I didn't make it to the Women's March this past weekend, but along with having some serious FOMO, I held the spirit of The March close. I've been doing a lot of reflecting, researching, and reading on next steps to take, and how to make The March meaningful for more than just it's record-breaking numbers by taking weekly action to, ya know, smash the patriarchy. (The Women's March website, The Indivisible Guide, and Jennifer Hoffman have great resources on how to get started. If you know of others please post in the comments below).
But before we can (or, as we) fight for equality (between genders and within genders) and reproductive rights, we need to wave the white flag on the war against our own bodies. Women have been conditioned to strive for prettiness, instead of power. We've been told to get smaller. But not too small. Be sexy. But not too sexy. We've been manipulated into thinking that we need to diet, exercise, and self-loathe our way to a "better" body when the reality is, it has always been a man who defined what the ideal female should look like. We, along with our sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers unknowingly bought into this game our whole lives... striving for the unattainable "perfect" body.
Many women I know feel "most comfortable" at a smaller size. Not because it's physically more comfortable, but because we feel more comfortable simply existing in our fatphobic diet culture if we appear smaller and take up less space. Diet culture proves most women would rather starve than feel that discomfort.
If we are going to fight this war; it needs to start right here, with our own bodies. It's time to stop equating our self worth with the number on the scale or on the tag of our clothes. Ask yourself this question... What do I want from my body? Do I want to use it to march so I can burn calories, lose weight, and fit into society's ideals of how a woman "should" look? Or do I want to MARCH to stand up for my body? Do I want to MARCH for equality, for myself and for others? Do I want to show the world that I can take down the patriarchy while also having rolls on my stomach? I don't believe we can have it both ways. It's time to end the war.
So as you start taking steps towards these bigger political issues (and I know you will), take a deeper look at your personal politics. The policies you've been placing on your own body as a result of living in this culture. What bills can you pass and what laws can you change to simply start showing yourself a little more love, compassion, and kindness? And while I don't deny the power of a protest, or the importance of raising your voice, I know we can't change what's going on out there until we change what's going on in here.
*I can't end this post without saying I KNOW this is no easy feat. Cultivating a more positive relationship with your body is easier said than done. And if you need help. I'm here. Send me an email and we can grab a coffee or hop on the phone. (This is not a sales pitch, I'm just genuinely offering up an ear to anyone who wants to talk).*
Now, march on.