Monday, August 17, 2015

Let's Hear It for the Girl!

You know who's overweight? Nearly every person I know. You know who hates their body? Nearly every woman I know. The men may have the same ten or forty or seventy-five pounds they ought to lose for their health, but they do not wake each morning determined to starve themselves into looking different, detesting the way they look now, their self-confidence utterly undermined.

No, that seems to be a woman's purview. And it's sad.

I'm a member of a weight-loss organization which works for many, but not all. It's a cult, it's a miracle, it's learning how to eat with health in mind--no matter how much of you there is.

One thing I've learned by attending its meetings is that heavy women often fall into two groups. There are large women who make the most of what they have--pretty faces, green eyes that pop with the right makeup, a sense of style, great posture, great taste in shoes or glasses, a mix-and-match wardrobe in a small number of flattering colors, bras that cost more than good shoes--and those who have given up, characterized by unflattering knit pants with elastic waists, tops which hug every bulge, cheap bras, hair in a "practical" style, and little or no makeup.

While it's lovely to see those who are losing weight rediscover that they can feel good about how they look, it's just as lovely to see those who are not losing weight see that they, too, can feel good about how they look. It takes some effort, but a big woman with access to a thrift store or a sewing machine can do great things for her appearance and confidence.

So let's embrace the lovely women and girls that we are, including our bodies, and wear clothes that make us feel good. Let's wear large plaids, bright colors, lateral stripes, tight knits, and short skirts. Let's bare our arms in warm weather and wear shorts and swimsuits. Let's go to good department and clothing stores, try on, and not blame or hate ourselves when a garment doesn't work for us. Instead, let's figure out what's not right about it and find something else to try on which doesn't have the same mismatch with who we are, what we like, and how we're shaped.

Let's remind ourselves there's no size limit on great makeup, hairstyles, nail polish, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. Let's shop with our large friends and help them find wardrobes that make them smile. Let's not get discouraged when something proves so tight it won't zip or we can't pull it past our hips. Let's not invest our emotions in a numerical size but be pleased at how we look in whatever size fits us. Let's reward stores which offer many choices for us by buying there, giving favorable online reviews, and recommending them to friends.

And let's remember that women in our communities and online know how to sew and will gladly share that knowledge with others. (You wouldn't believe how easy a skirt can be, especially if it doesn't have to zip.) Let's remember we are entitled to try on without buying, then make one like it ourselves at a fifth of the cost and in a color and print we adore. Let's make ourselves the simpler pieces of a wardrobe and save our hard-earned money for those beyond our abilities.

Let us all celebrate who we are, refusing to wear fabric sacks in dark colors instead of fashionable clothes. And please, let's all remember to compliment one another when we look especially good, because we can and we do--unless we've given up.

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