I Hate Myself, Does That Make Me a Bad Feminist?
Being a woman is all sorts of contradictory
I consider myself a radical feminist. Perhaps that is redundant as feminism seems to be radical all on it's own. But what I want to talk about right now is women and self love and how that might not align with what we believe as feminists.
To begin, I want to say that as a feminist, I believe that all women should love themselves no matter what. Regardless of weight, skin color, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, etc. I believe that each and every woman should love the body that they are in and the person that they are. Which is easier said than done. We all know and understand that self love is a journey that every person goes through at some point in their life. It is so difficult to love each and every part of yourself unconditionally.
For me, I have a long way to go with my personal body image. Which led me to thinking, am I a hypocrite? I don't like the body that I'm in and I believe that being skinnier and weighing less will make me happier with how I look and in general. And I realize that that thought is problematic in it's own way, but I'm not sure how else to approach it, if changing how I look is going to improve my self-esteem and body image. But, I believe that every woman should love how they look and that every woman is worthy of love and happiness no matter what they look like. So if I don't apply that theory to my own life, what does that say about the conditions of my feminism? Am I a feminist, but only when it comes to other women? And I feel as though my situation is only a mild case.
Relatively, I love myself. I have come a long way in my self-love journey and I no longer hate myself and I no longer feel as though I can't stand the sight of my own face. But I still am not happy with how my body looks. And I guess that is partially the product of living in a superficial society that preaches skinny being equal to pretty and the "ideal" image of blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin, and bone-thin looks. But I do my best to truly believe that every woman is beautiful. Every person is beautiful because, quite honestly, beauty is a societal construct. No person or "look" can be equivalent to what "beauty" is because every person looks completely different. Each person is a complete and unique being. Why did humans come up with the idea of beauty and attractiveness. Why can't we all exist without putting each other down because of factors we hardly have any control over?
That leads me to another factor: health and food. Media often portrays health as something very specific. You can't be fat and be healthy. But this is very much not true. Many people have no choice in their obesity. Whether it is due to eating disorders or genetics, it is not always because someone "eats junk" that they are fat. I don't think that it is entirely up to me to speak on the topic of obesity and being fat because I am not fat myself. Even though I may "feel fat" sometimes and I am not the skinniest person out there, I know that I should not put myself in the category of "fat people." I also feel as though I am on thin ice talking about being fat and fat people, because society has demonized the word fat. Fat is bad and fat isn't healthy and fat is ugly. But quite frankly, fat is just an adjective. It shouldn't mean anything other than what it actually is. People shouldn't say that they "feel fat" because fat is not a feeling. When someone says they "feel fat" they probably actually mean that they feel ugly, insecure, bloated, or unhappy. Saying that one "feels fat" demonizes the word and puts down actual fat people.
Overall, I think that I, and many other women, need to recognize our own behavior when it comes to self-love, "feeling fat," feminism, and our habits formed from societal structures. I try every day to stop myself from associating fat with ugly. If I find myself thinking someone is unattractive, I stop myself and redirect the narrative in my head. Of course, I would never call someone ugly or unhealthy or anything negative related to their looks out loud, but my head is quick to judge. I find myself thinking one thing, but knowing that whatever I'm thinking might not be what I actually believe to be true.
I could probably go on for quite long about feminism, body-image, and the inherent fat-hating in society, and I will. But this article, narrative, whatever, is only the beginning of everything I have to say. Until next time.