Yesterday, after work, I was discussing the response to yesterday’s post on APW with Kamel. I was talking about this comment over here, and that comment over there. I was breaking down the responses, asking what Kamel thought, going over the cultural significance of xyz. Because, really, I had spent most of the day doing my best to NOT be offended by the responses on the blog. I had spent most of the day approaching it in a “don’t stir the pot, don’t make the community even MORE upset, watch your responses, make sure they are all on message, don’t be offensive.”
Until I got home. Until I saw all of the amazingly positive feedback in the comments on my blog yesterday, on twitter, and until I thought about what exactly the other commenters were saying over at APW. When I really think about it, 80% of the comments were very positive. Engaging in a discussion of weight loss and what that means and how that affects the culture of feminism is not negative, it’s … amazing. So even if within those 80% people weren’t all “woo Lauren, we love you!” I still see that as an amazingly positive outcome. But the loud 20% seemed to be the group we were all catering to the most. Soothing, defending, trying to make a rational argument with. They hijacked the show, so to speak. And now I’m kinda pissed about it.
I wrote a post about getting healthy, about no longer losing my mind about what I saw in the mirror, and about doing that with my best friend and future husband so that we could begin a strong, happy life together. This weekend, after I wrote the post, we went for a walk on a trail on the cliffs of San Francisco. Along that trail is another trail of stairs all the way down to a small beach with amazing rocks where the waves can go Ker-SPLASH! and make big splashy pretty pictures. Kamel and I used to walk these stairs and had to stop before we got to the top. (They are hardcore stairs, man… these are not for the faint of heart.) But this weekend we scrambled up them! We walked up them at a good clip! We high fived at the top because “Holy shiz, dude! That wasn’t even that bad! And I don’t feel like I’m dying! And I don’t even have to sit down over there on that bench like I’ve had to do every single other time!” Hell yes.
The internet is an amazing place, but it can also be an obnoxious, whiny, brat. I started reading the comments yesterday and my first reaction was, “Oh shit, I messed up! I offended people and I didn’t mean to and oh god why am I always doing that? Ugh.” But today my first response to that is: So what? So I offended some people. Did their arms fall off? Did I prevent them from living their lives? Did I kill their dog or take away their favorite toy? No. I think the idea of being offended is WAY overrated. So what. So WHAT you’re offended, you’ll be alright, you’ll get over it. Do you need to express this feeling every single time? No. Hey internet – stop dumping all of your offended righteous crap on other people’s doorsteps. I bet that offended some people. So. What.
The other thing is, and wow I was shocked to see it, I am not going to play along with the “Lauren is SO tiny! Lauren is too small to be talking about body issues. Maybe if this post had been written by someone who weighed more I could dig it. But what the eff does this skinny bitch know?!” I put up some amazing pictures up with the post, shot by Allison Andres, because those are my engagement photos, because they show Kamel and I being the fabulous team we are, because I look GOOD in them, and I’m not going to be put down because of that. And even though I weigh more than you think, even though I have photos of me with a double chin and cellulite, and with my gut hanging over my pants, I’m not going to show you. Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how big you are when it comes to body image or taking control of your health. The internet doesn’t get to discredit my struggle because I don’t look a certain way. I won’t let them.
And I will own my successes, because they took years and years and were really hard to come by. Ask my mom. She’s heard all of the whining and seen all of the tears. Seriously. I will not allow those who have not found their own way, to take something incredibly positive for me and turn it into something negative for the rest of women. That’s not how I roll here. This is a place that supports success, personal or professional. This is a place that cheers other people on. And if I can do something to help you achieve a goal, let me know. I’ll be there, I’ll do it. And I will not support those who look to tear you down. Thank you for doing the same for me.