, but really how often do you seen a woman over 50 modelling anything?

As women, if we could only learn to love the body we have – whatever it is and accept that we are all different inside and out, our lives would be so much better.   I say this – I don’t always live it.   There are days when I look at my body and cringe.   I see the looser skin as I age, the wrinkles, the cellulite and I am pissed off – I want to be that tall, thin, young thing I once was.   Then I remember that yes, I was younger, but I was never tall and thin.   I was pretty much what I am today, only now I’m not young, but I am smarter, stronger and healthier than ever.  

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