My husband doesn’t need to see your boobs, written by a woman who is emphatic that she doesn’t need women with bodies she envies to stop showing them off, but just to realize that the visibility of their hotness is a stumbling block for her marriage because… well… hotness. Right?
At first I was annoyed. My brain went straight to, “Are you kidding me right now?” This is the kind of logic that results in so much ugliness toward and between women because of the bodies we live in, and here’s more of it from a woman who describes herself as committed to social justice. At first I was angry. Then I read more, and the more I read the sadder I got. Honestly, look.
I know you don’t mean anything by it. But I need to share one more thing with you.
When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you.
As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am.
And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again–me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.
At the end of this I just wanted to sit her down and tell her that her worth is about more than how well she places in some kind of bullshit competition among women for Best Boobies Evar(TM), a competition in which every woman below 1st place loses all measurable value. I know what she’s been taught, because we have all been taught it. All women know this stuff: the value of beauty above all, and one particular youth-worshipping fatphobic whitecentric standard in particular. We all know it. And you know what? We’re all taught that other women are the problem, too.
I wanted to comment on her entry, but I don’t have an account there and she probably requires one at this point because so many people are yelling at her for how ridiculously burdensome her message to hot girls is (which it is, yes) when quite frankly this woman is hurting from a lot of the same crap that hurts us all. Someone has to be the first to say, “Sister, this isn’t a competition. This isn’t a zero sum game. We’re not enemies just because you envy my cup size or that girl over there has a thigh gap. We’re not enemies.”
So here’s what I take away from her entry: What a painful way to live. It would never have occurred to me that my marriage extended into other women’s shirts, and I’ve never worried about protecting it from competing bustlines.
I guess I’m not sure what other people could do to adjust for this stumbling block in your marriage. It seems like she doesn’t want the women whose pictures cause such problems for her to throw on a niqab, but it sort of feels like she does want them to do SOMETHING. Is that accurate? What can anybody else do when the very shape of the body they live in is so upsetting to her? Would that really get at the root of the problem?
Her husband loves her and she is the one he wants, or else he would be with some 19 year old DD hardbody with a thigh gap. He’s not with one of those women. She is the one he wants and hers is the body he has chosen out of all the billions of other ladybodies on the planet. He knew the hardbodies were out there, and yet he made an informed decision for himself that she was the one. Seeing another set of boobs isn’t going to shake that, because he already knew those boobs were out there. He made his decision. He chose her.
If you have a hard time accepting that as the real truth of the situation, then I can’t help but worry that even if all the hot young things covered themselves up and hid themselves away, these thoughts would still be eating at her because she’d know the skinny teenager boobs were out there somewhere, waiting to invade her marriage.
I hope she finds a solution to this. Doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen until she really names and locate the problem, though. I don’t think it’s that the existence of perky girlboob is a threat to her marriage. I think it’s that she is having trouble reassuring herself that women have more to offer than perky girlboob, that she has more to offer than that. But she does. Look at her and all the amazing stuff on this blog! The best boobs in the universe couldn’t undermine that, so I don’t know why the owners of The Best Boobs Evar(TM) should worry about it happening either. Their boobs aren’t hurting anyone.
I occupy a middle ground where I do compare myself unfavorably to other women, or even to myself at other times in my life, but other women also have told me outright that they use the way I look as a way to bludgeon themselves for not being good enough. I have to live with the knowledge that every time I am visible near them, they are picking me up and using me to hurt themselves, like I’m some kind of convenient psychological poison they can’t even relate to except as an avenue to emotional self-harm. Do you think that feels good to me? Do you think I feel victorious and exultant at the defeat of another woman by my unstoppable invincible booty? No, of course not. In that situation nobody is happy! The whole thing is just one big perpetual misery machine and sometimes all you can do is look at those feelings, accept that they are there, be aware of the actual reasons they are happening, and don’t try to get other people to accommodate the cruel parts of your brain in the hopes that appeasing the jerkbrain is even a thing that can be done.
Your jerkbrain is going to be a jerk. The women you are so toxically envious of? I can say from experience that their brains are definitely being jerks to them too, and saying it’s because someone else is walking around having an enviable body shape. They aren’t your problem. They aren’t your enemy. The jerkbrain is our enemy. Not only does your jerkbrain not deserve to control all these other women, it doesn’t deserve to control you. Nothing good comes of it.
“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene
Jerkbrains gonna be jerks.
You cannot appease them.
The absence of visible hot young boobies won’t appease them.
If your boobs are the most perfect perky boobs on the planet, that will not appease jerkbrains either.
They cannot be appeased.
So I’m not gonna listen to your jerkbrain, and I hope someday I can stop listening to my own. I hope you can stop too, Lauren, because this self-hate is going to dog your heels until you do (no matter what anyone else looks like or where they do it or whether your husband can see).