TW: Eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and talking about the mom diet.
In this week’s episode of How Cum, comedians Maddy Smith and Jordan Jensen join Remy in celebrating some cathartic self-hatred while discussing millennial trends, picking ourselves apart, and our parents' role in the relationship we have with our bodies. How fun, right? Well, definitely triggering for most of us, but, as always, it’s a lot more approachable through some nice cumedy. In this post, we’ll break down some of what was said on Episode 4 of this amazing season 4.
During 2020 and 2021 we’ve seen the rise of #bodypositivity, and while we love the fight against the patriarchy and its irrational beauty standards, we seem to always fall back into aggressively policing ourselves and each other. When someone posts “I don’t like this or that about myself”, the comment section floods with “aw, no babe, don’t diss yourself, you’re beautiful”, and while we appreciate the love, is there a way to not drip into toxic positivity?
Body positivity is not a simple trend. It’s the journey of undoing the trauma we grew up with, unearthing the daily habit of self-hatred, and healing all the wounds our constant rejection has caused. That’s a fucking big task.
In any big transformation, there must be progressions, there must be flexibility; because no, fuck no, we don’t always feel positive about our bodies. Some of us have so much internalized hatred that we can’t be sincere when we say “I love my fat arms and my flat butt”. We can’t delete 10, 20, 30 years of constant overthinking, correcting, focusing on certain parts of our bodies and sincerely say “I love you” to the mirror, or post a “bold and brave” picture on Instagram (it wouldn't be bold and brave if certain bodies weren’t valued more in our society).
Let’s factor in our generational differences: Gen Z kids have it all, don’t they? Those privileged teens who think they can just wear low rise jeans and move on, and here we are, millennials with permanent love handles begging for them to stop. Why are millennials so intensely triggered?
The generational gap lays on how fucking toxic the ’90s and 2000s were towards our bodies with the heroin chic trend putting a moral value on food and exercising, profoundly stigmatizing obesity and overweight bodies, pushing Atkins and other restrictive diets, TV launching products like SlimFast, and other ways in which we saw our moms starve themselves; how much we were sexualized as young girls, and the crazy irrational standard of being a size 0. So, allow me to explain, kids: The thing we fear is bringing back the habit of having our bodies be “the trend”, the extreme fatphobia, and the constant objectification of women. We fear the time when parts of our bodies matched our looks or not, when our boobs became an accessory that could fit our crop tops or not, but we were sure as fuck getting into that crop top. It’s not coincidental that so many millennials struggle with body image issues.
I’ll stay clear from using the term body dysmorphia because studies are relatively new, assigning a diagnosis is complicated and, therefore, the statistics show that: Body Dysmorphic Disorder occurs in about 2.5% of males, and in 2.2 % of females (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Which to me, sounds like an incredibly low percentage considering the privilege and praise our society places on certain body characteristics (thin, white, cis, etc.). What I took away from the episode was that body dysmorphia or even body dysmorphic tendencies make us lose hours of our days scrutinizing ourselves when we could be doing anything else. Ie, having mind-blowing orgasms.
And it must be noted that everyone can suffer from the effects of our toxic diet culture, and the body dysmorphic behaviors that come as consequence, regardless of how our bodies look and how privileged they might be. Including models like Jameela Jamil who is known for her 'I weigh' movement (aimed to raise awareness on how we place value on people according to our weight.. Or TV personalities like our guest for this episode, Maddy Smith, who shared with us that she prefers to be dressed “like homeless men” to not be perceived on stage, and to not think about her body while she is focusing on her jokes.
“It’s weird to be 30 and be like ‘I'm finally at a point where I don't have to convince someone that they should love my personality enough to tolerate my body’”- Jordan Jensen said, while my brother and I hugged out the pain of that hard truth we must face when we feel shame about our bodies.
So, what do we do with all our self-hatred? Do we bottle it up because it’s no longer socially acceptable to hate on our bodies? No. This type of policing is only going to make it worse, my friends, please don’t. For so many of us, our biggest step is to aim towards neutrality because positivity is beyond reach. And that’s okay. To view food as fuel and pleasure instead of something to be monitored and to view our bodies not as disgusting offensive blobs that we need to work on, but as amazing vehicles that we’re lucky to have. For so many of us, the first step has to be learning to be compassionate with ourselves when all those internalized voices jump to say “hide your fat arm, you cow”, “stand up straight, you’ll look depressed”.
At the end of the episode, the three comedians talk about their personal and very specific struggles with body image, culminating in a fun game/ song called “These are the reasons why I hate myself,” Which ended up being a quite cathartic experience for something so dark. At least 20 self-hates were rattled off in the span of 3 minutes and we encourage you to play with your friends-- (bonus points if you can manage to laugh about yourself a little): My crooked nose, my hunching posture, my double chin, my freakishly long arms… Or something unique like Remy’s scrotal tongue. So, cum and join us in celebrating our shared self-hatred and journey to body neutrality.
Tell us, what do you hate about yourself?
Written by Roxana González (she/her/they/them), a fellow cumpanion all the way from Mexico City. She has a BA in hotel management, she’s a cat lover, intersectional feminist, and writer.