We need to talk
Darlings, we need to talk. We need to talk about the world, and how yours is, and how you can decide what kind of world you want to live in. I’m talking, in particular, about how you think about bodies and yourself.
Now, I live quite a sheltered life, in a way. I don’t read blogs about workouts or dieting or “how to live a healthier life” (which is usually just a different way of saying that the blog is about workouts and dieting). I don’t read tabloids, or gossip pages. I stay away from reality shows. I don’t have to spend time with people who obsess over appearance, or how fit they are, or how many calories or carbs they ate that day. These are choices I’ve made consciously, because I know they won’t do anything good for me. My world is, in short, somewhat gentle when it comes to how it makes me feel. Which is why I get SO FURIOUS, and scared, when I look at the top blogs in Norway nowadays.
I won’t link to anyone, both because I won’t lead you guys there and because I don’t want to single out a poor young blogger (though you can get a general impression here; remember to set the country to Norway). Is this truly the world the majority of young girls and women live in these days? Is this just part of their normal life, something they’re used to, and seek out every single bloody day?
There are endless photos of young bloggers (mostly girls), posing semi-naked and perfectly made up, often with their head cropped out of the photo. Just a body, because that’s all you need to see, right? Hundreds of posts with “healty recipies” – true, some of them are healthy, and I’m all for promoting health, but these blogs aren’t promoting health. They just pretend, while creating one more thing to obsess over, to struggle with. Thousands of posts concerning workouts: how much, how long, how heavy, how many, how exhausting. How you can always get better, and never be good enough.
These are beautiful girls. They are young, they are lovely, they are eager to please. Working on their appearance has become a full-time job, and it gets more and more extreme. A seventeen year old girl (yes, let’s not forget, she is still a girl) blogs about her trip to some warm, exotic country, and frets over how she’s not tan enough yet, and has to spend all day at the beach tomorrow to burn herself properly. Another posts “fitness inspiration”, with pictures of girls with their head cropped out, just a perfectly muscled body, with the words “sweat is fat crying” pasted on top. In capitals.
I worry. I worry for the girls themselves, who seem to feel that their only worth in this world is how they look. How life itself is merely a way of improving on your appearance, where each day must make you a prettier, thinner and fitter version of yourself. I worry for the blog readers, who are fed several posts of this a day – which creates such a flow of impressions that there’s hardly any way you can stop it from affecting you. It sneaks up on you. Girls of sixteen with breast implants. Who burn their skin in tanning machines so their perfect boyfriend won’t be more tan than them. Who count every carb that touch their lips, because that’s just what you’re supposed to do nowadays.
Darlings, this has got to stop. I’m serious. We have to fight this. It’s hurting everyone, and it’s already gone so far that it’ll be extremely hard to change things. But we have to do it. Yeah, you, I’m talking to you. Here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re going to tell everyone listening that nobody owes it to the world to be pretty. We’re going to root for other people, and to make them aware of how wonderful they are. We’ll dare to be imperfect, and do it loudly and proudly. We’ll make sure everybody near us knows the world is about so much more than looks, approval and being good. We’re not going to let anyone talk badly about their bodies. Really, every time someone says something bad about their appearance, we’ll say “honey, you are amazing, and I won’t let you think thoughts like that”. And we’ll look at them and make sure the message sinks in.
We won’t give a single fuck as to what number it says on the tag inside our clothes. We’ll block thinspo from every computer we can get our hands on. We’ll flood everyone we know, even strangers, with body-positive messages. We won’t let even small comments like “ugh, I hate my thighs” pass us by without interfering, stopping, challenging. We’ll remember that every single photo we see in print or online has been photoshopped. We’ll work on our own feelings about ourselves every single day, and we’ll set a new example.
We’ll decide how our world should be, and we’ll banish the things that can darken it and make us feel bad. We’ll simply banish them, and every time they try to sneak their way back in, we’ll kick them out again, and again. And we’ll start right now. This is too important.
Are you with me?