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Author Topic: Perception of Girls and Body Image
MusicNerd
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Hey there! So, I've been thinking a lot about a speech/discussion on bisexuality and feminism I and other students had with bisexual and LGBT rights activist Robyn Ochs (my college was lucky enough to have her come and speak with us yesterday [Smile] ). To sum up one of the stories she told us, she noted how she used to think about how women are so beautiful, but never really related that same notion to herself. She then had an epiphany in talking with a friend that she thought was, in her words, "really lovely" and she noticed how her own body type was very similar to her friend's; it was then that she noticed the irony in being so critical of her own body when she finds other women's bodies (even ones who have bodies similar to hers) to be so beautiful.

Her sharing of that story really changed how I think about my own body considering when I have a crush on a girl, I could care less about her dress size or bra size or weight or whatever, and I just think, "Oh my God, she's so cute!" It made me think about how I don't impose the same strict standards of attractiveness on other women that I do on myself.

I just figured this would be an interesting discussion/query to bring up. Has anyone else encountered this thought in their "same"-sex attractions?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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That Strange CT child
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I sometimes think that if im attracted to anyone, no matter male or female, they need to be more attractive than me so that i dont make them feel bad or unfit and so i have to aspire to be like them
Sometimes i copy someone i likes habits in the hope it will eventually make me as fit as them
Its always good to cut people slack but u cant forget to give yourself slack because u know yourself better than anyone else [Wink]

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It is my hope that what i ask here is answered for me and anyone else afraid to ask the same question :)

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Burdened with glorious booty
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I've always had this thing in which I think a quality is a positive in someone else, but a negative in myself. The biggest one, of course, being my weight - I'm not exactly fat, but I'm unfit and untoned, so my legs look fairly fat, and I used to get teased for it. Now, I like a large variety of girly figures, including girls who weigh a hell of a lot more than I do...and yet, I still look at my legs and think they're fat sometimes. The same goes for the boys I like - in fact, I've often joked that I like my boys big and squishy because I often crush on lovely guys who happen to be overweight. I think it's a self-esteem issue that's unrelated to my attractions to people, really.

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Ta-da!

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Molias
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MusicNerd, this is definitely something I've noticed in my own life. Not as a woman - I just started to understand that I was (and had been) attracted to women around the same time I was realizing I no longer identified as one - but it's definitely come up in my attraction to men. (not to jump in and mansplain here, I just figure this is probably applicable across various genders)

I have a pretty wide range of attraction in terms of body types/attributes I like, so some of that overlaps with attributes I share. I've struggled with being hyper-critical of my body for pretty much my whole life and it can be really helpful to be able to interrupt some of that negative self-talk with "hey, I think that guy's really attractive and he has [whatever shared trait] too. It looks good on him so probably it works just fine for me." It's still a struggle for me, for sure, but it helps me remember that this is a perception problem of mine, not an actual body problem.

I think you bring up a good point that it can be easy to have standards in place for yourself that you'd never enforce for anyone else in your life. It can be much easier to be a jerk to yourself than to other people, sometimes.

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smittenkitten
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I think I kind of have a variant on that. Since I stopped reading "womens'" magazines in my early 20s, I have been a lot nicer to myself about my body. That said, I've been aware that being plus sized has set me aside from many woman, something I especially noticed while shopping (when you can't avoid recognizing what size you are).

As for women I'm attracted to, their size often doesn't come into it but generally they would be my size or smaller. I don't know how much of that is the influence of the Western beauty myth but there you have it. One of my other current partners is bigger than me and I don't like it for practical reasons - her vagina is always sweaty and gross and I can't go down on her because her stomach makes it impossible to breathe. It sounds horrible but we work around it. I know she is trying to drop some weight but even if she wasn't it isn't my place to tell her she should.

I've recently joined a gym with the aim of getting back into my winter clothes and at the moment I'm super motivated. I'm hoping that motivation will stick around so I can be slightly smaller and slightly healthier.

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September
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As an ex-anorexic, I have a pretty complicated relationship with my body still, and I am often pretty hard on myself.

However, I've always been attracted to people of all sorts of body types, often without really consciously realizing that I find things hot in other people that I reject about myself. Becoming aware of that and kind of making it a point to remind myself of this is helping me appreciate myself more, too. I really actually adore little quirks, things that set people apart, things that others might view as "flaws", and there's really no reason that others might not appreciate things that I consider "flaws" in myself.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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WesLuck
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Yes, it's true that weight and perceived flaws are much more of a mind thing than a body thing. It is rare that something is so extreme that it interrupts normal functioning, but if you think it does, it simply Does.
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Redskies
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It definitely helped me to realise that I was attracted to women of all different body shapes and sizes, and helped me to realise that I'd been seeing my own body through a very wonky lens. It seemed kinda ridiculous that I really liked certain features in other people, but had automatically been classing them as negative about my own body. I think this realisation has made me more relaxed with and kinder to myself. It's helped me to get a little further away in my thoughts from what might be "expected" of me and to focus more on how my body Feels and what it can do.

(Also, MusicNerd: Robin Ochs, how awesome!)

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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WesLuck
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For much of history it has been expected that women are the ones that have to present themselves "to be looked at" and the men are the action ones who "do the looking". Now it is gradually becoming more balanced as time goes on. I think things can only improve in the future.
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Robin Lee
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Depending on the time in history, and the culture, sometimes the way women were objects of being looked at was to make themselves as unobtrusive as possible. I think this is still true in some areas of the world today.

I don't know that this actually means less critical evaluation on the part of any gender, but I think it's worth remembering that the western style of gaze and evaluation (both of self and others) hasn't always been what it is now, and doesn't necessarily reflect self or otherevaluation in other cultures.

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Robin

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WesLuck
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Yes, I understand what you mean. But women have been oppressed for a long time, and them needing to keep themselves "good to look at" helped them keep away from "actually, we're generally treated badly, what does it matter how we look?".
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