6.5
May 28, 2014

My Letter to Society’s Expectations of Women. ~ Whitney O. Wilson

Photo: Maegan Tantari via Flickr

Dear Society,

I am sorry but after 26 years of careful review, I know for certain that I can no longer accept your influence in my life.

I cannot believe that my worth lies in the cleanliness of my home or in the appearance of my body. I am not defined by the size of my pants or my bra and my purpose is much greater than fitting nicely into the shadows of the men around me.

I am choosing to trust myself, and my own intuition, which cringes with each backwards message you try to shove down my throat. It knows that I am not some pretty princess who can be easily contained by the tiny, restricted definition of what this world expects.

You want me to be small.

You want me to be quiet.

You want me to be polite and appropriate.

You want me taned, skinny, shaved and covered in makeup.

But I have a big personality and loud mouth that spews swears like a sailor. I live in Maine, so I am always wicked pale. I enjoy my food and I am passionate about my meals, so I will always carry an extra layer of padding on my body. I am content with the majority of my legs being covered in hair—it keeps me warmer.

And I like how I look without make-up because it lets my face tell my story.

Why on earth should I make myself look well rested when I didn’t sleep well?

Stop making me feel shame for just being a human being. I will never be a “do it all” super woman like so many female characters in movies and television are being unrealistically depicted. That’s probably because they are fictional and I am real.

I am just a person, who happens to be a female, and if I do not fit the mold exactly, you scream at me that I am flawed, imperfect and worthy of less.

I love myself too damn much to let my greatest health and fitness aspiration be “to look hot/sexy in a bikini.” I refuse to worship photoshopped images of unrealistic bodies. I am not interested in making myself a more appealing objectified woman.

I am interested in nurturing my body, not changing it.

I am interested in living my life and enjoying my experiences, not looking pretty and having a man to validate my existence.

I want a body that can move and dance and jump and climb, not a body that can bend over and shake it for you while you undress me with your eyes.

I am just as awesome in a sweat suit as I am in a swimsuit, so stop trying to tell me otherwise.

You betrayed me and my sisters. You convinced too many women into becoming obsessed with needing to change, when they are already perfect.

I think happiness lies in self-acceptance, from that a natural desire to nurture your body and promote its health is born. Then once you can march to beat of your own drum, you will find it takes you were you want to go.

Being healthy is our natural state; it’s all the things we are doing without the intention of honoring ourselves that cause harm and discontent.

I think we need a revolution, not a new diet.

I am not just speaking for myself and many other women, but also for a lot of men. They don’t want the women in their lives depleted, constricted and demoralized. The men closest to me all have a deep love of juicy hips and squishy mid-sections.

I fell in love with a personal trainer and nutritionist (a man who values healthy bodies) five years ago and to this day he begs me to gain more weight, because he loves the curves that come with it. Men appreciate strong women, not helpless wimps. My brothers enjoy mowing down on large meals with me, because we love celebrating our vivacious appetites together.

When we conform to what society’s expectations dictate, we rob men of the happy, healthy, spirited companions they adore.

So I am sorry, society, but I just cannot do it anymore.

I can no longer subscribe to the belief that my femininity is a flaw.

I can no longer convince myself that being appealing to males is my greatest glory.

I am completely done having my self-worth decided by others.

It’s time to walk away from the whole damn scam that you’ve been selling.

I look forward to being a mother someday and praising my daughter for all the things she is wonderful at, not for her appearance. Because if she is anything like me then empty, shallow compliments about her looks will fall on deaf ears before she is even a teenager.

I want her to have a beautiful heart; I could care less if she has a beautiful face, because we can never be ugly if our soul is happy.

You will be fine without me in your ranks; there are far too many other women complacently swallowing the shit you’re slinging anyways. But unfortunately for you I know a lot of kick-ass chicks who are also through with you and we are making it our mission to take the rest of the women with us.

Soon you will be all alone.

Sincerely,

Whitney Olivia Wilson

P.S. Here is a short list of stupid apparel items you’ve tried telling me that I should wear (I won’t do it.):

>> Spanx
>> Push-up bras
>> High-heels/Stilettos
>> Thongs
>> Skinny jeans & Mini skirts
>> Body contouring anything

“I get worried for young girls sometimes. I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent, and not so withered and shriveled.” ~ Amy Poehler

 

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Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Maegan Tantari via Flickr

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Robert Jul 2, 2015 10:57am

Your profile pic is wicked hot.

Ida May 27, 2015 4:09am

This is such a great piece, but please be careful not to turn your personal experience into the only acceptable truth either, then you would be no better than the society you’re up against. I refer to the passage about “I’m always pale” and “men love juicy hips and soft midsections”; some women are naturally skinny, and are no less feminine than others, and a lot of women are not white. Also this part about what men want, means you’re back to having your worth determined by your desirability.

And you completely lost me with your “things I will never wear” section; it is possible to wear these clothing items and remain an independent woman. Let’s stop policing each other’s wardrobe choices, and focus on the fact that women come in many shapes, sizes, colours and attires, and that this shouldn’t affect their position in society.

MAC May 26, 2015 12:16pm

And yet… The first words are "I'm sorry".

Society is so engrained in women that we can't even voice our opinions without apologizing for them first.

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Whitney O. Wilson

Whitney O. Wilson is an idealistic, yoga brat from Maine. She is a lost soul following the beacon of her wild heart. You can email her or connect with her on Facebook.