Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Do Women Torture Themselves?

I find myself pondering something today, and maybe you've pondered it, too: Why do we, as women, torture ourselves over the way we look - and why do we give so much more credence to the negative instead of the positive?

My husband (a/k/a Captain America) tells me every single day that I'm beautiful. He's always complimenting me, very sincerely, about the clothes I wear, my hair, my figure, the fact that I wear lipstick even if the rest of my face is without makeup, the color of my nail polish. (Yes, Captain America is a very smart man, which is why he left for work this morning with a great big smile on his face!) :-) Other people tell me I'm attractive. I can look in the mirror myself and see I'm not hideous, but one little negative remark in passing from a friend, and I feel like the fattest, ugliest person alive. WHY IS THAT?

My friend, who is male, is going through a divorce. I've known this man for twenty-five years, and in many ways he's more like a brother than a friend, which is perhaps why he felt comfortable saying what he said. We were talking about his future, who he might meet, who he might like to be with, who I could introduce him to - when he said this:

"No offense, Terri, but I've never been attracted to the size 10s of the world."

NO OFFENSE? No offense? The logical conclusion here is that I'm a size 10 (which I am), and that's just too fat (which it isn't), and he doesn't want to offend me my pointing it out, but he will anyway.

I won't repeat my response, because it involved me using foul language.

He didn't even try to backtrack. In his opinion, he was simply stating a fact, but in my opinion, I'd just been dissed (along with any other woman who happens to be bigger than an eight). Luckily for him, because he's my friend, and because he's going through a rough time, I will forgive him his idiot insensitive remark. This time.

This one and only time. :-)

But it really got me thinking. I'm very aggravated at myself for letting one little negative comment about my size negate all the wonderful comments I hear every day, even for a moment. Anybody else ever do that?


Corbie said...

Maybe because he's saying, in essence, that someone's physical attributes -- a size 10 isn't that big, after all, particularly if you're 5'6 or taller -- matter much more to him than their other qualities, like humor, similar interests, trustworthiness, etc.

Damn right it's offensive. You're right to be ticked off.

The right reaction isn't "Gee, I'm a size 10, I'm fat", it's "Gee, he's an idiot."

Terri said...

"Gee, he's an idiot."

Ain't it the truth, Corbie! I actually called him something far, far worse, but the sentiment is the same. :-)

But what bothered me is that even I know how stupid it is for people to be judged and categorized by their size or their weight, it had the power to hurt my feelings anyway, even though I knew it was an incredibly stupid comment.

I can't change the way people think, but it's obvious to me that we all need to keep working on own self-esteem. I do, anyway.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kim Lenox said...

Oooh, that would tick me off! The funny thing is -- it seems like a one way street with a lot of guys. They expect us, as women, to put out every effort to be attractive to them, but we're supposed to love them for who they are, and regardless of their imperfections. Poor, superficial saps.

Terri said...

Yes, Kim - my brain reeled at the shallowness of the comment. :-) Which is why I couldn't believe it bothered me for even a tiny second!

BTW, I went to your website, and it's fabulous! Your Shadow Guard series looks great - I read your excerpt and now I have to find out what happens to Elena!

Thanks for stopping by,