Not your average “body positive” blogger


I want to preface this blog by stating that it is NEVER ok to treat someone like shit simply because of the way they look.  If you treat someone as lesser of a human because you don’t find the individual to be aesthetically appealing, you’re an asshole.  However, it is ok to challenge and criticize others ideas.

If you’re the type of body positive advocate who thinks you should like yourself even if you’re abusing your body, you may want to stop reading.  X out of this screen, do not pass go, do not collect $200. This blog will only piss you off, you will end up taking the things I say as a personal knock against you, instead of me being critical of harmful ideologies.

No one should hate their self. Self hate doesn’t get anyone anywhere.  Self hate doesn’t promote change, it often just causes depression. Depressed people are less likely to make positive changes.  HOWEVER, it IS ok to not like yourself.  If you aren’t the best you know you’re capable of being, it’s perfectly ok to look in the mirror and say. “Ya know what?  I’m selling myself short, I can be better, I can be happier, I can be healthier.”  It’s ok to strive for better.  It’s ok to look in the mirror and say, “Ya know what?  I don’t really like that muffin top, I’m going to construct a healthy eating plan and maybe start working out”.  If someone is an ugly person on the inside we encourage them to change and become better.  Why don’t we do the same when it comes to our health?

What I see with many body positive bloggers is that they’re simply settling for what they have, rather than striving for better.  It comes across as an attempt to be contrary to societal norms.  They’re trying to sell it to other big girls that changing your outer appearance is society’s way of telling you to hate yourself.  In some kind of backwards, spiteful stance many body positive and fat positive people are hurting themselves in an effort to tell society to fuck off.  These people are telling you to not care what society says, yet society is driving them to act a certain way and treat their bodies a certain way.  It’s much easier to settle than it is to change.  I say this as someone who IS fat. I say this as a woman who has lost 100 pounds.  I say this as a woman who has struggled with finding her place within society.  I say this as a woman who truly doesn’t give a shit what other people think of me.  What *I* think of me is the only thing that matters to me.  Part of loving yourself, is not abusing yourself.

I woke up one day and put on a pair of pants that happened to be the biggest size I’ve ever worn and they were tight.  In that moment I said, “no more”.  I was tired of being tired.  i was tired of being out of breath anytime I walked up 10 stairs.  I was tired of not being able to keep up with my kids.  I was tired of being unhealthy.  My unhealthy lifestyle was directly responsible for me being unhappy.  It wasn’t society’s fault for being “fatphobic”.  It wasn’t Victoria Secret’s fault for hiring thin models.  Society wasn’t the cause of my unhappiness.  *I* was the cause of my unhappiness.  I bought into the body positive, fat is beautiful rhetoric.  That rhetoric became my excuse for settling with my current state.  “Body positive” became my justification for not wanting better for myself.  While it was empowering in some ways to say, “Eff your beauty standards”, I was also slowly killing myself.  That small amount of spiteful, self-destructive empowerment wasn’t worth the abuse that I was inflicting onto my body. There’s nothing empowering about going into a restaurant and being worried that you may not fit into the booth the hostess offers you.  There’s nothing empowering about avoiding movie theaters because your ass is too big for the seats.  There’s nothing empowering about asking for a belt extender or buying a 2nd seat on an airplane because you don’t fit in one seat and you spill over into a 2nd seat.  There’s nothing empowering about heart disease, diabetes, increased risk of stroke, increased risk of cancer.  There’s nothing empowering in abusing your body just to stick it to cultural beauty standards.

Whenever we see a woman who suffers from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, society pities her.  We don’t say, “look at that woman living how she wants to live, YASSSS!  Good for her!  Get it girl”!  Why do we champion obesity? Why do we look at severely overweight women (Think, Tess Holliday) and say, “You go girl”!  Being morbidly obese IS suffering from an eating disorder.  Being obese is just the other extreme end of the spectrum.  When it comes to things like anorexia and bulimia, we see these individuals as suffering from mental illness.  We encourage change to become healthier.  We tell them that there IS something wrong with the way they’re living.  We don’t accept their ideology as healthy.  We see them as sick.  Overeating to the point of obesity and calorie restricting to the point of severe malnutrion are both signs of emotional issues and should both be treated the same.  Neither should be encouraged.  We should of course be empathetic and we shouldn’t treat these people as if they’re less.  We should not view either as some type of false empowerment.

If your best friend was in a relationship with a man who abused her in some way, would you tell her it’s ok to settle for him?  Nope.  You would likely give her a pep-talk about how she deserves better. You would tell her how wonderful she is and how she deserves to be treated like the amazing girl she is.  So why when it comes to our own bodies we’re ok with settling?  We are ok with abusing ourselves.  We accept it and attempt to turn our self-destruction into empowerment.

My goal is to change the way we look at body positivity.  Body positivity should be about doing what is best for our health.  It should be about celebrating hard work that we put into being the best we can be.  Body positivity should be about loving ourselves enough to want what’s best for ourselves.  Body positivity is looking into the mirror and being proud with the hard work you’ve put in to being healthy.  It’s not body positive to try and force a narrative upon society that says in order to be accepting you have to agree with the ideology That self harm is empowering and should be advocated.

Let me end this blog the same way I prefaced.  It is NEVER ok to treat someone badly because of their physical appearance.  That is always unacceptable.  It is acceptable to question and criticize harmful ideologies.  If you find yourself being hurt by the words of someone else you probably need to do a little soul searching and figure out why words hurt you.  You may just find that you aren’t as happy with yourself as you believe. Love yourself enough to stop self destructive behaviors.

 

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Misconceptions women have about men and dating


The #1 misconception I’ve seen women believe, in regards to dating is that men like, “The Chase”.  No.They.Don’t.  Men see this game of cat and mouse exactly for what it is, a game.  Ladies, you aren’t some kind prize at a carnival.  The two sure-fire ways to start a relationship off on a rocky path are, #1 Lying and #2 Playing games.  Each of these sets the tone for the entire relationship.

Now, I’m not saying offer him everything you have to give on the first date, a little mystery and suspense is sexy.  You don’t have to play games for him to desire you.  If he’s into you, he’s into you.  Allow things to happen naturally.  Don’t force anything and certainly don’t play some high school game with him in order to make yourself feel desired.  And let’s be honest, this entire idea of “He likes the chase” is something we as women tell ourselves because when men chase after us and jump through hoops to be with us, this makes us feel desired.  When we feel desired it boosts our self-worth, yet it leaves him exhausted, annoyed and often times confused.

Buying into this idea that men enjoy chasing you only sends mixed signals to men and you will often miss out on a great experience because you’re so caught up in watching a man try to earn a gold medal in the dating Olympics.  Even cats get tired of batting around a mouse they’ve spent all afternoon hunting.

Misconception #2.  Men are afraid of commitment.  Being afraid of commitment isn’t exclusive to either sex.  When we are talking about men and commitment, what I touched on in misconception #1, game playing, ties into this.

Society, culture, Hollywood and modern-day Feminism all feed women this false narrative that because we are women we are prizes to be won.  The only way you can win a prize is by playing a game. When it comes to dating, men don’t like games.  Games make you feel as though you’re being led on and you lose interest quickly.  This isn’t fear of commitment, it’s simply self-preservation and being proactive with your emotional health.

When it comes to men and marriage, you have to also take into consideration our current culture where men aren’t really valued when it comes to raising children and being part of a familial unit.  When men enter into a legally binding marriage, they’re risking a lot.  If there are children, men are hardly ever granted true 50/50 custody.  Divorced men with children are routinely denied equal access to their children, yet are expected to be equally financially responsible for the very children he is denied equal access to.  A research study conducted by Reuters found that of the 400,000-500,000 people in the US who are granted alimony after a divorce, 97% are women and only 3% of men are granted alimony.  Yet 40% of US households are headed by female breadwinners. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-divorce-alimony-men-idUSBRE9BN0AW20131224  Our society has basically reduced men down to their financial standings.  The more money they have, the more useful they are.

Men aren’t afraid of commitment.  Much like women, men are concerned with self-preservation and doing what is beneficial to themselves.  It would do us ALL some good if we were proactive in weighing the good and the bad before we dive head first into something.

Misconception #3.  Men don’t like emotional women.  Men like women who are feminine.  Part of being feminine is being nurturing.  Women have a biological predisposition to be nurturing and caring, AKA emotional.  Men have a biological predisposition to seek out women who display these characteristics. What men don’t like is over dramatic women who do crazy things.  Crying and freezing him out because he doesn’t like your new haircut and he was honest about it, is being over dramatic.  Over dramatic hysterics are not equal to being emotional.

Men who have little tolerance for dramatics are often mislabeled as misogynistic.  They’re labeled as men who are too masculine and unfeeling (remember the ridiculous #toxicmasculinity hastag)?  When in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  These are the men you WANT to date.  They are men who truly view women as their equals.  These are the men who won’t pander to or infantilize women, simply because you posses a vagina.  These are the men who won’t treat you as if you’re a delicate flower who can’t handle honesty.  These are the men who truly value strong, independent women.  When a man sees you as strong and independent, he sees you as his equal.

Misconception #4.  Men are ridiculously shallow and only seek out perfection.  First let me say this.  Everyone on the face of the earth is shallow in one way or another.  We all have expectations when it comes to our love interests, whether it is physical expectations, emotional expectations or professional success expectations.  No one should be shamed for their preferences and expectations.  No on has an obligation to be attracted to anyone else.

Our ideas of “perfection” are forever changing.  When a man is 18, it’s likely that his ideal perfect woman is a super model who gives blow jobs on demand with the enthusiasm of a varsity cheerleader.  Both men and women,  as we age we realize that there’s much more to each other than beauty and sex.  You have to actually be able to tolerate someone you spend so much time around, so you find value in things like intelligence, common interests, personality and work ethic (ambition).

Perfection is intimidating.  Not many people seek it out.  Not only does it not exist but if you happen to find perfection, you’re likely going to be intimidated by it and feel as though you don’t add up.  Entering into a relationship with your self-worth in the shitter isn’t going to lead to good things.  Essentially you are just setting yourself up for failure if you seek perfection in others.  Guess what?  The vast majority of men realize this. The vast majority of men don’t expect or even want perfection.  Men are not rabid, sex crazed animals incapable of rational thought.  Relationships are give and take, you take the good with the bad.  Of course there are some people out there who try to hold out hope.  This isn’t gender specific.  You will find that both men and women who seek out perfection in others are forever restless because they never stop seeking out their “unicorn”. These people are never truly happy.  They spend their lives in and out of relationships, often destroying their relationships and sabotaging their own happiness because they are on the hunt for something that doesn’t exist.  If they happen upon that mythological creature they almost always feel insecure.  That perfection they sought is just as restless and continually hunts for their own unicorn… and 9 times out of 10, you aren’t it.

Women and men aren’t that different when it comes to relationships.  We want a lot of the same things.  Stop with the misconceptions, they don’t help anyone.  When you buy into false narratives you just end up fucking things up for yourself and missing out on great people.

In the comments feel free to add your own misconceptions about men and dating.  I’d love to hear them.

-Ash