Hello dear readers.
I’ve been thinking today about the things I wish someone would say to me sometimes. As women I think we are often told we can do whatever we want to, but with a tiny whispered caveat at the end, which kind of ruins it. Like
‘Wooooo yeah you do you! Go be a plus size model and love yourself!
'as long as you’re eating healthy and still workout regularly’
- oh. Um, yay, I guess?
It’s understandable. People want to pay lip service to the big troubles of the times. Obesity is on the rise, so (in this example) no one wants to be seen to be encouraging overeating. But constant little caveats like this - in conversations with friends and news articles and TV shows - can end up giving us the idea that it’s never ok to stop caring about this stuff for even a second. The idea that even when we’re at our most exuberant, confident or rebellious, we need to keep ourselves in check to at least some extent.
But it is ok! And you don’t have to! (Ta dah!)
And in case you’re not yet convinced, I’ve put together a list of things you can wholeheartedly, unequivocally say ‘no’ to. I don’t think you need permission from me to reject these things, I think we all need permission from someone. Sometimes you just need someone somewhere to literally say ‘Nope. That is bullsh*t and you don’t have to do it.’
Sometimes it needs to actually be said out loud. So here it is. Written permission to say ‘er, nope’ to:
Ads featuring gratuitous female nudity
What? But they’re just normal right? I mean they’re, like, everywhere. So they must be. Women’s bodies are up for grabs. It’s fine to use them to sell stuff, otherwise they wouldn’t be literally all over the place, right? Well, only if you decide it’s alright. You totally can decide that if you want to. But you can also take a step back from it, look at it with fresh eyes and decide it is utter bollocks and you will not be having it. Please see exhibit A, my sarky tweet (below), a small gesture as to my own refusal to be fine with having the possibility of *gasp* saggy boobs thrust in my face on my way home from work.
I’m not ok with seeing a headless naked torso alongside a dire warning as to my own future unattractiveness if I fail to buy a product. Nope. You too can be not ok with this. It doesn’t make you crazy, it doesn’t make you humourless. It doesn’t make you a prude (*eye roll*). It’s cool. Voice your objection, shop elsewhere, feel confident, feel unapologetic in your refusal to accept this. It’s fun to indulge in the little symbolic ‘f*ck you’ by voting with your wallet.
Dire warnings about potatoes/bacon/milk
Or whatever else is the evil foodstuff that should be cut out this week. When something is everywhere, which ‘clean eating’ is right now, it starts to seem like received wisdom. Like an eternal, unquestionable truth. Human beings are notorious for failing to recognise trends. For thinking everything has always been the way it is now. Example: pink is for girls, blue is for boys, right? It’s always been that way right? Nope. Until about a hundred years ago, it was the other way round *someone in the back faints with shock*.
The same is true of kale, and chia seeds and spirulina, and coconut yoghurts (hate them), and acai bowls (wtf even are they?) and vegetable-based anti-fun desserts. This is a trend, not an eternal truth, and it will pass. You don’t have to eat this way, and you don’t have to feel guilty for not eating this way.
If you like kale, cool (I do), but if you’re finding the whole clean eating, #bodygoals #strongnotskinny thing a bit overwhelming and it’s making you feel inadequate, you can just ex out. Refuse to engage at all. Literally, you can look on from the sidelines at what I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever will be viewed as a passing fad in 2 years’ time, and be like ‘Nah guys I’mma sit this one out’. Nothing bad will happen.
Kind of sounds obvious right? Like of course you don’t buy into each and every trend that struts out of LFW like a (very wealthy) idiot. Of course you pick and choose. But do you ever feel like your wardrobe should be more exciting? More varied? More capsule? More seasonal? More up-to date? Do you ever feel like the clothes you feel comfortable and confident in are no longer making the cut, no longer de rigeur? (I do!)
But, yet again, we can all just say NOPE to that if we want to. Nope nope nope. No to hours searching out new outfits every three months to be purchased at great expense. No to buying new stuff I don’t feel quite myself in because some guy in Paris who himself only ever wears black decided it’s the colour/shape/shoe of the season. No to uncomfortable shoes, no to clothing which restricts or reveals more skin than we’re really comfortable with (damn those cutout dresses! Damn then to hell.)
Again, we can just sit on the sidelines, laugh at it, analyse it, even admire it, and then feel good about having the confidence to wear what we want to because we like it, whether that’s this season’s colour or not. Woo!
What else would you add to the list? If you see anything out and about which gives you a ‘Nope’ moment, tweet it to me with the hashtag #PermissionToNope. I’d love to see what you guys have had enough of.