Have you seen those ads brandishing a picture of an athletic woman with a quote something like “I’ve got a big ass and it helps me run marathons so anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss it!” or “my c-section scar reminds me of what my body is capable of and how much I love my daughter!”?
Those are great. Especially for anyone with a big behind or a c-section scar. Of course, I don’t find either of those particularly validating for myself, likely because my behind isn’t on the larger scale of things (rather on the lumpy and flattened side) nor do I have any child-bearing scars.
But what I find notable in these and similar memes is that we are always trying to defend our imperfections. Am I obligated to stand up for the dimples on the back of my thighs? Like, is that necessary? In the same way that we often apologize for our home being a mess as if it’s a mess for any reason other than we live there. I don’t need to list all of the feats my thighs help me do in an attempt to nullify the cellulite on them. Even if I couldn’t stand up and walk every day, even if I couldn’t cycle or climb stairs or do squats. I would still have cellulite and it would still be okay. Ability to perform tasks does not equate to innate value.
I have a friend who is often reminding me that people are more relatable when they don’t hide their imperfections. (This is the same friend who inadvertently introduced me to sweat pants. It turns out sweatpants are really comfortable and if you want to wear sweatpants at home you should. And you shouldn’t pretend you don’t.) Which, I think we can all agree with. Hearing someone talk openly about their love handles does help me relax more than say, someone who talks about inheriting six pack abs from their mother. I love when people find empowerment. I love when people are proud of their bodies. But I hate that we so often require an outward show of self acceptance before we are willing to affirm a person is still a person in spite of their “flaws”. I hate that we constantly have to give ourselves a pep talk in order to fight off the drive to be anorexic. If I don’t buy into what society identifies as a flaw then I don’t need to tell anyone to kiss my ass in order for people to accept my ass just the way it is.
My butt helps me get out of bed, climb stairs, run, squat, and some times feel bootylicious in a pair of designer jeans. But some days my butt mostly just sits. In sweatpants. And it’s imperfect because I live here.