The Beauty Myth: Redefining Beauty on Love Your Body Day

The Beauty Myth: Redefining Beauty on Love Your Body Day

By: Sarah Meinel Sometimes, thinness is a curse: beautiful young women in the supermarket glare at me, unprovoked. I try to smile, but it seems to only make them angrier. They swish their hair as they approach, refusing to make eye contact and yet ensuring with their body language that I know they are paying attention, as if I have somehow intended to upset them. Mere acquaintances ask me what I am eating, how I stay so thin.  Older women look me up and down. “Oh, I hate you!” they banter, slapping me on the shoulder. “Gosh, you are so skinny,” the heavier women say. “I’ll give you some of my butt and then you’ll have boobs!” A perfect trade. “ It is only women who make these comments–and I don’t pretend to be innocent here. I have fallen prey to the body myth, too, and I have been cruel to other women, because I live in the same world as everyone else. I am subjected to the same messaging that says my body is not good enough, will never be good enough, and which tells me that neither is yours. I live in a culture that taught me to compete with other women for the attention of men, to see other women as adversaries until they morph into distinctly close allies. I live within the same cultural myth that says a woman’s value is tied to her physicality, her sexuality. I fight against that every day, too. I have always been naturally thin, yes; but I have also gone through periods of excessive exercise, and I have a...