Author’s note: This post was originally written and posted in the Curvy Girl Guide on the Brittany, Herself web site at http://brittanyherself.com/cgg/the-responsibility-between-us/.
I am not a curvy girl. Not even close.
Breasts? Forget it. I don’t wear a bra with 99.9 percent of all articles of clothing.
Hips? Not even mildly interesting unless you count that weird mole I had but it fell off ten years ago.
My weight – all 125 pounds of it on my 5’4 frame – falls in my thighs and ass like most women but its nothing to write home about.
And when you get right down to it, I’m not even close to being a girl anymore. At 41 and as the mother of three teenage boys, I’m well past the expiration date on that term.
And I know, and completely understand, that many women who see themselves as “curvy” stopped reading when I wrote 125 pounds. I get it. But I am submitting this anyway because it is a sad but universal truth that the majority of women, whether “curvy girls” or not, spend to much time looking in or avoiding the mirror and feeling inadequate.
I had a shining moment, when I was 19 or so, where I tasted all too briefly my own power as a woman and the effect that power could have. While I would like to say that I used that power for the good of all mankind (think Mother Theresa or Madame Curie or even Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde) in reality, I used it to finally, for the love-of-all-that-was-holy, cast off the chains of my virginity.
That confidence, a confidence I never had in middle and high school as mousy, nerdy, glasses-wearing font of awkwardness (my 9th grade yearbook picture is beyond description), was intoxicating but short-lived. As most women know, there are too many things in life that present themselves, whether real or imagined, and shake our confidence in who we are and what we are worth.
Madeleine Albright (not Taylor Swift as it has been attributed of late) said there is a special place in hell reserved for women who refuse to help other women. And while Ms. Albright was talking about the workplace, this is true for all of life. No one understands women like women and that creates a sacred responsibility between us. I suppose that men might say no one understands men like men, but let’s get real – we understand them better than they understand themselves, too.
So that is why I am writing this, because in solidarity with all you “curvy girls” are the rest of us who also look in the mirror and instead of being heartened in sheer amazement at these bodies that can produce life and the means to sustain it, we find fault at every turn. And because many of you are raising your own daughters who need to grow up understanding that their beauty is not quantifiable in their breasts, or their hips, or the numbers on scale, but in their presence on the planet. And many of us, myself included, are raising sons that need to see those daughters as beautiful for the same reason.