Alternate title: “Another post in which we discuss my ample derriere.”
“I thank god everyday
that I woke up feeling this way
And I can’t help loving myself
and I don’t need nobody else.”
– Meghan Trainor, Me Too
I’m loving this song so so much lately. Let the haters’ comments roll in, fine. I love it.
But! You say, ‘Meghan Trainor isn’t a feminist. She’s said some really stupid things in interviews about being a feminist.’ That’s true. I can’t defend her there. And, you argue, she’s got that song that says your size is fine because “men like a little more booty to hold at night.” And we should be confident about our size for ourselves, no matter what men think about it.
And I agree! But here’s where I’m going to get myself into trouble… Hold on tight.
I think sometimes, sometimes it’s ok to feel validated by someone else. Sometimes we need that. And sometimes it’s because a different person has worked very hard to break you down so much that you can’t build yourself back up.
I was married before. For 5 years I was married to a dud of a man who made it his mission to take the power he saw inside of me. He was scared of my strength and knew he had to keep me down to keep me.
One specific way he did this was to make me feel bad about my body. My small, athletic, healthy body.
I’ve always had a big booty, and that didn’t necessarily bother me until Husband #1 pointed to my hips from the front (one might know this as the “saddle-bag” area) and said, “What’s this, here?” To which I told him that it was just my ass. It was so big it had to wrap around to the front.
Another memory that I still haven’t been able to shake is from one afternoon having some fast food. Every bite of food I took was met with a snorting noise the likes of which a hungry pig might make while eating. I asked him could he please stop? That it was terribly rude.
No he would not.
I’ve never been a delicate flower or a timid bunny so I threw all the food at him. Right there in the restaurant, just tipped my whole tray over at him and then stormed out.
But enough of that nonsense… On to my point!
I am a very confident and kiss-my-ass-haters kind of person, yet this haunted me for a long time. Another person had broken me and I couldn’t put those pieces back together.
Over the course of the next ten years, there were three people that helped put me back.
The first was when I was 25. At this time I was in probably the best shape of my life but just coming out of my divorce from the confidence-ruiner. His name was Jimmy and we were coworkers, friends, and workout buddies.
One time at the gym with our other friend, Lara, the three of us got into an argument about my ass. Jimmy had said it was big and Lara jumped quickly to my defense. “No it isn’t,” she said. “Don’t say that,” she admonished. “It looks great!”
But Jimmy’s point was that it DID look great. The bigness was the greatness. That debate went on longer than necessary but it was the first step in me thinking that my booty was ok.
The second man who helped turn my thoughts around was my boyfriend at the time, Tom. This man loved love-handles. He called them “grabby meat” and would do just that.
At first I was really uncomfortable but four months of dating him has left me with zero insecurities about a little roll over the top of my jeans. We broke up in 2010 and to this day I can’t muster any concern when it comes to muffin-topping in my clothes.
And lastly, my husband, Dan. He says, “If you don’t grab your wife’s ass, are you even her husband?” We have never crossed paths in the kitchen, the hallway, the grocery store, or stood next to each other for a period of time where he hasn’t reached down for a little squeeze.
In 2011 I went on a serious exercise program to tighten and tone up my body. I looked ah-mazing. But Dan was concerned. “Your butt is shrinking.” He told me with concern. “I won’t love you any less if it does get smaller… but how much smaller are we talking?”
Which brings us back to the beginning. And my begrudging defense of All About That Base.
Women don’t need men’s validation to feel good about themselves. And NO we don’t want to be shouted at on the street how hot we look or how we look like America’s Next Top Model.
But I think it’s foolish to say that a man appreciating our body isn’t a valid reason for growing to love our bodies.
My weight fluctuates between 130 pounds during bikini season to 150 during football and chicken wing season and Dan says I look good at every pound. I don’t need that from him… but I don’t NOT need it either.
I think most people are lying who say they don’t need anyone else to make them feel better about their bodies. I read a lot of Tumblr (I know, ew, someone over 25 on Tumblr) and I can tell you there are a lot of young girls on there who are torn between a fierce stoicism in their individual power and a desperate need for someone to pet them on the head and tell them they are loved and they are beautiful.
I disagree with Megahan Trainor’s stance on feminism but I do believe that sometimes having someone else play grab ass in the kitchen kinda, sorta, gives me the boost needed to be truly confident with the body I have.
So there, I spoke my truth. I am thankful to a few men for helping me build the confidence I have today. No shame in that.
Please don’t revoke my Feminist Card.