Body-positive blogger Megan Jayne Crabbe is at it again, inspiring readers to look at themselves and others in new, more loving way. And she did it while she was on vacation, no less. In an Instagram posted on Thursday, Crabbe, a.k.a. Bodyposipanda, wrote about the harmful, old-fashioned ideal that women should be smaller than their male partners.
” ‘If you weigh more than your boyfriend, you’re too fat.’ That’s something I learned while we were still on the playground, back before any of us had even been near a boy,” she wrote, next to a photo of herself and her utterly adorable boyfriend, Ben Johnston, in bathing suits by the pool. She doesn’t know where the idea came from, but she internalized the standard of being small, “So that the boyfriends could lift you up and swing you round, you his feather light princess.”
When you see it written out like that, it seems ridiculous. But it’s far too ingrained in our culture to be dismissed, and it became a factor in Crabbe’s self-hate, which at one point manifested as an eating disorder.
“As I got older that image became one more reason I was convinced that my body made me unlovable,” she wrote, adding that the image also hurts men “who can’t reach the strong, solid expectation,” as well as gay and gender nonbinary people. “It hurts us all, the idea that only certain bodies are deserving of love.”
Other body positive writers have shared that one of the most difficult, hurtful aspects of that supposedly ideal size ratio is the way other people react to their relationships.
Marie Southard Ospina wrote in Bustle that her parents were obviously disappointed when she brought home a smaller boyfriend. “I would be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me — that it didn’t make me wonder whether I’d done something wrong, or chosen a partner prematurely,” she said. And though she got over that reaction, she goes on in her article to list the rude questions people ask them about how they have sex and whether she feels he can protect her in a mugging.
Blogger CeCe Olisa wrote in Refinery29 about what it feels like people are saying when they comment on her “mixed weight” relationship. “While I don’t often hear comments about my weight when I’m alone, I do get a very strong message about my weight in the context of my dating life,” she said. “The message comes in many forms, but it’s always the same: ‘You do not deserve to be with him.’ ”
All three women acknowledge that earlier in their lives, they weren’t so ready to brush off that kind of attitude. Now that Crabbe has reached a healthier place of self-acceptance, she is passing on her wisdom to others who haven’t yet.
“The truth is that every single one of us are worthy of love, whether our bodies are light, strong, soft, bigger or smaller than our partners,” she wrote. “Whether we believe that we’re worthy or not. We already are. That means you too.”
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