Am I a Bad Feminist?

I’ve been sat here in front of my blank laptop screen with my bullet points jotted down on the notebook beside me, wondering how best to start writing this post for far too long. For some reason, it’s like writing about my appearance and insecurities means losing some of my integrity — like hey, another girl complaining about her weight? Yawn! And therein lies my entire problem.

I love food. I love the whole culture of going out to eat with friends, trying new dishes, clearing your plate and leaving feeling full and ready to lie horizontal for an hour while you nurse your food baby. I’m also a fairly confident person, and I’m all for the body-posi movement, as well as being completely scathing and outspoken about the culture that pushes women to behave a certain way to feel validated — you guys know what I’m talking about.

And yet… oh, and yet! My weight has always been a thing. It’s always present in my mind — if it’s not something to celebrate, it’s something to get myself down about. In my mind, I can tie positive periods of my life to when I weighed less, and negative ones to when I was heavier. That’s something that really bothers me. Despite every other significant issue that I could have going on (and I have had plenty!), somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ll always be aware that I weigh more than I would like to.

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My relationship with food is also not how I would like it to be. I love food, I love eating… and here comes another ‘and yet’. I yo-yo between trying to eat healthily and thinking life’s too short and I can never settle on a sturdy middle ground. I eat plenty of fruit and veg, I drink lots of water, I eat at least two solid meals a day, but I also love takeaways and often opt for convenient options for lunch at work that aren’t exactly the healthiest thing I could go for. I comfort-eat, which makes me feel better for a while, but then I get food guilt, which leads to a lot more self-criticism.

I really, really hate that I feel this way.

One reason is because I know rationally that I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve always been a healthy weight, always within the healthy spectrum for my stature. Any weight gain or loss I’ve been through has never been to the point to cause concern, and I know that for lots of people weight is a very serious issue. I would never want to compare my own trivial problem to other people’s very real experiences.

Another reason is because, try as I might, wanting to lose weight and feeling insecure about how I look makes me feel like the fabled ~bad feminist~. I preach and preach and preach to my friends (and, let’s be honest, anyone who will listen) about how weight doesn’t equate to self-value or beauty and that qualities like kindness and generosity are more important than appearances, but somehow I struggle to apply those beliefs to myself if I’m a little heavier than I would like to be.

Why is it so important?

Following the body-posi movement and seeing these beautiful, strong confident women promoting all the right messages is an amazing thing. But the opposing culture is very prevalent as well. It’s possible (and absolutely 100% okay) to believe one thing and be affected by another.

I guess the important thing is that I wish I didn’t place so much worth on my weight. I think the more I make myself aware of the fact that it doesn’t really matter, the more I can start to believe it. I read somewhere that the first thought that enters your mind is what you’ve been conditioned to think, and the second thought is what you actually think; in this circumstance, I’d say that definitely applies.

Women and girls are told in so many ways, both upfront and subliminal, that a certain type of female is more acceptable. They’re told that weight goes hand in hand with self-worth, and if you don’t fit into a particular narrow spectrum between This Weight and That Weight, you don’t mean as much as someone who does. But we all know that’s complete bullshit.

There are more important things than how you looks, but it’s absolutely okay to care about it as well. If you are berating yourself for caring, you may as well subscribe to that culture that only accepts a certain type of women. Because you’re just beating yourself up for not being another kind of perfect, which is exactly what body-posi is trying to avoid.

Td;lr – Caring about your body image doesn’t make you any less of a feminist.

I hope I’ve explained this coherently enough; even though I’m very passionate about it, I find feminism to be an extremely difficult topic to talk about. Let me know your thoughts!

juliet

Juliet

I'm Juliet and I'm a twenty-something Creative Writing graduate based in the U.K. with a love of books, cats, and cosmetics.

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10 Comments

  1. Lucy Jane says:

    Was so interesting to read this as I’d never really linked the way I view my body to my feminist views but after reading this, it’s made me think. I wouldn’t call myself a bad feminist because as long as you stand for acts of equality and what not then I think you’re doing a pretty good job but I do understand your point. I guess we all need to learn to feel a sense of equality and fullness in ourselves before we can help others to feel that way?
    A really interesting read, I loved it!

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

    1. Juliet says:

      Thank you Lucy, I’m glad you enjoyed reading this. I was inspired to write it after thinking a bit about the body-positive movement’s prominence on social media at the moment. I feel like sometimes if a woman voices doubt about her body image, people are very quick to tell her ‘no’ rather than listen to what she’s feeling down about!
      Thank you for commenting 🙂

  2. This was genuinely so interesting to read, I often equate happy times with when I felt good too. My weight has never fluctuated that much but I’m so easily rattled by the slightest change. I’ve never equated self perception with feminism though. I’ve always viewed it as literally every female I know has gone through phases like this. This was food for thought. x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    1. Juliet says:

      Thank you so much Sophie, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. It’s always reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who goes through these phases! x

  3. I totally agree with you. I have the exact same thoughts. I don’t think it makes you a bad feminist to be concerned about health, fitness and body image. As long as you are happy with your body, that’s all that matters! x

    1. Juliet says:

      Thank you Georgia! Most of the time I am happy with my body but sometimes (e.g. currently) I’m not 100% happy with thing likes my weight and want to work towards improving how I look, but feel like I should be body-positive at all times and not feel the pressure to conform to a certain image! Even though that’s the image I like!
      Thank you for commenting 🙂 x

  4. Creative Nails says:

    This was really interesting to read! You make some really great points – it’s such a shame that the media etc have this image thrown at us that gives the impression that this is what we should look like. With the amount of power it has, they should be using it for good and promoting more important things! I’m so bad with sweet things – I have such a sweet tooth haha. Can be a pain sometimes as I want to eat healthier but then you see the yummy sweet things there! Hahaha

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

    1. Juliet says:

      Thank you Amy, I’m exactly the same! I can be so focussed on eating healthily and then I spot the chocolate biscuits in the kitchen cupboard at work! x

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and this great insight, as a female or anyone really, I think it’s natural to feel this way about weight and food but I’ve grown to love myself now and as a food blogger, it has its pros and cons but I definitely can’t atop eating for it haha

    Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk

    1. Juliet says:

      Thank you very much! I know I’m not alone in this perspective, and I will always love my food, so there’s no worries there!

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