Hey-oh, I hear there’s a new thing the media has made up for women to scrutinize about our bodies! I’ve been losing track because IDGAF, so I thought I’d make a handy diagram with all the impossible goals the media has set for us, mostly in the hopes that by compiling them, we can visualize how completely bonkers it is to expect every single human woman to have a standardized, homogenous shape. There are such things as biological diversity and genetics, after all. Here we go:
Arm wave: This is the newest one and it is also, if I’m not mistaken, called “bat wings.” It’s when the back of your arm moves when you wave. However, I have dispelled the myth of the bat wing/arm wave/WHATEVER already: It’s not necessarily fat, it is, in fact, your tricep. The amazing (read: not actually amazing) thing is that your muscles are not active all the time, which means that if you’re holding your arm up by your deltoid and bicep, your tricep will be slack and it will move. Unless you literally spend your life at the gym, expect to have slack muscles. IT’S OK.
Back fat: Fat on your back, bad for indeterminate reasons, just like everything else on this list.
Bikini bridge: A thing 4chan made up that makes me hate everything about humanity and is also about how little body fat women should have.
Buffalo hump: Fat on the back of your neck. I hate everything.
Cankles: When your ankles are thick enough that they’re not particularly distinct from your calves. Theoretically this means that your ankles are “fat” or something, or basically just not dainty enough, and it ignores the fact that A) some people just have short calves and wide ankles (author included, it broke my heart when I was anklet-shopping as a lass) and B) if you do have fat around your ankles, it just doesn’t mean anything about you as a person or about your body or your moral worth.
Chavel: Short for chest/navel, when your belly button is high on your abdomen, because having a high belly button is a mark of the beast.
Hip dips: The dip above saddlebags and below your hips when viewing yourself from the front. Basically what we’re saying here is that if you’re not made of perfect, uninterrupted lines and curves, you don’t get to live a happy life. And no one is made of perfect, uninterrupted lines and curves. So no one gets to be happy. So there.
Muffin top: Belly fat. Technically belly fat at all, but especially belly fat that comes from wearing low-cut jeans. Moral of the story: Whoever invented low-cut jeans can DIAF. It’s a trap!
Saddlebags: Fat on the sides of your thighs. I just don’t know why this even matters.
Thigh gap: A thing you probably do not have because it is not statistically average for human beings to be predisposed to have a body shape that includes thighs that don’t touch at the top.
Thunder thighs: Large-sized thighs. I personally take this to mean that my thighs summon storms, like the storm-summoning, shape-shifting Slavic she-demons called hala.
Thut: Where your thigh and butt connect. If it’s smooth and fleshy, we’ve got a problem. See, despite the fact that women’s bodies tend to accumulate fat in the lower abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs, you are not allowed to have body fat, ladies, and god forbid that things connect to other things.
Turkey gobble: Skin on your neck that hangs even slightly, a phrase I take issue with not only because having flexible skin on your neck allows you to turn your head, but also because “gobble” is the sound a turkey makes, and “snood” is the fleshy thing that hangs below a turkey’s beak. This is something we lay on women as we age, particularly, and that’s fucked up because it means that women can expect to have our bodies scrutinized for decades. At that point, you might as well not care.
Because compiling these definitions was completely exhausting to me because these are things that I try really hard to ignore, by and large, I request that you humor me for a moment and consider some thoughts on life and philosophy and science and stuff. We just found out a few months ago that the Big Bang might never have happened, and that means that while we thought that the universe is 14 billion years old, the truth might be that the universe has no beginning and no end.
Believing that it’s 14 billion years old should be enough, though, because that means that the 80-odd years that we get to be conscious organic beings that are capable of thinking and feeling would make up about 0.0000000571428571 percent of the history of the universe.
A friend introduced me to the phrase “My life is an hour of time” a few years ago, meaning that our lives are very, very short in the greatest scheme of things. But if you condensed the proposed 14 billion years that matter has existed into a year, the 80-odd years that you have to live would actually equate not to an hour, but to two hundredths of a second.
If, that is, the universe even has a timeline. You have a blip of time to exist in this universe, and yet during that blip of time we are gifted by a god or by random chance (pick your poison) with the miracle of consciousness, the ability to care and feel deeply. And because we apparently have free will, we can choose what to care and feel deeply about. We can choose what to think and care about and how to spend our excruciatingly short amount of time, inside our conscious brains.
And we are choosing to think and care about thuts and arm waves and chavels.
Just consider that. I don’t want to be accused of attention-policing, and I get that the power of the media is mighty in shaping the way we see ourselves, but tough shit for me if I am, I guess. Becasue I propose that this is the pettiest and most depressing way we could possibly spend our time, and maybe just fuck the media. That’s coming from someone who works in it.
I’d personally rather that you never looked at the internet again and that I had to find a different job than that you spent another minute of your life worrying about whether or not your body is acceptable enough. It is. The media might not think so, and assholes might not think so, but the universe could seriously not give less of a shit.