Warning: I’m feeling a bit ranty. If you disagree with this post, please don’t take it as a judgement or personal attack. I use my blog as an outlet for random thoughts and this is one of those posts.
I’ve been seeing these adverts all over on Instagram lately. Adverts for body shaping solutions, basically either absolutely massive pants that go from your thigh to your ribcage or else modern day corsets. Like this (just one example):
Corsets? Yes, you read that right
I mean seriously, that what that contraption is right? Its a corset.
Here we are in the 21st century over a hundred years since Victorian and Edwardian corseting went out of fashion. Since then we’ve had female emancipation, the vote, the support of nations through wars by their women (not for the first time), equal workers rights, burning bras, the arrival of a sense of women working after they have kids as “normal”, upheaval to rape law (can you believe it used to be legal for a man to rape his wife?), and the “me too” movement. Our forebears and members of our own generation have been through these huge fights so that we can grow up and live in a much more equal and fair world than came before.
Everywhere I look, there are memes and reminders that the only one who’s opinion on your body shape that matters is you. Big is beautiful, freckles are gorgeous, killer curves, going grey naturally. Initial acceptance and eventual admiration of our quirks and individualities are the natural results of women’s empowerment.
So how have we got to this?
Our bodies are ours
I’m sure I could point fingers at where the templates come from for these tiny-waisted, massive-arsed silhouettes. I’m not going to, because it doesn’t matter where the example is set. My point isn’t that these shapes are inherently wrong.
My point is that who cares what shape our bodies are!
My body is pretty slim and boyish, and that’s fine. Your body might be hourglass shaped, that’s OK. You body might be round and squidgy, that’s absolutely perfect.
Why are we being sold these “solutions” to make our bodies into something they aren’t?
There is nothing anyone can do to make my body into that hourglass shape and I don’t like the feeling that I ought to want to be that shape. I don’t want to. All these ideas about how a “perfect” body – whether its tiny or curvy, fair skinned, or blemish free – will lead to happiness are just a bunch of crap. Our happiness doesn’t depend on the number on the scales or the tags on our clothes, or on the ratio of our “vital statistics”.
Paying attention to, or worse being influenced by, these ideas of the perfect body undermine all that hard work for equality and fairness.