Like the title states, perception is a harsh mistress.
For better or for worse our perception of a person or event or even a thing blinds our view of it and changes us. I don’t believe we can ever escape this. We are only human after all and I think, at least of late, there has been a very hard push on humanity to foster perfection.
For the purposes of this post let’s focus on the term “Body Shaming.”
What is it exactly to “body shame?”
The definition is as easy as the name. When we think a woman or a man is too thin, we’re body shaming. When we think they are too fat we are body shaming. Any criticism, no matter how minor, any opinion no matter how trivial comes under this new vogue umbrella term.
Is it fair to criticize others on their physical appearance? I’m thinking that answer is a no. It’s not fair. A lot of people cannot help the way they look and pre-conceived societal notions of beauty change moment to moment. I mean hey, just look at the renaissance and the early 90’s.
I applaud the fitness industry’s brave new world of “let’s all love each other no matter how we look” and Hollywood’s new stance on “why can’t women eat?” I totally love the fact that people have yet again coined a new “term” they can now use to shame others who shame others who shame others.
I am highly attracted to cyclical hypercriticalism. It’s my favorite, along with wine gums. Wine gums are awesome.
I don’t want to “body shame” people…. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn’t “Hey! Let’s go find a fat man to verbally haze!” No, really… it isn’t. In fact, I seem to collectively make it through the entire day—everyday—not giving a flying fuck about the bodies of the people around me.
It’s amazing the sense of freedom having an actual life is. I go to work, I stress out about my job. I go to the gym and I lift very heavy things and I put them down. I do so with other men and women who are lifting heavy things and putting them down. Occasionally I will notice one of them is wearing shoes I’d like to buy. Then I come home, I make dinner, and I watch television commercials full of brain washing and still… somehow… I manage to see them for what they are and not buy a container full of chemicals to make me instantly [insert social desirable stereotype here].
Occasionally I’ll see an actress on TV who is skeletally thin. I use the term skeletal in a factual sense here as I can see, with my eyes, her actual skeleton which, if this is the look she is going for, is quite impressive. Occasionally on the street I will see a man who barely fits into his enormous sweat pants eating a double cheeseburger and drinking from a 2 liter coke bottle (true story!).
I see these people. You know what though? They are not my problem. If a woman wants to starve herself to look a certain way then it’s her decision. If a man wants to fuel his body with high calorie foods then it’s all on him. When do we stop blaming society for making us sick, for making us fat or for making us thin?
As a pagan I am a true believer in free will. As I always say, are we not our own gods? If each of us contains, by nature, access to the power of will then where can the blame be placed but upon our own heads?
My will chooses Muirakai. All my focus is on her. What is her power? What is her will? How can she better serve the goddess, the universe and the men and women around her?
There is something bizarre in humanity that makes us want to “focus on what other people are doing.” I hear it all day long.
“Oh. My. God. Look at what he’s eating.”
“She went to lunch for over an hour.”
“He’s buying his kids an iPad for [insert mainstream seasonal religious holiday here].”
“Her ass is so fat in those pants.”
You know what? Her ass might be fat in those pants but who gives a shit? Sometimes it’s all in perception like “My ass is so FAT in these pants! YES!” because some people are really into a fat ass. Goddess knows I’m working on my squat pattern for a reason. These gluts won’t stock themselves.
My trainer always quotes “comparison is the thief of joy.” She’s not wrong. When we let assholes rent space in our head we relinquish our power and let the actions of others dictate our path. Life is not immune to comparison and I am not on board with the total and utter censorship of my internal workings for better or for worse.
I refuse to hold myself to standards outside myself. One day I might look at someone and I may, in my head, “body shame” them. Sometimes I “body shame” myself. I know that both of these actions have internal consequences but I’m not going to make a pledge to not “body shame.” I don’t make pledges. As a pagan I understand that the energy I release into the universe comes back to me for good or ill.
We don’t want to judge others, but we sure will judge ourselves for judging others and we sure will judge others who judge us or who judge others in front of us. Why? Because we are just so amazing that we feel we need to hold the world to a certain set of standards that even we cannot comply with. Piss off.
I’m not going to delve into the dark world of existentialism today. One woman’s evil is always another man’s good.
We are complex creatures filled with power, laughter, passion, fear and anger. We are horrible to each other. We love and support each other. We kill and we birth. We wage wars internally and globally. We seek peace and reflection. We seek to hurt and we seek to heal.
I cannot control the people around me. I do not try to. I cannot possibly force another life to adhere to my whim. If you want to “body shame” me then feel free. I’m emotionally OK with it. I would rather celebrate the will that enables you to think freely then celebrate the brainwashing that removes your free will.
Perception is a harsh mistress.