Another form of Shaming

Stop apologizing for your arms

At some point in every woman’s life, unless she is as thin as an 18-year-old model, she will raise her arms and wonder why there is wiggly flesh hanging off of her biceps. Trust me, no amount of triceps dips, pullovers, extensions, or push-ups will rid a woman of her “bat wings” or jiggly triceps. The only real way to eliminate this so-called problem is to diet and lose considerable body fat or to find a time machine and return to our younger selves. Yes, working out will give arms better definition, but will not beat out the forces of gravity and loss of skin elasticity.

And yet bat-wing arms are a source of shaming for women of all sizes. Much like fat shaming, there is some assumption that if women were just diligent in working out and barely eating, they would have the bodies of emaciated models or over-developed bodybuilders. And of course, would not have jiggly skin or show any indications of age. In this world of surgical enhancements, if women have the money, they can choose cool sculpting, arm lifts, or other expensive procedures to return their arms to their youthful shape.

But rather than focus on the way our arms may offend a total stranger, why not pay attention to the stories they have to tell? How many hearts and souls, and yes bodies, have these arms lifted in a lifetime? How many people have they comforted and soothed with hugs and tender touches? What have these arms built, carried, cleaned, reinforced, defended, and protected? What have they written, woven, painted, sewed, knitted, played, or created in other ways? It is time to stop apologizing for the work paths we have chosen that did not lead to thin-toned arms.

Over time I have realized that being shamed is a way to distract us from our true life meaning, our soul’s purpose, and the work we are invested in. It is easier to tell a woman that she is unattractive in some way, based on current twisted cultural standards, than to acknowledge her professional power and intellectual ability. It is easier to criticize a woman’s body than it is to appreciate her value. And honestly, in this lopsided society, it is more acceptable to condemn a woman based on her shape and size than to grant her sovereignty over her body.

So go ahead and work out, but do those exercises because you know they are good for your body and brain or because you enjoy them. Stop worrying about the parts of you that do not align with a Barbie doll or Vogue model. And remember that a life well lived is not defined by the size you wear, but by the size of your heart, soul, dreams, actions, and yes, as the wizard said to the tin man, how you are loved by others.

2 thoughts on “Another form of Shaming

  1. I love this! For me, it’s my wrinkly neck that causes stress. I love looking at it through a new lens – how this neck has held up my head for close to 76 years.

  2. Wow, well said!

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