Yesterday, a friend of mine was on a walk with her two young sons. A car drove by, and a man yelled out the window, “Yeah baby, work that fat butt.”
(He didn’t say exactly that, but my mom reads this blog so I’m trying to keep it PG. Hey, mom. **waves**)
First of all, let me be super clear about something- this way to pick up girls has literally never worked on me or any of my friends. Ever.
I know that shouting out of the window as your car zooms by takes a lot of effort, risk, and courage, and those 2 seconds that it took you to decide if you were going to shout were probably agonizing as you tried to sort out what you were going to say, but all that it says to me is, “Does he think I’m a prostitute?”
Not super flattering.
The older I get, the less I understand the male fascination with the female body.
This is what I know: Men love boobs. This is what I also know: Boobs are literal lumps of fat. But if I have lumps of fat on my hips and we call them love handles, suddenly they are revolting. So are you into my body or are you into geography? Because this seems like it might be more of a location-related issue.
And what’s with the butt fascination?
The pressure to be slim with like -12% body fat is real, but I also need to have a fat butt. So, we have to have abs and get rid of that double chin (triple chin in my case), but need to make sure that our butts are jiggly. Just in case, ya know, I’m ever asked to be in a rap video……? (Which has actually happened, by the way. Not trying to brag, but still.)
And even better, I need to have a tiny waist, but nice thighs. I don’t wanna burst your bubble guys, but a lot of things that you want often don’t go hand in hand.
If a girl is naturally slim, chances are her badonk isn’t huge. If a girl is naturally curvier, chances are her waist isn’t tiny. I feel like this isn’t rocket science, but since 8 celebrities in America seem to have nailed down this perfect body, we are all expected to have it.
Just wanna be honest with y’all…most of these celebrities don’t actually have big butts. They just have big bank accounts.
Here’s my problem with the whole female body fascination: Women’s bodies change.
I will never be the size that I was in high school, not because I can’t achieve that weight, but because my body has morphed into a body that is no longer 16 years old.
My body is ready to bear children and support the weight of a baby growing inside of me. (For reference, right now I am supporting about 10 pounds of Chipotle weight.)
My hips were smaller back then, and my legs looked different. Now, I have stretch marks and imperfections and those weird veins that it seems only girls get on the back of their legs and this one ingrown hair in my armpit that I cannot reach no matter how hard I try.
I could fix those things with surgery. I really could. All of those imperfections can be carved away with a sharp scalpel and a well-trained hand. And if you want to do that, go for it. I have zero issue with it. (Not that you were asking my permission, but still, you have it.)
But the question that I pose is, why. Not why would I fix them- I know why I would…ingrown hairs are the worst. But more, why do I feel like I need to?
Why do I feel like I need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a body that would be desirable when men can be chubby and have a beer belly and be insanely hairy, and it’s fine because “He’s so hilarious!”
Hi, hello……I’M hilarious.
Whether or not I shaved above my knees does not dictate my level of funniness. Which, for the record, I didn’t.
Whether or not I bleached my mustache (Thank you, Armenian blood) does not decide whether I’m good at my job.
Whether or not I have stretch marks that showcase how much Whataburger I ate at 3 am in college does not show you if I’m kind.
We are taking surface things and making them valuable. And when we do that, we take the things that lie just below the surface and we make them minor.
Kindness is not minor.
Intelligence is not minor.
Compassion is not minor.
Patience is not minor.
The urge to fight for justice is not minor.
I like when somebody says, “You’re so pretty!” But I love when somebody says, “I admire you.”
I like being told that I have perfect eyebrows, because, well, I do. But I love being told that I’m intelligent.
I like when somebody compliments my outfit. But I love when somebody compliments my work ethic.
So what is the end result, here? Stop telling women that they’re attractive? No. Stop pointing out things on their body that you love about them? If it’s done tastefully, no.
But stop making it the only thing. Stop making women feel like they need to strive for that sort of attention.
Stop making affirmation revolve around temporal things.
And women- stop allowing it. Should we be able to wear what we want and not have people say disgusting things to us? Yeah, we should. I’m not saying to wear a moo moo to the beach just so that men can control themselves. (But if you want to, go for it, because moo moo’s are comfy as frick).
But hey, sorry to bring the honesty train into the station, but this is the world that we live in. Women are oversexualized. Men love lumps of fat that we call boobs but don’t love boobs on the back. Again, geography.
Ladies, really, this isn’t one sided. This is a vicious cycle that we have given our stamp of approval on, whether we realize it or not.
So, as women, what can we do? Because while I am all for being my brother’s keeper and helping him through this process, I also am tired of treating every man like he is a 13-year-old going through puberty.
In my own life, this is what I have found: Men will only take you as seriously as you take yourself.
Women, if you want to be intelligent, be intelligent. If you want to be kind, be kind. If you want to be the boss, work hard and be the boss. If you want to be an in-control woman, be one.
And if you want to wear the low-cut tops, then you need expect the responses. If you want to be an Instagram model and post pictures of you during winter in the snow in a thong (not sure why this happens, but it does. I mean, my leg hair would grow like 11 inches in those temperatures, but okay, that’s me), then you have to not feign disgust when a guy comments on your picture about how much he likes you in a thong. Learn how to respond in a way that affirms you, not one that makes you look out of control. And if you can’t do that, don’t even put yourself in a place where men will be able to do that to you.
My fight for the desexualization of women’s bodies will never be over. But in the same way, I hope that one day when I meet a man that I love and marry him, he will love my body.
But I hope that he loves my mind, first.
Closing thoughts: Everyone, stop shouting out your car window. Unless you’re getting Whataburger at 3 am. Then please, get me a taco. And probably some fries. And of course, a diet coke. #balance.