Thought Catalog
January 8, 2015

Why Do I Hate My Body?

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Flickr / Caterina Appia
Flickr / Caterina Appia

Why do I hate my body?

I don’t get it. I don’t understand why I hate my reflection. I don’t understand how I can be so many things, so many brilliant things, but that sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters about me is how I look in a fucking crop top. I don’t get it.

I guess, intellectually, I understand it. Media. Beauty standards. Magazines. Advertising. Greed. Hollywood. Photoshop. It all makes sense in my head. I see it. I get it. I understand how that kind of shit can just sneak its way into my brain and start camping out in there, dictating my thoughts and behavior like it owns the place. I see that.

Like, intellectually and logically and rationally, I understand how I can get to the place of viewing my body in a very negative light, considering the kind of nonsense I am unaware of digesting on a daily basis. That being said, I’m conscious. I don’t just consume without thinking. I don’t buy magazines. I watch the shows I like on Hulu and that’s it. I’m not bombarding myself with all these unrealistic images of women.

And yet.

Even with that, even with a conscious effort to not be exposed to the kinds of shit which sneaks its way into my brain, I still hate my body. I still go to sleep with exercise plans in my head. I still see eating bread as the ultimate sin. I still avoid my own reflection. I still hide away parts of me I don’t deem as acceptable. I still flip past pictures of beautiful women on Instagram and automatically assume their lives are better, that they are better. I still look at myself through a critical, harsh lens. I still have this tiny lingering belief that my shinier, happier life happens the moment I fit into a size 4.

I’m accomplished. I’m successful in many ways. I’m intelligent. I’m ambitious. I’m kind and compassionate and thoughtful and passionate about helping when I can for who I can. I’m genuine. I’m trustworthy and I’m honest and I think most people would have a pretty high opinion of me (humble brag!). I’m a self-taught successful graphic designer. I write full-time as a career. I designed and created an iPhone app. I’ve been featured in Fortune magazine. I’ve been interviewed by CNN. I’ve written and published two books with Thought Catalog.

But I am not skinny. I am not hot.

How the latter two characterizations completely overshadow my many former achievements and virtues, I will never know. I will never quite understand why being a woman and being beautiful and thin deserves more recognition than anything else that I could possibly do in my life. I will never understand female admiration that is doled out simply because of the way a woman looks. I will never understand why talent, fortitude, perseverance, intellect, compassion are less virtuous than being hot.

Hot.

To be hot is to be everything. To be hot is to be afforded the luxury of having not be anything else. Female hotness is the ultimate aspiration. And. I. hate. it. Maybe I would hate it less if I were hot, if I was profiting off the system, the game. But, you know, I think I could be hot. I could devote my life to being hot. There are means. There are ways.

Maybe this is a rebellious stance to take, but fuck off, I don’t want to be hot. I don’t want to spend my life trying to be acceptable enough. Good enough. Good enough is the prison women are kept in. I think, if I can be good enough, passable, enough of something, then I will be fine. I will be okay. I don’t consistently aspire to be brilliant or great or accomplished. I aspire to good enough, as if being good enough affords me much of anything. If I can just look like how I’m supposed to look, then I will be fine. If I color in the lines, follow all the rules, be a good woman, I will be fine.

Good enough is a trap. Being good enough is not good enough. It’s not enough of me! It’s a passing grade, a consolation prize, a participation trophy. And, I want none of those things. I’m not trying to hit the limit of who I am by being good enough. Fuck good enough. I want to go straight past good enough and right into being brilliant. Straight to genius. Straight to innovation, change, growth, potential, passion. Good enough is the meh of life. And, I want none of it.

I don’t want to cave or cower to a pervasive belief that says a woman’s ability to be hot is more valuable than her ability to be fucking literally anything else. What kind of world is this? What kind of disempowering bullshit is this? And, why do I stand for it?

Why do I hate my body? Because I think I should. Because I’m punishing myself for not being good enough, for not being hot, for not being thin. I hate my body because I have nothing or no one else to hate. I hate my body because I am angry and it is an easy thing to focus that anger on. I hate my body because it has defied me, because it isn’t naturally thin, naturally hot. I hate my body because it seems like the thing I should do. It is what I’ve been taught. It is what I know and it is what everyone around me does. I hate my body because I choose to hate it. Because I think hating it will inspire me to change it, which will give me the acceptance—the good enoughness—I think I want. I hate my body because I haven’t decided to feel otherwise. I haven’t decided yet that my body is worth loving, that I don’t need to earn its favor, that it can be anything it wants to be and I will continue to love it. I haven’t yet chosen this. TC mark


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