Category Archives: body image

When the political becomes personal

There is a theme on my Fetlife friends list today. It seems to be “let’s discuss our physical appearance” day. Nobody told me. But now that I know, I am going to participate. I am, after all, an advocate of bodily autonomy and a part of the size acceptance movement.

I read a lovely rant by a woman who self-identifies as a bbw. She is happy in her large and lovely body and is unafraid to eat things in public. Even cake. Even a second slice of cake. She is also unafraid to get naked in the dungeon. Because naked kinky times are fun and awesome and she can’t well have them without the “naked” part. To which I say, “Hell Yes!”

Obviously, I agree with being at home in your own skin. No matter what that skin looks like or how much skin there is. Despite what the modern media would have us believe, it’s really great to actually love yourself. As you are. Right now. You don’t need a diet, a self help guru, steroids, or a certain brand of shoes in order to love yourself. If you want those things, great! But they are not prerequisites for self-love. It’s hard in this modern world to just love ourselves. But it’s a really fantastic goal.

I read another rant by a guy whose date was complaining that his date wasn’t confident enough in her appearance. He felt she was fishing for compliments in order to bolster her flagging self-esteem. And he was having no part of that. He didn’t want to date someone who was relying on him for self-esteem. I also agree with that! Self-esteem is, by definition, derived from within. No matter how many people tell you “x”, you may or may not ever believe in “x.” It’s hard, but it’s all up to each of us to decide if we believe “x” about ourselves.

In related news, I started back on hormonal birth control. It’s been years since I have been on any. And one of the likely side effects is weight gain. I was unconcerned. I was much more interested in whether or not I am going to end up with mood swings or spotting. Both of which would be annoying to have to deal with. It’s still worth it not to have to worry about an unintended pregnancy, but it would be annoying. And there is a very very small risk for blood clots. I’m not at much of a risk, but the risk isn’t zero.

I was relating the various things that I was expecting to go through in conjunction with my new anti-pregnancy regime to the men in my life. The Wild Thing listened carefully. He expressed excitement that I would be able to better enjoy my sex life without worrying. He was also confident that I would be able to deal with the things that were potential worries for me. And wanted to know if there was anything he could do in the event I needed support.

The Husband, on the other hand, though he has spent the last year attempting to convince me that he loves my body… well, the only words that came out of his mouth were, “Do you think you will gain any weight?” Color me unconvinced.

I could turn into a weeping mess. A rampaging bitch. And not in the fun way. I could have a stroke. And his first thought was that I might get fatter. I know he loves me, but I don’t think my body is much to his liking any more. Unfortunately for him, I am one of those confident people who is at home in her own skin. No matter how much skin there is.


Musings on capitalism: Inspiration not thinspiration

This lady is pretty amazing. She’s working on a PhD in Human Sexuality Studies, and I am finding her videos are inspiring me to get off my bum and go back to school. There are just so many things we could do better with as society! And since we seem to be a society (at least in the Western/Eurocentric world) that responds well to science… people who are doing work in these fields can potentially make a huge difference in how we live our lives. She is a body image activist. Listening to some of her videos reminds me how lucky I am to be a woman who knows she has value other than how she looks.

Meet Melissa Fabello.

Musings on body image from a very personal perspective

One of my Fetlife friends had a child and got a whole new (larger) body as a result. This isn’t uncommon. I think most women expect that after pregnancy, their body will never be the same. But living it can be a whole different story. Her husband spends almost all his (visible) time on Fetlife loving pictures of very thin young women. His wife is suffering from some terrible self esteem issues right now. I can see it in her posts and their increasingly depressed tone. I can understand where she’s coming from.

They are participating in a fairly public site (in the sense that a large portion of what we do with our Fetlife profiles is visible to friends via our friends feed) that is full of all kinds of naked bodies. And I think that is part of what is bothering her. All kinds. Of all the naked bodies on the site, her husband spends his time loving pictures of naked women… who look nothing like her new, larger body. They don’t play together. And when I see them at the same event, it’s rarely together. They are socializing separately.

I feel her pain. Though I don’t feel at odds with my body now, I have in the past. And we all still have our good days and our bad when it comes to self esteem in relation to our appearance. I have also undergone a relatively sudden body change that caused me to gain a lot of weight rather suddenly then not be able to lose it. And I didn’t even get a kid out of it! It can throw your self-perception for a loop when the person looking back at you from the mirror is not someone you recognize.

I’m all for gaining self esteem from the self. But sometimes we can use a bit of help. Society is hard on almost everyone. When our lovers don’t seem to find us attractive any more, it hurts. And it certainly doesn’t help to boost flagging self esteem.

There was that point several years ago when my body suddenly changed. I happened to find The Husband’s porn stash. (Largely because he left it running on his computer when he left for work and it was somewhat… loud!) I have never been a consumer of porn, so I decided it might be interesting to see what he was into and if it was something we could do together. It was interesting. (In that some of the things therein were things I could see myself adapting to be more realistically doable, but don’t get me started on how horrid most femdom porn is) But it also became increasingly distressing. Even the still pictures were all of these slender women with large implants who looked nothing like me.

Much like the sheer variety on Fetlife, porn offers something for everyone. If one wants to find BBW porn, it’s out there. The Husband didn’t have any. I questioned if he actually found my body attractive. This was exacerbated by the fact that I have a very specific “type” that I find attractive. And I have almost never deviated from that type since I first considered boys as more than friends. So it is hard for me to contemplate people being attracted to all physical appearances equally. I have now spoken about it to enough people to think that I’m probably actually the minority. But still…

When I talked to The Husband about it, he said he simply clicked on things he thought were sexy and never thought much about it. (This didn’t help at all, by the way. Did I mention that BBW porn is fairly easy to find on almost any porn site?) We went round and round about it. He didn’t get why I was bothered by this. I tried to explain my feelings and my reasons for thinking he didn’t find me attractive any more. He still didn’t get it. He kept reassuring me that he just went with what he saw and he wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt me.

Well I should hope he wasn’t!

Finally, I asked him what he thought about all the hunky action movie stars. Arnold Schwarzenegger types with a 6 pack and legs the size of a small tree. I did it in the bathroom intentionally. I brought up several more popular actors. I noticed him starting to look at his own body and realize that he was fairly far from that “ideal.” I did this to approximate the message that women are constantly barraged with every moment of every day that if you aren’t young, thin, tan, and enhanced… you are not attractive. I spoke at great length about how my girlfriends were always going on and on about this gorgeous Hollywood actor or another. How the bubblebutt of one actor was stacked up against the bulging biceps of another. I could see him getting a bit more uncomfortable.

I asked him how he would feel if he found a large stash of pictures or pornos featuring exclusively men who looked like that on my computer.

He immediately reminded me that I have always maintained I don’t find that attractive at all. (He’s right, I don’t. And I’m pretty honest about that.)

I said yes. I am always telling you that I think you are handsome. That I think your body is attractive. Now how would you feel finding that porn stash on my computer?

He finally got it.

It was such a departure from what he had always told me he liked. It raised a flood of doubt at a time when I was learning to love a new body.

I hope my Fetlife friend finds the love of her body that I did. I also hope she can find a way to discuss her body issues with her husband. And I hope she can do it in a way that he eventually gets it. And that he can help her love her new body.

And if he doesn’t get it or doesn’t love her new body, that they can let each other go. Because there are tons of men who do find her body beautiful. And she deserves to be with someone who thinks she’s gorgeous.