Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Badass in us All
OK, so I'm down less than a half pound, but heck, at least I'm down something. I'm a weekend cheater and I have to do something about that. I had the girls over for dinner Friday night, and we really didn't make pigs of ourselves, but plenty of Fat Bastard wine (and other brands, but I'm gonna drag out the ol Fat Bastard phrase as much as I can) probably didn't help.
No, instead I'm going to talk about how I think that at least some bits of media/body acceptance are creeping into my daughter's life. I took her to the Roller Derby Saturday night, and explained that it was all girl, that its was going to be as much show with costumes as it will be a sport with uniforms and rules. "Mom, I hope its not going to be all skinny girls like on TV," she said. She's going through a self-debate on this, I can tell. She's thin and tall (for her age, and if her grandmother's genetics have anything to say, she'll always be tall and likely lean/thin) but she sees a bit of flesh on her thigs and she thinks it's fat. I tell her its not, but I'm her mom so in that department my opinion means nothing. Still, she doesn't like Bratz, she gets bent out of shape when she sees women being exploited on TV, and she's particularly annoyed that people are calling Britney Spears fat. So hearing her hope for the rollergirls was a nice slice.
This wasn't your 60's Los Angeles Thunderbirds Roller Derby. This was New Feminism, celebrate-women's power in all shapes and sizes roller derby. The Brew City Bruisers are Milwaukee's Rollergirls, and they are tough, strong, beautiful, sexy broads who range from rail thin (helps you cut through the pack) to Livin' Large (helps you keep someone from cutting through your pack). The cheerleaders (beerleaders) are all sizes, too. Halftime entertainment is a troupe of bellydancers who also have a variety of body types. The Rollergirls are dead serious in their sport. They're good, they're competitive, they're great sports entertainment. I found myself kind of jealous, that this ol 47 year old broad with a crappy knee and a crappy ankle was born maybe a little too early to catch sisterhood with a whole league of toughass chicks. There's a regret that I'm not able to put on a pink shirt, torn fishnets, strap on some wheels, hang a cute moniker on myself like "Pound Anya" and do my stuff. I am intimidated by them, but also inspired by them: it's Stella who reminds me that running a triathlon, riding a bike 60 miles a weekend and fronting a punk band is pretty badass in and of itself. I just need to remember that it’s the same with body image overall: I'm not ever going to be thin, but there's a certain beauty in the curves I have, and losing the weight will accentuate those even more. I simply have to find my beauty and run with it.
Nevertheless, its was empowering just to watch a crowd of all ages, backgrounds and such to find fun and strength and beauty in this league, and I got a warm fuzzy watching Stella enjoy this. She's seeing the teamwork, she's seeing the strength, she's seeing the confidence, and she's seeing that every one of these women have fans in the crowd. All though this whole weightloss thing Stella hangs over me: what message am I thrusting upon my daughter as I work through my own body issues and images? Soemtimes I hear her worrying about how she doesn’t look like a girl, sometimes I hear her grousing that her thighs are fat, sometimes I hear her noting that she sees other girls as fat. Somehow, mommy's love exempts me from fatness, but still. I see and hear her having all these images and thoughts, conflicting in her, and trying to make sense of it. On one hand, she sees me talking body acceptance and cheering along with the Beerleaders, on the other hand, she sees me weighing myself weekly and taking measurements and counting my food points. Am I dooming her to some kind of hell? Or am I (hopefully) both intimidating and inspiring her to find the thing that makes her both badass and beautiful, and run with it? Because that's my Stella: the tough competitive soccer player who plays in a skort, because she looks really cute in it. And I have to remember that this beautiful badass little girl came out of me.