It’s driving me up the wall to see all the ways that people want to rain on the things others enjoy. It also bothers me how much of the disdain is reserved for traditionally “feminine” things, like the intense scorn being heaped on the so-called “basic bitches” who are trying the Unicorn Frappuccino or the so-called Pink Drink at Starbucks, or the way I am made to feel self-conscious about writing about beauty and skin care. (Both are delicious, by the way, though I have to sub almond milk for the usual coconut milk in the Pink Drink.) Yet so many people are hand-wringing over the “tacky” colors or concern trolling over the sugars and calories (about the same as a regular candy bar for the Frappuccino and a lot less for the Pink Drink), but I don’t buy into it. What’s really at issue here is that it’s marketed to women, particularly millennial women, just because we enjoy it. And that’s just unacceptable, right?
Part of being a woman in this world is being told from birth that our bodies aren’t good enough. It’s even more intense when you’re fat, disabled, or both. Part of the reason I am passionate about an Asian approach to skin care is how often I hear in the Asian beauty community, “Your skin needs to be coddled, not purified.” Because of my size, I’m so used to hearing that my body needs to be deprived and punished into submission in order to achieve some semblance of “health.” Being kind to myself and expecting any kind of health benefit from it is a completely different outlook. It allows me space to love my body in a world that hates it, in which random strangers think that prying questions about my medical history are appropriate small talk for the checkout line, and in which nurses feel the need to double-check because they don’t believe a fat woman could have normal blood pressure.
And if I hear one more person complaining about “selfie culture” and “Instagram whores,” I’m going to scream. First off, a lot of people, like me, are using social media to build a following and make something of themselves. Secondly, people like things. Some people even like themselves, despite a culture that picks us all apart looking for the slightest imperfection. You don’t have to like what other people like, but if they aren’t hurting you, don’t rain on it. That applies to their choice of clothes, their sex lives, all of it. Let people be happy, and who knows? Maybe someday you will be happy too.
Edit: I didn’t think I had to say this, but there are some truly horrible people in this world, so apparently I do. The key phrase there is “if they aren’t hurting you.” Bigotry hurts everyone. Transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism–those aren’t harmless, and “letting people enjoy” those things is cruel to the people being hurt by them.