succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, June 29, 2007

Amelia has many excellent posts on body image and fat vs. health culture and whatnot, and her latest reminded me of a whole other thing I meant to include in my Mom post. Although our visit was mostly grand, and in fact mostly exhausting for positive reasons (the crazy quantity of activities we smooshed into 7 days) as opposed to negative reasons (dealing with her patiently) there was this one thing - Judgement. Mom was talking about how she and Dad have been trying to discuss openly their biggest fears about their own (remaining) parents' inevitable deaths, to sort of preemptively deal with any conflict that's going to kick up between the two of them (good for them!). She mentioned how her own mother is the least judgemental person she's ever encountered, and that she feels sometimes Dad can be rather quick to judge, and she talked over with him that when she no longer has her mother's presence in her life she's going to be more sensitive to his more judgemental moments.

I didn't have the heart (guts) to tell her, but she (my mother) is one of the most judgemental people I've ever met! (granted, Dad can be condescending at times, but he doesn't make me feel insecure the way she does). Perhaps it is more due to the whole mother-daughter thing, or maybe she just hits my self-conscious buttons, or whatever, but she always seems to make me feel badly about my body. So much so that I even find myself fretting over my wardrobe, trying to pick clothing that will hide or minimize my 'faults.' Seriously, if my physical appearance ever changed significantly, I think I would very hesitant to go home for a visit.

We've both remained roughly the same size since high school, which means that by the time I hit full blown puberty I already weighed 20 pounds more than her and was 4 sizes bigger. I hate shopping with her when we're both trying things on. There's nothing quite like the ego blow of your 56 year old mother, who's given birth twice, looking better in clothes than you do. I know that theoretically it shouldn't be an ego blow, and that I shouldn't be comparing myself in terms of pounds and randomly assigned clothing sizes. But some days I just can't turn that voice off. And it's loudest when she's around, and I have to remind her once again that no, even though we are nearly the same height, I am most definitely not petite.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is part of most mother/daughter dynamics. I always fight with my Mom terribly if she makes even a passing comment about my appearance, and she always replies that it's just b/c she wants me to look my best. And I'll reply that I get that, but as an adult, doesn't she think that I might care even more than she does about my own appearance?

4:05 PM  
Blogger Sudiptya said...

I agree, weight and clothing size is a horrible way to compare yourself against your mother.

Clearly, you should be using the "would sid sleep with it/her" system, which has you rated significantly higher than your mother.

What, misogeny isnt funny anymore? Who sent out THAT memo?


2:20 AM  
Blogger Sudiptya said...

Oh, and while I haven't seen your mom in many years, I just wanted to make the comment that "petite" isn't an unreasonable adjective to apply to you, hon. Admittedly, you're a bit more muscle-y than the average feminine frame, but you're still a wee thing. I mean, it's all a relative scale... you're far from the "large" side of the normal distribution curve.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous heebie-geebie said...

Heh. Boy do I identify with this post. My mom also weighs quite a bit less than I do. I've been bigger than my mom since I was in 8th grade,(but not taller), and was totally ashamed to surpass her back then.

9:15 AM  

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