“You’ll never guess what I ate this weekend . . .”
Get any group of women gathered for long enough, and that sentence is bound to spew out of someone's mouth. It is usually accompanied by words like "bloated" and "carbs." In the most natural progression known to the female race, we begin to catalog our grocery lists and restaurant orders, usually followed by a detailed account of our exercise routines or lack thereof.
Doesn’t that sound like so much fun? Men, count yourselves among the lucky. Welcome to every Friday night in woman world.
Commence the Invasion of the Body Bashers—the phenomenon during which every woman in the room proceeds to throw herself under the body-image bus. You know that scene in Mean Girls when the girls in the clique known as the Plastics look at themselves in the mirror and lament over their less-than-perfect physiques? That movie scene went unnoticed—nay, mocked—in my book. "Do girls really think that way? Surely not," I would say between bites of ice cream. Followed by three Thomas’ plain white bagels. With peanut butter.
But I personally didn't know how deeply ingrained body bashing was in the feminine world until I became one of its principle perpetrators.
Because I was an athlete, I looked at my body as a vehicle to perform my sport. I simply needed my body to do what I want to do, rather than meet some physical-appearance checklist. However, due to a long string of circumstances post-athletics, I became increasingly aware (read: critical) of my body. And I wasn’t alone. Research shows that at some point most women are dissatisfied with the way their bodies look.
Once this heightened sense of how I looked crept to the forefront of my mind, it was almost as consuming as the amount of food I did or did not eat. Around my friends I would talk about my weight in a joking and self-deprecating manner. Accounts of my food sins spewed from my mouth like I was in a culinary confessional. “I ate this” or “I’ve gained this much weight” or “Oh my gosh I’m such a pig.” I was a full-fledged body basher...