Then I got to work, and had two separate people ask me if I was pregnant. (If you are wondering, I am not.) I blame this squarely on the empire waist tank top: Empire waists do nothing for a shape like mine, because they fall in a way that emphasizes the widest part of my body while ignoring the parts that taper. Like my actual waist. It is a terrible look for me--I guess I thought that the inherent cuteness and good shape of the Wrenna would counteract the tank top. No such luck.
What's most surprising about this, I guess, is how upset I am as a result. I've done my fair share of feminist theory, and I know all about body politics and the like; I don't think you can be a feminist on the internet without coming in to contact with these ideas at some point or other. One of my favourite units to teach back in my high school teachin' days was the critical media studies unit on gender in the media. (Plus I'm a knitter, and there's nothing like being actively involved in making your own clothing to make you understand how totally arbitrary sizing and notions of body shape are.) I try my best to advocate accepting your body as it is, and acknowledging our cultural standards of beauty as problematic and unrealistic. I know how difficult popular culture makes navigating this world if you don't fit into these preconceived notions of what a woman's shape should be, but I guess I've always sort of thought that I was above all that.
It turns out I'm not above it at all. The pregnancy question has me obsessing over my weight. I keep wondering, Am I fat? I sneak glances at myself in the windows in the hallways at work; I examine my reflection in the mirrors in the washroom; I bemoan the lack of a full-length mirror at home where I can see my whole body.
I know I'm not fat. I know I'm not skinny, either, and I know that I really shouldn't weigh much less than what I weigh right now.* My body isn't shaped to be much smaller than it is right now: My hips are always going to be wide; I'm always going to be chesty; I am always going to be curvy. (I'm pretty sure this comes from my dad's family--the M----rs all have crazy metabolisms. Thanks a lot, Dad's genetic line!) I don't think my body is perfect (there are loads of things about it that I don't love, but that's another essay for another time) but there's certainly nothing wrong with it. So why, then, am I all in a tizzy over this idea that I look like I could be pregnant (which my mind has turned, by extention, into looking fat)?
It's just interesting to me, I guess, to come into such close contact with my own failings. I'm quite surprised that this upsets me that much, but it does. I don't know that I'd go quite so far as to call it hypocrisy on my part, but some days it really feels like the older I get, the more I discover that I keep falling short of the person I like to think that I am.