So many thoughts...so many topics...I have been participating in an online symposium called EDRDpro this past weekend. A 4 day symposium on the treatment of eating disorders with some of the most prominent and influential dietitians in the world participating. I have been fangirling every day. So after 2 weeks of marking assignment and exams I decided it was time for me to learn. My brain is full of amazing talks and information. And I feel so inspired. Inspired to change the world with regards to how we view bodies, talk about bodies and treat bodies. One of the first speakers was Ragen Chastain, who if you have never heard of her is an amazing activist regarding size acceptance. (She can be found at http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com if you are interested) And her talk was called "The World is Messed Up, You are Fine- Helping Clients deal with a culture of body shame". So much of what she said struck me to the core. I feel I have spent the better part of the last 15 years working on accepting my body as it is each day but some of the things she talked about made me realize that I still have some distance to go. And it made me realize some of the privilege that I have regarding my body size- example I wear sizes that can actually be purchased in most stores and many view my body as healthy although comment on it being "disproportionate"
I was reminded of going bra shopping the week before going back to work after having my son. (In Canada we have 1 year maternity leave so this occurred almost a year after giving birth). None of my bras fit as I was now a smaller cup size than before having both my children (honestly did not realize that was a possibility but with my body it was). Anyways I decided to get fitted for a bra as I was no longer sure of my size. I went into popular bra shop in the mall and spoke to the sales lady. She measured me, then did it again. She looked at me and said " it's much smaller than I was expecting given your size everywhere else. It's like you have 2 different bodies divided at the waist." The look on my face must have been confusion because she clarified with " You breast size is very small and your hips are quite large". I felt this pang of horror. I mean I know that I wear different sizes on the top half of my body vs the bottom. I buy my own clothes but truly in that moment I felt shamed. I felt that there was something wrong with my body. That even though it had grown 2 amazing humans at this point it didn't know how to be normal. I didn't even question the sales lady for being so inappropriate or ask to speak to a manager because I was body shamed instead I asked for the bra size to be written down and I walked out of the store- across the hall to another bra store and bought 4 bras without trying them on because I didn't want to do that again. I really hadn't thought much about that experience until I was listening to Ragen's talk on Friday night. Something brought it back but also the realization that I have not purchased a bra or a bathing suit for that matter in a store since. I will order what I want in multiple sizes and then return the ones that do not fit. Why? Because that feeling was horrible. And the comments from the sales lady were horrible. And I feel safe in my bedroom trying on these items. But that is wrong. We need to live in a world where individuals can shop in stores and comfortably try on clothes without having to hear comments on our bodies. Stop telling me that this style of skirt "will hid my hips" or that " the waist will cover my post baby belly". We all should be allowed to put whatever makes us feel happy and confident on our bodies and not have to worry about "balancing the top and bottom half".
So I will challenge myself to walk into a store give my bra size to the employee and ask him or her to find me something while I look them straight in the eye and challenge them to tell me I could by a bra tax free in the childrens department(yup been told that too) .
Everyone is entailed to live without comment on their physical bodies. Please be aware of your comments, you never know the damage or pain you are causing.
Until next time be unapologetically you while I be unapologetically me