Wednesday, 23 July 2014

That time I decided to propose…Lol

Followed closely by that time that I had 4 months to get my wedding body on.  The wedding body is similar to the bikini body, basically instead of just walking around and doing things in your body, you refer to your body according to your activity. I can only understand this phenomena as some sort of way you tell your friends what you are doing. Instead of saying I am going to the Cinema, you answer the question ‘where are you going tonight’ with ‘check out my Cinema body’. So I am working on my wedding bod – i.e. getting married and finding a bad ass dress to clothe myself in (I don’t think my Mum would be happy with a nudist wedding). 
My and my body in a wedding dress

There are literally countless things about weddings that make me so angry that I think my head will explode in some crazy flame, firework display with brains everywhere (actually I just cry a bit). However I don’t hate – in fact I love  - :
  1. 1.       The idea of being married for ever and eternity to my bestest friend Josh :)
  2. 2.       Hanging out with all my best friends and family in the same room
  3. 3.       Having some great, and some cheesy, tunes to dance to in a super cool room
  4. 4.       Eating some delicious food with the above people
  5. 5.       Generally throwing a FABULOUS party – something I have always loved doing
  6. 6.       Making my mum and all my family happy

I wish I was made of armor and I could just ignore all the other stuff but I have to say, it is proving WAY HARDER than I thought it would. Firstly, the wedding industry THRIVES on body shaming. Body shaming is one of those blights on society that tries to subjugate all women by convincing them to buy shit to make them look ‘beautiful’ alongside starving ourselves and exercising like crazy. (Please no one give me the - 'I just want to be healthy' - argument)

Lord knows I have been trying to get my 7 year old self telling me to go on a diet out of me head since ... since I was a dieting 7 year old.  And I have given in... countless times, I have dieted and exercised for body image.  Nonetheless, just like many other women, I fight every day to put that behind me, to understand that beauty does not define, to realise that I want more out of life than to be….(I can’t quite bring myself to say thin).  

I read that on average, women think about their bodies 13 times a day. If they are going on holiday, or getting ready for a day where absolutely everything is about looking at and photographing you, it is a whole lot more.  

They tell brides ‘all brides are beautiful!’ but to me that is not the point.  I want a fabulous dress because the originality of style, the uniqueness of fashion is transformative for me (not for everyone) but style and beauty are two VERY different things.  The pressure on women to fit into mainstream beauty is something we all know about, from hearing about how all the images in magazines are bad for our confidence, to seeing them and knowing ourselves that we all feel insecure about our bodies sometimes (or all the time). Brides get this really bad – which I hadn’t really considered until I saw some pretty awful comments on bride forums (I know I was on a couple of bride forums, ha ha!) They go like this:
“I felt and feel ugly in all our pictures and have no desire to look at any with me in them.”
“I felt fat and plain, and had the misfortune to overhear people comparing me to my blondre bridesmaid and saying she was gorgeous and should have been the bride.”
“GREAT JOB on the wieght loss!” (to another bride)
“I consume over being hideous on my wedding day.”

And this goes on and on and on. Women too afraid to look at their own wedding photos! To make it clear - this is not their fault. You could tell them ‘don’t care what people think’ ‘this is your day!’ etc but they are bombarded with the message that what we value about a bride is their beauty above all else!  

I suddenly realised after reading all of this that (not including all the other horrendously sexist, hetero-normative, generally exclusive things that I was willing to put up with for reasons of fun listed above) I was propagating bride body shaming!!! I was getting married, and going to have to accept all the beauty focused bridely compliments with ‘grace’!  Now don’t get me wrong, I kind of like beauty, in nature, in poetry, in art for the sake of it, but what I do not value above everything else is fitting in to anyone else's image of a beautiful bride.  I will not be some ethereal fairy like little thing in white, pure, beautiful and fading into nothingness. I will be FLESH with big hair, with the same body I wear in the winter, summer, spring, as a farmer, as sometimes a bit of a hipster, as someone who rages, and loves and lives. 

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