You hear my story and you ask: How could it have happened? The answer is simple:
I listened to you.
You: my friends, my family, my teachers, my coaches, my neighbors…
When you asked if the clothes made you look fat, I listened.
And learned that “fat” was ugly.
When you said your breasts were too small, thighs too big, and arms too flabby, I listened.
And learned that beauty has a standard.
When you praised me for losing weight, I listened.
And learned that attractiveness only comes in certain sizes.
When you asked “am I thinner than her?” I listened.
And learned to compare myself to others by the measuring stick of “thin.”
When you dismissed the opinions of “ugly” women, I listened.
And learned that only the attractive deserve to be heard.
When you called her “hot” and hung on every word, I listened.
And learned that beauty is the currency with which to buy a man’s respect.
When you said she was too heavy to win the race, play the lead, join the team I listened.
And learned that only the thin are capable.
When you praised your latest weight loss diet, I listened.
And learned that food was an enemy.
When you said you’d “never date that fatty,” I listened.
And learned that, to the men I loved, only the beautiful were desirable.
When you said he couldn’t have raped her because she was ugly, I listened.
And learned that, to even the basest of men, only the beautiful are desirable.
I don’t blame you. Any of you. I have also said some of these things and have even devoted parts of this blog to them. But now it has to stop.
With me. With you.
We have to stop talking about our bodies, except to praise what they can do.
We have to stop talking about our food, except to say it is delicious.
We have to stop talking about our beauty, except how kind and brave we are.
We have to stop talking about our weight gains and losses. Period.
We owe it to the next generation.
They deserve better.
Our daughters are listening.