I once went out with a guy (we'll call him "Carl") and he was a pilot. He took me out on his small airplane to fly me all over Columbus. I barely remember the flight (it was over 20 years ago), except I have a very clear memory of a moment while on the ground. I had just sat down in the airplane's front passenger seat and I was watching as Carl was setting all the controls on the plane. And then I noticed... he had skinny forearms. At that moment, I decided right then and there that I do not like skinny arms on men. I had never realized that before, but it's a clear memory I have, that at the specific moment in time, I came to that realization and decided I don't like skinny arms on men and have never changed my opinion since then. I didn't go out with him again.
Now I ask myself, was my own personal opinion of what I liked "body shaming" Carl? I don't know. I just know there's nothing wrong with what I felt. I never said anything to Carl, never made him feel bad about himself. It was just my opinion, just my preference.
Perhaps it triggered something in my primal brain at that moment. In a moment of "risk" and "danger" (I was letting him fly me in a small airplane, literally putting my life in his hands) I quickly concluded I preferred larger and stronger arms in a man, in the case he would have to sweep me up in a rescue and carry me off to safety I suppose. Again, I don't know...but I have never had to apologize to anyone, nor will I, for my own personal preference in what I find appealing about a man's body. By the way, I also don't like facial hair. Why? I don't know. I just don't. I know plenty of women that do, so my lack of attraction to it affects no one.
What I learned from my own opinion of men's bodies, is that I'm entitled to have my own opinion. I prefer an athletic build on a man. I just do. Which leads me to another story of another man I went out with; he was a professional athlete (we'll call him "Lars").
It was a brief relationship as well; he had an athletic build and his English wasn't half bad either. :) Like my conclusion in my primal brain about Carl's arms, Lars taught me that my more sophisticated and evolved brain prefers to fully understand and be fully understood. :) So see, I'm not shallow.
I share about what men's bodies taught me so that we, as women, can understand that men can have their own preferences about what they find attractive in the female body; they are entitled to their own opinions and it does not make them the shallow jerk society deems them to be because of it.
Should anyone be shamed for their body? Absolutely not. So I'm going to take this blog in another direction now and I'm talking to all the women that feel shamed because of their bodies.
Let's say you have gained weight since you got married, you've had children and time has taken its toll, so it's understandable....now let's understand where your husband is coming from...
His opinion that he finds your slimmer body more appealing is his opinion - and he's entitled to it. Now opinion and treatment are two different things. If his treatment towards you is insulting and humiliating because of your weight gain, that is cruel. Don't hold him in contempt for his opinion...speak to the way he is treating you.
Holding him in contempt for his opinion (your slimmer body is more appealing), actually puts you at odds with wanting a silmmer body. We naturally rebel. If he is treating me like a jerk because I've gained weight... we say "Well I'll show him!" as we down another gallon of ice cream....right? So understand your husband's desire for you to be slimmer (and hey, more confident too!) is not shallow. Understand it comes from his primal brain and accept it. Then if need be, speak to his more sophisticated brain in helping him understand that any insults or humiliation hurts you.
You do not deserve to be shamed, humiliated, or mistreated. You deserve to have the body you desire. If weight loss will give you that, please come talk to me! I can help you get what you want.
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Shelley Johnson is the Creator & Founder of The Losing Coach®.