Monday, August 16, 2010

Body Insecurities


royal blue bridesmaid dress (Exquisite Bride)
silver heels (BCBGMaxAzaria)
chain and pearl bracelet (gift from bride)
on nails: OPI Russian Navy Matte

Apologies for my extended absence.  Due to several factors - including, but not limited to, traveling, recovering from the constant motion of this summer, and my general laziness - I haven't been in this corner of cyberspace.  However, there is one other reason that made me a bit gun-shy regarding posting.  You see, I've been going through a small bout of body insecurity. 

It's funny - after writing those words, I feel like I've betrayed some of the general precepts behind this blog and others like it.  After all, we've discussed loving our bodies just as they are, and we've celebrated our varying shapes, sizes, and styles.  In fact, one of the things that I love the most about the fashion blogging community is the body-positive environment it presents.  However, this atmosphere of body confidence, while refreshing and something I wish to see more in the media, also creates a space where discussing insecurities about our bodies, the things that we may occasionally wish we could change, becomes taboo (at least it seems that way to me).

Now, the type of body insecurity that I'm feeling right now is nothing extreme, consuming, or even particularly acute.  Just a run-of-the-mill occasional dissatisfaction with the way I look right now.  Pangs that I think everyone feels at one point or another to be thinner or curvier, to be taller or shorter, to have a smaller nose or longer legs, to have more muscles or thicker hair, etc.  These sporadic desires to just be different are, I think, natural and human.  When they become all-encompassing and cause people to take drastic, self-destructive action (as opposed to healthy steps - like if you want to lose weight and you start eating healthier versus developing an eating disorder) or when they really cause self-esteem to plummet, that is when body insecurity becomes dangerous.  Otherwise, I think it is just part of the ups and downs of life.

The reason I chose this particular outfit to post has nothing really to do with the outfit itself.  I actually think this dress looks quite nice on me.  The color really suits me, it highlights my curves, and I really liked the jewelry the bride gave us.  One thing, though, that bridesmaids dresses do is invite comparison between women.  When four women are standing together wearing different outfits, the eye may not naturally take in their varying shapes and sizes as much as it does when they are wearing the same dress.  The four women wearing this dress did, to some degree, represent different shapes and body types.  However, I was definitely the biggest one of the four - not to say that I am large because I am not - but next to three other women wearing the same dress as me only four sizes smaller, one notices it more.  Or rather, I noticed it more. 

Please note: this is not what "set off" any insecurities.  Nothing in particular acted as a trigger.  Just part of an ebb and flow of my ever-changing self-image.  I'm not worried about it, and I know it will soon pass.  I can change what is in my control, and I must accept what is given.  I will never be a size 2.  My nose will always be a bit larger than I want it to be.  My hair will always be baby fine.  But change that and you change what is uniquely me.  And I don't want to give that up.

  • What do you feel insecure about?
  • How do you overcome insecurity about your looks or really about anything at all?
  • Has blogging changed your self-image at all?  Does it make you more confident about your body? (I think it has in my case).


Scholar Style Guide said...

I second the feeling that wearing a bridesmaid's dress invites comparison to the other bridesmaids.

Forcing myself to look at things in perspective helps me overcome insecurities. For school, I like to remind myself that I might not be the smartest person in the program, but I have plenty of other qualities that I think "fill in the blanks." For your bridesmaid experience, I can't help but wonder if the other maids might have been thinking "I wish I could fill this dress out more like the other girls!" or "I wish this color looked as good on me as it does on Katie!" With body/image insecurity, there are certain things that society has indoctrinated into our minds (i.e. smaller= better), but for the most part a girl's personal insecurities are seem so arbitrary to anyone else. I truly had never thought to myself that your nose was anything but ordinary, for example... but when you're staring at your own image all the time you notice these things, right?

Blogging hasn't changed my self-image, which has always been bolstered more by exercising than anything else, because that helps me focus on what my body can do rather than how it looks. But it has helped me push the boundaries of what I consider "flattering" and whether that's something I should care about at all, so I'm thankful for that.


Nate C said...

Hey Katie...I can't see the girl in the same dress 4 sizes smaller, but I bet she wishes she had some of your attributes, too.

And I'm pretty sure she/they didn't look any better than you do. No physical attribute can compete with radiance like you're showing in that picture there.

Other than that, I totally agree with you. There are days I can't believe how goofy I look in the mirror. Smiling in the face of those insecurities goes a long way to turning flaws into traits.

Glad to have you back on the blog!

Nate C said...

@ Liz - JINX!!!! :)

But seriously, you owe me a coke.

Katie from Interrobangs Anonymous said...

When I was in my good friend's wedding, she chose the bridesmaids' gowns by having her sister (her teeny, tiny willowy sister) try them on. The dress she picked was gorgeous, but it was also a halter style that made my boobs look like were about to launch out of the dress and attack you. Definitely not the most comfortable outfit for a formal church ceremony, as the good Lord already knows I got 'em, he doesn't need to see 'em.

But that being said, I also made that dress curve and swirl in ways the other bridesmaids didn't, so everyone has their pros and cons.

But you looked beautiful, and your friend must have been so happy to have you and the other bridesmaids standing with her on that day.

Karenina said...

I think brides who do this are kinda bitchy. If it isn't something I would wear (or wear again) why would I make my best friends wear it? Insane.

I am letting my girls wear what they want, so long as they look and feel fabulous.