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Resolve

by Mothership on January 6, 2014

A new year, a new me..

Well no, not a new me, it’s exactly the same me as before although possibly my trousers are a bit tighter than they were before Christmas due to the copious packets of crisps and glasses of champagne I consumed during the festive season (what is more delicious than the combination of ready-salted and Tattinger? Except ready-salted, Tattinger and Smarties, perhaps). However, I’ve decided to break with tradition and not try to go on some mad diet, attend the gym every day, or declare this (as my father does annually) “The year of muscle definition”. It never works anyway and somehow I’m pretty much the same size and shape, give or take a bit of southward age-related droop, that I was when I was 18. I eat more fruit and veg these days (thank you, California) and I exercise more thanks to my dance addiction, but essentially I remain the same type; unable to deny myself that third piece of toast and butter and really, why the fuck should I? I work hard, I’m nice to my children and husband (most of the time), I try to add positive things to the world in my own miniscule way so if I don’t look like a supermodel, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

There are plenty of other people who’ll do that for me, right?

I noticed, whilst standing in line at the supermarket today, that almost every magazine cover at the checkout was full of pictures of famous or semi- famous women in their bikinis and skimpy outfits and all the headlines were a commentary on their size and shape. The ones deemed overweight were vilified and ridiculed. The ones deemed ‘hot’ were lauded for their efforts, as if eating carrot sticks and spending all day preening themselves for the camera was worth of a Nobel prize. You buy the magazine on the strength of this media-fuelled bitchery. And it’s not confined just to the press. The interwebs, that great equalizer, now enables any tosspot to take a photo of some unsuspecting woman who dares to look less than camera-ready fuckable and post her on a public forum for the collective troll-cauldron to dissect with vicious, hateful commentary. ┬áIn Nine’s grade, the little girls are already aware of who’s pretty, whose clothes are nicely put together, who is a ‘dork’ and therefore who is going to be singled out for insidious bullying by the more popular and less scrupulous children. It makes me sick to my stomach. That when I was a kid we thought that things were going to get better for girls, that we’d be valued more on our minds and abilities and less on our appearance and yet somehow a massive u-turn was made in the ’90′s and here we are, desperately, actively playing along on both sides of the equation.

So here is my resolution for 2014.

I’m not going on a diet. I’m not going to talk about how much I dislike the physical signs of ageing. I’m going to celebrate my joy in the physicality of dance, not my obligation to exercise because it burns calories. I’m going to wear whatever the hell I want and make sure I’m comfortable, amused, and feel good about myself. I’m going to throw away any socks that don’t match or have holes in them and buy new ones that are expensive and cosy. And next month on my birthday I’m going to make sure I have a tube of Smarties as well as a packet of ready salted to go with my bottle of Tattinger.

 

Happy New Year.

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January 9, 2014 at 1:26 am

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1 Metropolitan Mum January 7, 2014 at 6:02 am

I KNOW!! It’s making my blood boil. In my 4yo’s class, kids are talking about other kids being fat – the other day my daughter asked me what her friends might think of an outfit I had chosen for her. It’s absolutely awful. If anything, I find it worse as when we grew up. I can’t remember women being publicly slaughtered for how they looked. I can’t remember sexually aggressive advertising (gang bang style ads – YUCK!!!). I could go on and on about this. In fact, I did: http://www.metropolitanmum.co.uk/2013/12/no-country-for-young-women/ So. Apart from the Smarties-Taittinger-Ready-Salted Diet. What can we do?

2 Sandy Calico January 7, 2014 at 6:14 am

Very well said.

My boys’ latest insult is ‘ugly’. I guess they’ve picked it up at school. We always talk positively about others. My weight is never mentioned, we just talk about what is healthy, but still I feel completely helpless against a vile, misogynist media.

Happy new year to you, MTFF.

3 Mothership January 7, 2014 at 7:49 am

MM, It’s infuriating and tragic. I don’t know what we can do except continue to make our voices heard to anyone who can listen, our children in particular. And boycott the products and services that utilise the vile advertising. Money talks, eh?
Sandy, I feel your pain. The insults at my kids’ school are always appearance related and almost always directed at girls. Happy New Year to you, too. Let’s hope we can somehow make changes, however small, in our children’s attitudes.

4 green apple sorbet January 7, 2014 at 10:09 am

I LOVE this. Fantastic resolutions. Hear hear!

5 nappyvalleygirl January 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

Good for you. I’m so sick of magazines that I’ve virtually given up reading them (and I used to be a real magazine addict). If I have to read about Jennifer Aniston’s amazing body or skincare secrets one more time….

I have boys and so far, they don’t talk that much about other people’s appearances. But “fat” is a definite insult in their book.

6 Greg January 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

Now that: self-acceptance, -celebration, joy, comfortable, amusement, and niceness to husband:^) is hot! Be still my beating heart . . .

Good post, Mothership. Way to stick it to the anti-woman machine in which this culture can sometimes get so lost. And yet as the father of two daughters and someone who cares about girls and women, I crave the alternative to that awfulness that you describe.

On a related note, I was in Finland last week picking up my daughter where she completed a 5-month internship at a Forestry Institute outside of Helsinki. As I was scanning the Finnish magazine racks I noticed that many of the covers were *not* of young “famous or semi- famous women in their bikinis and skimpy outfits.” There were even a few covers with older women. Try to find that on an American magazine rack. The women were attractive– you have to have attractive to sell magazine–but let us work to expand feminine beauty as something that can be more more than youth, waist-size, put-together clothes, etc.

Skimp, “”hot”, and camera-ready f*able do not beauty make!

7 Mothership January 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Green Apple Sorbet, thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it. BTW my family enjoyed your sunny chicken recipe tonight so thanks for that!
NVG, magazines have always made me feel inadequate in some way or other but they have gotten to the point where they’re just plain toxic. We hear ‘fat’ as an insult a lot, too:(
Greg, so nice to hear from you. I feel a trip to Finland coming on. They seem more advanced in Scandinavia in so many ways..

8 Greg January 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm

I have to add one more thing. This is what we can do: We can adopt the idea that every person has a unique beauty and a gift to bestow upon the world. That every person, no matter what their station, their appearance, their circumstance–no matter how lost they become is this confusing world–carries this sacred cargo.

A big part of our job as humans is to find and express our own beauty and gifts in this life, and also to look for it in others. When we live our lives with this realization, everyone becomes valuable, no one is expendable, and we support others in the search and expression of their authentic gifts and beauty.

9 Mothership January 11, 2014 at 7:48 am

Beautifully put!

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