Shapewear (or why I hate the word “skinny”)

I’ll admit it freely — I wear shapewear. Often.

Today, I wore a black shapewear tanktop under a white tanktop with green linen pants. One of my favorite outfits!

I got home from class/work a couple of hours ago and sat down on my bed to watch “The First 48” and tell myself I’d do homework while waiting for my best friend/neighbor to wake up from a nap so we could make dinner.

A little bit ago, I noticed that my stomach felt fairly uncomfortable. My first thought — I need to get out of this shapewear. So I changed into a regular tanktop because, hey, who cares? It’s just my best friend and me hanging out tonight. No one but her will see my stomach sticking out, and she understands my body issues. Plus, I’m a heck of a lot more comfortable now.

For those of you who do not know, I am somewhere between a size 8 and a size 10. I’m a whole lot of curves, but small curves. In my opinion, my tummy is my only problem area — I like snacks. A lot.

Anyway, shapewear often helps pull the stomach in, making me look more proportional. But at what cost? The fact that my stomach was starting to hurt from wearing it scares me — it’s not an ill-fitting tanktop or anything, it was just pushing a bit too much.

My point is, why does shapewear even exist? Again, I do wear it. But today made me question why I wear it. Who cares if my stomach sticks out a bit? I have a boyfriend who loves my curves and doesn’t care if I wear shapewear or not. I actually think he prefers it when I don’t.

So why do I keep worrying about how I look without it?

I could blame society for my incessant need to look “good,” but anyone who knows me knows that I rant constantly about the way society wants women (and men) to look. So while society may play a (small) role, I don’t think that’s it.

I have a memory that I would prefer to repress but keeps finding its way into my head… I don’t actually think I’ve ever shared this with anyone, because it hurt a lot, but I’ve moved past the hurt and now see the stupidity in the comment.

Every year, my family goes down the shore (non-Jersey people: to the beach) to Seaside. For a few years before we got actual tattoos, my sister (K) and I were very into henna tattoos. We’d walk up to the boardwalk, get henna tattoos, and wander around. One year when I was around 17, K and I went up to the boardwalk and I decided to get a henna tattoo on my lower back. However, for anyone who’s gotten henna tattoos before, you know that they have to dry for a bit. Since mine was on my lower back, I used the ever-present hair tie on my wrist to tie up my shirt just above my bellybutton. My sister (a size 2 or so) got a henna right under her bellybutton, and also tied up her shirt.

As we were walking, a boy about my age, who was walking toward us, gave me the once over. As he got closer, he kept muttering under his breath “put your shirt down.” He made eye contact with me, said it again, and then kept walking. If my sister heard him, she didn’t say anything, but I definitely heard him, and it hurt.

I look back on the situation now and shake my head. I was a size 6 at the time, and curvy. No, my belly was not flat — nor is it now — but back then, I was anything but fat.

So what made this boy say what he said?

It probably has something to do with the girls he was with — a few size 2s walking around in bikinis.

It’s stuck with me, and part of me wishes I could see that boy again and ask him why he felt the need to be so rude. I don’t even remember what he looks like, but I can still hear his words.

I could rant for days and days about body image in society — it’s a topic that makes me very mad, and you’ll see more posts about it, I’m sure.

I have a lot more to say about this, but my best friend just texted me (yes, from next door) that she’s up. Which means it’s dinnertime — tortellini with fresh peppers in an italian dressing sauce. And I don’t care if my tummy is sticking out — I’m going to go enjoy the heck out of that dinner. 🙂

Readers, think on all of this, and if you have something to say (about shapewear or whatever else you’d like), leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you all have to say. 🙂

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