Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hear me roar.

Feminism is stalking me. Since this is a food blog, I don't really want to bring in too many other issues and muddle up my focus-but I just have to talk about this. Since I've been talking to everyone IRL(in real life) about it, I'm going to try to articulate it here. I just can't get it off my mind. It kind of started with all these suicides recently of kids that were literally bullied to death. They have really been hitting home for me both because I'm a parent, and because I had suicidal thoughts at 11 thanks to bullying. I always felt (and was made to feel) like an ugly ducking-I had bad teeth and a hereditary double chin. Add to that being socially awkward and frequently the new kid and it was a recipe for school day hell. As I got older, I settled into my looks and really began to love myself damn it! Even still, there is a long list of things that I would fix about myself given the opportunity. I've always considered myself a feminist (hey, if you're going to be counter culture you might as well go all out-right?) minus, though not always, the hairy legs, bra burning and whatever other stereotype you'd like to insert here. Please start the first video while you read on. One of my best Texas girls, Frank, put this as the first song on my "Bye-ya" mixed cd and it never fails to make me laugh.

Enter this next video. It popped up on my facebook feed, and I've pretty much been obsessed with it since. It's made me do a few things. First, want to learn how to poetry slam because it looks bad ass. Second, reevaluate the language I use and way I see my role in raising my daughter. It's titled "Pretty" and as most of us with little girls know, it's a word we use quite often. Please watch, and I'll elaborate below.

I've watched it a few times now, and each time it's made me cry like a baby. What am I teaching my children about women? About how we look? About loving ourselves? About the importance of being "pretty"? I do know this. I've recently had a drastic shift in thinking and can confidently say I will never have plastic surgery. My tummy may have skin and marks that will never go away. I earned those bad boys turning two cells into the most amazing human beings I've ever met. My once fabulous rack, that while still pretty fabulous is a lot less perkilated? They took two newborn babies and fed them(well), grew them, comforted them, lowered their risk of cancer, obesity, asthma, allergies and more. My double chin? Well, I can't honestly give it many redeeming attributes-but it ties me to my family and I could have it a lot worse. And if I *did* change those things, I would no longer be exactly as I'm meant to be. What kind of message am I sending to my kids, specifically my sweet little daughter. What if I died getting new boobs?

As far back as I can remember, everyone told me I looked just like my mother. Just.Like.Her. And guess what, my mother hates the way she looks. She constantly talks about how ugly she is. Constantly. So what does that say to the little girl that looks Just.Like.Her? I'm using my "I'm seriously angry voice" now. I will NOT lay that burned on my child. Real women are not like the ones in magazines. The women pictured in magazines aren't like the women pictured in magazines. Women come in all shapes and sizes and are good at a hell of a lot of things other than having great tits or a tight ass. Perfection is completely unattainable and frankly really stupid. Be proud of who YOU are. Yes YOU. You're fucking awesome.

This is to my daughter. I promise you that I will do my best to help you see that. I won't alter my body to make it look more suitable to our cultural preferences. I won't cut myself down in front of you (and I'll try my hardest to not to do it all) so that you can love yourself no matter what you look like. To my most beautiful 12 year old cousin who thinks she's ugly. Not only is she about as far from ugly as you can get, but you are worth infinitely more than what you look like. You are pretty talented, pretty kind and pretty freakin amazing. I can't wait to see who you grow to become and the life force you will unleash on the universe!
To all the women out there who start picking themselves apart every time they open a magazine, turn on the tv or look in the mirror. STOP. Right now. Individuality is where it's at. I'm full of piss, vinegar, feminism, opinions, optimism, LOVE, nurturing, excitement, sometimes farts and I AM AWESOME just the way I am. I love you, and I want you to love you just as much. So be brave, show yourself some love in the comments below! I want all the women you know to get angry about this too-share me with your friends :)


  1. You hit on a topic that just burns me. That whole idealistic view of the "perfect" woman is so entirely superficial. If these women earn their bodies, then good for them and more power to them for being able to get there, as long as it is for THEM and not for everyone else. Unfortunately, what has happened is that this image of perfectly flat abs, perky boobs, and a tight butt is the peak of perfection according to what most women see. HOWEVER, that's just now how women actually ARE. We do come in all sizes and I too have my stretch marks (aka badges of motherhood) and my chest used to be perkier before I nursed my two kiddos. So what? The best that I can be is the best that I can be and that's all there is to it. All I want to instill in my children is to put their best effort forward in whatever they want to achieve. Sometimes, there will be failure and sometimes there will be success. Either way, they have to learn to cope with it and love themselves through it all. Will I ever have that "perfect" figure? Eh, probably not without surgery that I refuse to get, but I will be healthy. Ultimately, THAT is what be healthy and raise healthy kids. Screw the superficial image. After all, we can't all have perfect abs even if we DO lose all the baby weight after having kids. Kudos to you Christina! Loved what you wrote!

  2. Rock on! I have always considered myself a feminist too (would you believe that your politically conservative pal actually took several women's studies classes in college? LOL), and as mothers, we have such a huge opportunity to shape the next generation's attitude toward body image and our standard of beauty.

    We need to teach our girls to respect themselves, value their minds/souls/bodies as functioning elements of our universe; not just a plaything for boys or a living Barbie doll to be dressed up. We need to teach our boys to see girls/women as individuals to be respected and valued.

    That said, I sincerely hope I have the chance to get my tummy and boobs done one day -- my pregnancies wreaked a special kind of havoc that has left me with a lot of discomfort from damaged muscle tissue and super stretched out skin. I don't care at all about looking perfect; just want to be comfortable in my own skin. :)

  3. I think two twin pregnancies might just grant you a get out of jail free pass on that one James!

  4. YAY!!! I was so excited reading this, made my blood get pumped! I used to look at myself and see thighs that were too big, legs that were too short, a nose that turned up in an unattractive way, etc. Over time I've started to accept myself more and more.
    My body may have stratch marks in places, my inner thighs may have a jiggle, I may have lost my once nice rack for a 2 sizes smaller set of coin purses....but DAMN IT it was WORTH IT! I turned out 2 beautiful, healthy children and I would sacrifice even more for that. If we are willing to give our lives for our children, shouldn't we be willing to give our bodies as well? I exercise not for trying to attain a perfect image, but to be healthy, and show my children the importance of being healthy. LOVE the article and the videos hun. Hopefully more people will learn to love themselves for what they are instead of idolizing those "perfectly airbrushed" women in magazines. Still pumped lol. :D

  5. Great to hear it!! Thank you so much for reading and also for being so awesome :)

  6. What an incredibly powerful video!! Your daughter is extremely lucky to have you for her mother :)

  7. Aww! How sweet are you? I might just save that for the teenaged years and make her read that :)