Last weekend an article on my facebook feed caught my eye. ‘Happy in your own skin’ sounded like something I wanted to read: I love a bit of body positivity! However this article wasn’t quite what I was expecting…
‘Happy in your own skin’ compares same-sex and mixed-sex relationships, and claims,
Personally, I think that the reason for success in many same-sex relationships is that we are a lot more comfortable with breaking certain barriers than those in heterosexual relationships.
And personally, I disagree on many levels. The writer comes across as struggling to justify how special women’s relationships are with other women. Now, I don’t know who she is trying to justify herself too, but I think that the Diva audience is probably already convinced. That aside…
When my girlfriend came out to her mum, her mum replied:
We all need companionship.
And I feel like this is the territory that the writer has accidentally slipped into. It seems, although I’m sure unwittingly, to reduce the ‘special-ness’ of women’s relationships to our ability to squeeze one another’s spots, shave each other’s legs and use the toilet in front of our partners. Now, if that’s what makes you happy, that’s fine, but that does not represent my relationships and after doing similar ‘I asked my friends’ research, it doesn’t represent the queer women in my life’s relationships. This representation of women’s companionship harks back to the quaint image of village ‘sisters’: loyal companions who would never really know love, romance, or passionate lust.
Now my rainbow sisters, who hasn’t indulged in a bit of shower chat? Who hasn’t been caught short and nipped in for a quick wee? And who hasn’t let a partner pop their spot every once in a while… (I actually haven’t but you catch my drift). The thing is this simply isn’t what make your relationship special. It is not their reason for success.
Relationships are special because of the people involved in them. They’re special because those people enjoy spending time together doing the things that they love. They enjoy developing and growing as individuals within the parameters of that relationship. And sometimes they’re special because you have really good sex. Love, lust and anything in between is unique to the person feeling it. And if I’m honest, at the tiny age of 23, I have no idea what keeps people together in the long-term, but I’m on a mission to find out. For now I can almost definitely say it’s not spot popping. I can tell you about my personal experience as a self-confessed serial relationshiper and what I think that this writer should have focussed on.
Happy in your own skin
The older I get the more comfortable I am in my own skin. Aged eighteen I would have felt self-conscious to change in a public changing room, meticulously shaved my legs, and wouldn’t leave the house without make-up. These things have all changed.
Not only this, but I’ve stopped valuing myself against my personal appearance. As a young(er) woman I am acutely aware that I was in relationships which did quite publically value me for what I looked like. Getting older (and only by five years, life is a sharp learning curve) I realised that my looks would only last so long and I was going to have to learn to love the person I was, no matter what it’s packaging was like. Learning to lose some of my insecurities, learning to love (or at least like) myself as an individual and learning that some people will never be pleased with you, taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. And with this comfort and confidence I learned to be comfortable in my relationships and I suspect that is far more key to a long-lasting relationship.
For the original article please see: http://www.divamag.co.uk/category/comment/opinion-happy-in-your-own-skin.aspx