Here’s an oldie but a goodie…
Posts Tagged ‘Beauty & Body Image’
You’re not ugly.
Not in the least. Don’t make those videos. Take them down if they are up. You don’t need people to tell you how beautiful you are on there. You don’t need to put yourself in the position to be judged that way. You are better than that and you deserve the very best in life. If I could come through this screen and tell you and show you and bolster you and buoy you up and raise you high above all the bad shit you are going through – so your spirit is free and you feel like you are flying, I would. I’d give anything if I could find a way to show you how lovely and perfect you are. If you’d believe me when I say you are amazing, you are the only you in the world and that makes you special and precious and holy, truly one of a kind – it would make me the happiest.
I thought I was so ugly for so long and I wasted so much of my life on this dumb notion. I punished myself and avoided my reflection in mirrors and any windows. I would see myself reflected back and I would look away, trying to pretend I didn’t exist because I hated myself so much. I hated the way I looked and it started early on. My father found a school project from 1st grade, where I had written on a photo of myself that I looked like a flat faced mummy – and firstly, how does a kid that young know what a flat faced mummy is and secondly, I cry at my own self judgement and thirdly, I was such a cute kid. Imagine my face and then miniaturize it in your mind until the age of 6. I know, fucking adorable.
One day I looked at myself and I thought, shit, this is it. this is what I look like. No amount of self hatred is going to change my appearance. I am who I am. I am stuck with this and I have to love it or else I am going to die early from my own suffering and idea that I got shortchanged in the looks department.
Why go through life feeling cheated? It does nothing but make you bitter. I don’t want to be bitter. I want to be better. I want you to be better. I don’t want you to waste all those years like I did. I didn’t get to the point of feeling real good about myself until my 40s. that was pretty much 40 years of uninterrupted self loathing that I had no need for. I never got to enjoy my youth, and I was a gorgeous kid and I missed it because I hated myself for no reason. I am kicking myself because I missed out on so much happiness because I had this idea that I was ugly that I couldn’t shake, that was supported by others – as they had their own issues with self hatred and so took it out on me. I don’t want you to miss out on a minute of your fantastic lives.
Let’s just say I am right, you are beautiful, end of story. I have so much love for you and I want your lives to be richer, happier and better than mine. I want to make these mistakes so you don’t have to. Like on a group ride when the leader rides ahead and can alert you to the potholes and other dangers on the road. I am just pointing them out to you because I have been there. I know this place, this life and I have some advice. I hope you take it.
Margaret Cho discusses the impact of our cultural obsession with weight, and how we can break free. From the set of Miss Representation, the 2011 documentary written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Learn more at:
Don’t forget that Karl Lagerfeld has a history of saying shitty things about women’s bodies – like this classic:
“No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”
It’s the insult of the statement, not the word “fat”, but it’s hard for me to hear and to use that word without all of the baggage associated with it because it is a word that has been deliberately used to hurt me and its not been an easy thing to rid it of its intense connotations.
It’s like a knife. Is it going to cut you or is it going to butter you up? The first 1000 times it cuts you and so you’re going to be wary of it buttering you up because it’s gonna feel like a cut and you are going to bleed no matter what. Its an involuntary emotional reaction that I can’t control. I want to control it. Help me get it under control.
I have bad history with it. I got called fat when I was doing All American Girl and I didn’t eat after that and wound up in the hospital, my kidney failing at 24 years old. I also developed a heart murmur and still have bad shit my body won’t forget from that time. The incident easily cut at least a decade off my lifespan. I was perfectly healthy before. Now, I have to be a lot more careful.
I remember the phone call vividly.
The producer was my good friend. She was rad, a fun gal. She came to my trailer in secret and we smoked cigarettes where her kids wouldn’t see or smell it. I really loved her – I trusted her. I needed someone like her then. You need your women around you to keep you safe. I was young and scared and I just wanted a job for fuck’s sake. I was only trying to work.
She called huffing and puffing and saying that “your…….body……. was just toooo…… your face……. The …..fa..t….. you’re too fat. You are just so fat we can’t do this. You are too fat and we have to do something…… you have to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. ANYTHING.” and I felt like I was going to die and I nearly did. It was beyond my control, and almost 20 years later I am still utterly destroyed by any negative assessment of mine or any woman’s body. It’s not just me I bleed for when I am cut by this word, it’s everyone. I feel for all the world like I am feeling for all the world.
I give other people too much power because I can’t look the other way or shrug it off or ignore it or consider the source. I overreact because that is my nature, but at least it’s fairly poetic. What’s awesome is I can actually laugh about it. I really do.
I am laughing thinking about how stupid Karl Lagerfeld feels and how he has seen that talking the way he does about women’s bodies is worse for his business than he ever imagined. I am laughing thinking about him sweating his words and trying to fan that fear sweat away.
I am still boycotting Chanel, ha! As if I could afford anything they sell anyway!!! Hhahaha. It’s also ugly. Chanel shit is just ugly. Who gives a fuck about quilts? Hahahahhaahah fuck Karl and fuck Chanel. And fuck people who try to insult women by calling them fat. Fuck them all. Hahahahahahah.
I am actively trying to reclaim the word fat. I am actively trying to get better. But I do have a disease that is deadly as cancer or AIDS. Anorexia kills. Bulimia kills. I am still sick. I am in remission I guess, but the virus lives in me. Dormant for now. But it’s there.
I want to educate people about my disease. It’s caused by ignorance and casual cruelty. I want to stop the spread of my disease.
People thinking they can say whatever they want about women’s bodies and thinking they will not be held accountable? No, I am not having it. I wanna be like Fatgirl!! You could shine a big stretch mark in the sky and I will come whizzing through the night on my motorcycle to kick some douchebag’s ass!
If you think you can dismiss our beauty and belittle us you should just know, say what you will, but I am going to make you eat your words. Fatgirl is coming for you. Na na na na na na na na FATGIRL!!!!!!
And how about another FUCK YOU KARL LAGERFELD
You should hide behind that fan Karl Lagerfeld, shame on you, for calling Adele ‘a little bit fat’. Who are you? What is the point of saying that? What are you trying to prove? Why are you trying to cut a bitch down? Shame shame shame. Don’t read people as that only leads to being read to and you don’t want to hear that story. You have talked about being bullied, and I am sure you were. I see it, as I was bullied too, and I am disappointed in you, for here you have proven yourself to be quite good at it, and you are the very worst kind – a condescending one.
Adele is nothing less than amazing. She is a true, courageous and rare talent and someone who has captured the attention and the admiration of the world in a seriously short time. She is ALSO a great beauty and tremendously meaningful incandescent wonder. She looks so awesome, her loveliness radiates from her strong and fast spinning interior klieg lights and brightens everything to the degree that it makes even dark, overcast me feel luminous and fierce and worthy. That’s what a light like her does. She lights up our life. She is beaming through the clouds and bringing you the sun. Fuck you if you can’t realize that. Fuck you and your fucking glasses. Take them off for a second and see the goddamn light. Self tanner doesn’t give you no vitamin D. You need sun.
Adele sings and I wish I could sing like that, and I do, in the shower. I wonder if i could look like her. Maybe 20 years ago that could have been me. Maybe I am beautiful after all. Maybe everyone was wrong about me. Maybe I am going to be loved. Maybe I’ll be happy someday. Maybe, yes. Maybe.
It sounds complex because it is terribly complex, but curiously simple and plain. When you see someone you identify with, who has a body that could be your body, and you recognize it on the screen because you remember it from the mirror and you watch them shine and conquer and overcome and overwhelm and startle and take over the world, you think you can do the same. It gives you strength. It’s powerful, indescribably so. A star like her – we haven’t had someone like that for a while. She’s been desperately needed. Where you been all our lives Adele? I am just glad you’re here.
Adele changes the game and all the rules. She makes a generation of women, young and old, want to play. She makes us feel like we could win, we could actually win this time. Finally, we have our eyes on the prize. When she’s on the cover of a magazine, I buy it right then and there. She doesn’t look like the girls who are always on the cover of a magazine. She looks better, and all the more so because she really fucking deserves to be there.
Why are you trying to tarnish that? why are you trying to spit on her success and fame? Its ugly. It’s uncouth and unfair. And I know that you, as you have the kind of face and frame easily run to fat – its familiar as I have the same – I know you’ve struggled. I have felt for you. You know what it feels like to be judged. Why do it? Because you’ve made it to the other side? Is it better there? Aren’t you hungry? I am, just looking at you. I know to be as thin as you are now, you need to control everything that goes into your mouth every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I wish you were as ardent in controlling what came out of it.
I don’t know why we care what you have to say. We don’t have the luxury to starve for fashion. We have to work for a living. We have double shifts. We carry groceries we can barely buy with our meager salaries up many flights of stairs and feed our children and deal with our children being molested and woefully sometimes bury our children and find a way to live through this, being merely children ourselves. We worry through vocal surgery and survive the silence and still go to gigs and keep from getting hit and if we do, successfully cover the bruises with concealer so we can go to school and to the DMV and SXSW and keep our heads up high while being unloved or loved by the wrong ones and hang in the friend zone as we hang our laundry out to dry and run for the bus and fight for the right to marriage while finalizing painful divorces and try amidst all this to keep going and get by.
When you say we are fat, you murder our grace, and we’ve already lost so much to begin with. We’ve already lost everything, except weight. That we gain steadily, along with self hatred, and all you are doing is adding to our burden, pressing down on the scale with the long toe of your fine, elegantly tassled loafer.
We don’t have millions of dollars to perforate our fat with expensive, experimental injections. We don’t have time to be lightheaded and sick with hunger. We can’t afford fasting clinics in the Swiss Alps or a messianic nutritionist or portion controlled meals wrapped up in white linen and enshrouded in Chanel camellias. We have to pay the rent and pay for gas and if eating is some comfort to us in our difficult lives, let it be so. Just let us be. Let us listen to Adele, who is triumphantly one of us and let us enjoy her and feel like her and think we are her for a moment and be safe in her music and in our heads.
To someone like you or me or Adele or anyone really, to be called fat is the gravest insult, and the injury in yours is that you say she has a beautiful face. How many of us have heard the same thing and suffered more for it? Its not a compliment. It’s like saying ‘my, what a fabulous turd.’ Keep your compliments and condescension to yourself. It doesn’t soften what you know in your heart to be a mighty blow.
You consider yourself to be the authority on style, as you are supposedly style personified but what good is style when you have no class? What good is style when you have no humanity? What good is style when you make us want to kill ourselves? We are dying, Karl. Lots of us are already dead.
Don’t bother apologizing, as I am sure your people, your ‘Team Lagerfeld’ is advising you to do. There is no ‘I’ in team, but if there were, there would be a Tim and a Tam and have you had a Tim Tam? You should. They are real good. What you could do instead of offering an empty apology is design for us, all the regular folks in the world, and really go for it. Make clothes that flatter us, make us feel good about ourselves. Make beautiful things that glorify us but won’t bankrupt our bank accounts or our spirit. Do your job, dummy. Be the sartorial equivalent to Adele’s music. I know you have it in you. There is immeasurable genius behind all your idiocy, behind the ridiculous glasses, within the high perimeter of that starched collar.
If you say it isn’t possible, then you are useless. If you say you can’t do it and that it is our own fault that we can’t be thin enough for your vision, then you are a dismal failure, and you’ve always been one and you always will be.
We are sick of only being able to wear your fragrance. It stinks of selfishness and stupidity and lack of effort and frankly, that is beneath you, because honestly, I know you try, just like we try. We are all trying Karl, but I am asking you to try harder. With your prodigious means and power, you could change things for the better, for generations to come. But if you don’t want to now, then you probably won’t ever, which is sad and wasteful of your lavish gifts and a precious opportunity lost. If you want to be that way then flap that fan until you take flight and fill the thin air with your antique birdsong – out of earshot, so we can listen to Adele in peace.
I know he apologized but I still think this is a good piece of writing and truly worth reading. I was a little late responding because I was so angry!! As I wrote, I was crying and clenching and unclenching my jaw and my asshole at the same time. It would have been nice for someone else I guess but unfortunately I was alone. Fashion just hurts my feelings all the time. I love his work, even though it never fits me and I can’t even get my arms in a beautiful white silk sequin pantsuit I have of his I bought on ebay. I keep it and I look at it and I am enraged but I can’t fucking throw it out because it is so nice. I have a bunch of clothes of his like that. It is sick. Ok, I am considering his apology. But he needs to make shit we can actually fucking wear.
I have some wonderful new tattoos on my ass by the incredible Cris Cleen, who I love, and I posted a picture of them on twitter, which got many favorable comments but there were two negative ones, and I blew a fucking gasket. I screamed out loud and tracked the perps down and blocked them, but not before really ramming it to them in the strongest language I could use. It was over the top and really kind of ridiculous, but I cannot help myself.
Some outside facebook observer said that my “language” was too much and told me that I had “lost a fan” because she couldn’t condone my “language”. I am sorry for that, as I love my fans, and it sucks to lose one, but obviously she doesn’t understand that when you grow up the way that I did, with kids at school throwing rocks at my face because they hated it because it was so ugly to them and they wanted the blood from my wounds to cover it so it wouldn’t have to be seen and at summer camps stuffed dog shit in my sleeping bag because I was told time and again that I looked like shit – and that I had to empty myself in the dark forest and still sleep in smelling that shit all that night and for weeks after because my family was too poor to afford a new one, my “language” is on the strong side. I apologize for offending the former fan, but I am only myself. That is all I can be, and if I must apologize for that, I don’t mind. All I am trying to say is that no young girl should be told she is ugly. If she is, you kill her spirit, and she may grow up like me, and lose a fan.
I grew up hard and am still hard and I don’t care. I did not choose this face or this body and I have learned to live with it and love it and celebrate it and adorn it with tremendous drawings from the greatest artists in the world and I feel good and powerful like a nation that has never been free and now after many hard won victories is finally fucking free. I am beautiful and I am finally fucking free.
I fly my flag of self esteem for all those who have been told they were ugly and fat and hurt and shamed and violated and abused for the way they look and told time and time again that they were ‘different’ and therefore unlovable. Come to me and I will tell you and show you how beautiful and loved you are and you will see it and feel it and know it and then look in the mirror and truly believe it. If you are offended by my anger and my might at defending my borders and my people you do not deserve entry into my beloved and magnificent country.
If you were raised lovingly and told you were perfect and beautiful and loved and the best at all things, I am just jealous. You had it much better, and so you really should spread that love around as opposed to judging those like me who never had that, never knew what it was like and never could even imagine it. I could learn from you instead of feeling judged by you. Give the less loved and less cared for and less treasured a chance. If I had that opportunity, then my language and attitude might not be so offensive. If I had been told once when I was a little girl that I was pretty (other than when I was being sexually molested – that doesn’t count) it might have made me nicer. It just didn’t happen. So I had to make do and make up for it myself. And that made me a bit on the edgy side. It made me a bit of a bitch.
When someone says something negative about my face or body I will always and forever just completely lose my shit, because I have so much hatred in me, a violence that lies just beneath the surface of my delightfully illustrated skin. Being called ugly and fat and disgusting to look at from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend my own loveliness and my image of myself as stunningly gorgeous with a ruthlessness and a defensiveness that I fear for anyone who casually or jokingly questions it, as my anger and rage combined with my intense and fearsome command of words create insults meant to maim, kill and destroy.
Things I could say should be left unheard and unsaid because I am not willing to be the bigger person. I do not take the high road. I take the low road and blows below the belt are my absolute favorite. The best revenge is not living well. The best revenge is revenge. My mouth and mind and typing fingers are weapons of mass destruction and I pity those ignorant idiots who would leave insults about mine or any women’s bodies in comment boxes because there’s ways of hunting people down. Lots and lots of ways. It’s not as anonymous as they think, as stupid as they are.
I’d like to say things that would haunt them for the rest of their days, because their hideous words stay with me eternally. Their insipid spouts of “no fat chicks” are branded onto my soul, so they must reap what they sow. If I am in my worst way and I talk to you, you will know you have been talked to. I want to punish you with the unforgettable shit you will take to your grave and hurt you long after you are dead in the ground. may my poison bore holes in your dry, decaying bones. I am not proud of this, but it’s just the way this life has made me.
I want to defend the children that we still are inside, the fragile sensitive souls who no matter how much we tried were still told we were not good enough. I want to make the world safe and better and happy for us. We deserve beauty, love, respect, admiration, kindness and compassion. If we don’t get it, there will be hell to pay. I am no saint, but I am here for you and me. I am here for us, and I am doing the best I can.