Opinions
The Gauntlet

Judge by character, not by hip size

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I figured after 12 years of trying to overcome the cycle of dissecting my curves, punishing myself for eating, and subscribing to an unattainable physical ideal, immense progress would be made.

Unfortunately, the progress has been confined to tiny steps and regression into old mental and physical habits. People are still judged by their physical appearance rather than the content of their character. I still feel bombarded by images and bodies informing me I don't fit the mould. Magazines like Maxim, Stuff, Gear, and Details remind me each month I'm not a size two with perfect proportions and a bountiful bosom, as readers gaze longingly at the lanky brunette whose ass hangs out of her skirt, titillated by the semi-nude woman flexing her libido.

The same readers contribute to the potentially lethal lifestyle desired by budding anorexics and bulimics by supporting a fantasy, an ideal that girls and women are told to emulate.

No matter how great I feel after reading a body positive and empowering magazine like Mode, a day can be drastically altered by male friends discussing the latest calendar put out by Maxim, uttering their wish to know girls like that. The next breath sees an insult thrown towards a female with "a huge ass." But "She's really nice though. It's just that her ass is so fucking huge."

And so it happens again. A woman they hardly know is clumped into the "nice fat girl" category and attention returns to the spread shot before them.

I wonder how sexy the model would look if she was shot while vomiting, or if it would be as tantalizing if they took pictures of hospitalized anorexics with their hair falling out and their tooth enamel rotting. Mmmm. Stomach bile dissolving teeth makes me wet.

The reality is never shown. Instead, a retouched, reconstructed "woman" peers out from the glossy pages and every woman in the vicinity gets to be compared to them.

All I wish would happen is that the relentless comparisons would stop. I wouldn't have to feel as though I was inferior to a scantily clad celebrity. I wouldn't slice my wrist with a knife because I ate that day. I wouldn't cry when I looked in the mirror because I was told I wasn't as sexy as Lara Flynn Boyle or Heidi Klum or as voluptuous as Elizabeth Hurley. I wouldn't swallow eight laxatives at a time in an effort to purge my binge away. I wouldn't know so many people that suffered from eating disorders. That I wouldn't have to console my 13-year-old sister because she believes only skinny girls are liked; her magazines and television told her so.

I just wish I could escape the relentless reminders that my personality and accomplishments aren't good enough. Or convince the world that they are.

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