Monday, June 19, 2006

the pretty issue

i wonder how many of us have been in the same situation...

have you ever seen a girl or woman that you thought was gorgeous, and then heard her say, "ug, i'm so fat!" or ask another girl, "how come you're so thin and i'm so ugly?" and wondered what the heck her problem was? or how 'bout this. i played sports in middle and high school, and the girls would stand around the mirror in the locker room after practice and argue about which one of them was the ugliest... and they were all rooting for themselves. one would say, "but my pimples," and another would say, "but my thighs," and another would say, "i'm way too tall," and another would say, "my arm fat is gross," and i just stood there watching these beautiful, athletic girls tear themselves apart, wondering what was going on.

this morning a friend of mine asked me why i disapprove of her new diet/exercise plan that she's trying out. i told her that i don't like the idea that she's rewarding herself according to her dress size. it just seems wrong, especially when i think she's absolutely beautiful. statistically overweight, but beautiful nonetheless.

she went on to tell me about how unhappy she is, about how all she thinks about is exercising and losing weight, about how she hates getting ready in the morning because she doesn't like the way she looks, about how she can walk into a meeting and know that everyone in there is her friend, but still feel too big and think "everyone's looking at me because i'm too big."

now, she's not stupid. she's not going to get anorexic or anything on me. but what about the girls/women who aren't as smart about their bodies and don't have good friends or good guys to support them?

needless to say, i'm pretty ticked off at society right now for holding women to such an unfair standard. i was reading a magazine last week and i was stunned at the range of products out there... there is a way to fix everything, or at least products that claim to fix everything, which implies that everything needs fixing. that until everything is fixed, a person is incomplete. what is wrong with people? i used to think that girls were just fishing for compliments when they said stuff like that, but some girls really do think that everyone judges them according to their imperfections. i could probably offer up a dozen of my friends as case studies... each one of them gorgeous, but they just can't see it.

honestly when i hear stuff like that i just get uncomfortable and don't know what to do. saying things like, "no, you're pretty just the way you are!" or, "but look at your shiney hair!" seem so cliche and unsincere. with my closer friends i tell them that i don't like when they talk like that, or i just say, "stop it!" but is that the right thing to do?

i wish i had a pretty stick. i would beat my friends with it relentlessly.


CC said...

Yes, it's a depressing thought. A few years after I graduated high school, a friend of mine told me that she had had an eating disorder throughout high school. What's worse, she said that almost every girl in our class had an eating disorder. Apparently, it was so prevalent that cliques were forming around which disorder you had; the "cool" girls had anorexia and the "uncool" girls had bulimia.

Somehow, I got through high school completely clueless about this, but from what the other guys from high school I've mentioned this to have said, I'm not alone in this. None of us had any clue. Sadly, I suspect this means that your friends probably won't get any advice, support, or encouragement of any value from the guys in their lives unless they're willing to bring it up to them. It's a rare guy who can pick up on it and do something about it.

That means your support is probably all the more important. They're lucky to have someone with perspective who cares enough to notice. This is one of the many reasons we're so proud of you. ;-)

nerdy said...

it's not just guys that are clueless about these things... i found out that some girls in my graduating class were anorexic too, and i had no idea. i always thought that they were so strong and down-to-earth. that's amazing that the eating disorders formed cliques. the fact that people had support from their friends to be unhealthy... wow.

thanks for your comment. it's nice to know that someone reads this. :)