Friday, October 7, 2011

Fat Friday: Tara Lynn, Whales, and Body Image

Tara Lynn, Photo Courtsey: Elle Magazine
A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?!

This picture of french model Tara Lynn and message below in a post originated by Delphine Feiberg has been reblogged over and over again. I came across it through a friend on her facebook page. I love the body positive message. However, what's obnoxious is it's a picture of an average sized woman and yet the message is of acceptance. Maybe I'm more sensitive to the term "whale" since I remember in 5th grade being called this name repeatedly. As if that time in a young girl's life isn't awkward enough, to have the immaturity of young boys call you a "whale" because you have hips and breasts before many of the other girls certainly added to my dysmorphic view of my body. It was the beginning of a continuous battle of being able to see myself clearly. Lately, I have been able to embrace my body and all of it's rolls and curves--even being at the heaviest I've ever been--but today is not one of those days. Today I woke up not wanting to look in a mirror, not wanting to get dressed, not want to have to try and find something to wear that I feel good in. Today is one of those days that I wish the sixteen year old girl version of me had the community of body acceptance and was exposed to more images of healthy looking women. Today is one of those days that knowing the size of my pants and the number on the scale haunts me and I long for the body I had a decade ago; one that I didn't love then. These melancholic feelings come usually once a month, becoming louder when my pmdd begins. I know this feeling will pass and I know that my increased lower back pain also makes other things less tolerable. 

While all of this inner struggle happens today, I will also get outside and appreciate the beautiful Autumn weather in the town I grew up in, spend time with my parents, and look forward to visiting with my younger sister in NYC tomorrow.

Did you experience bullying in adolescence? How does this image affect you, if at all? What is your reaction to what Feiberg wrote under the image? Comment below or email me

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Thank you for shring this important topic. I read the same article on another website and think the answer was brilliant.