Color and Confidence 2: Orange You Worried About Your Health?

I hope you enjoyed the start of my 2nd color and confidence series yesterday!

Pants:  eShakti (Similar here)
Yesterday, I talked about the right to dress our bodies as we see fit.  My main
look today features the color orange and involves these fun culottes from eShakti. 

The wide
leg and cropped hem of the pants and the sleeveless crop top are definitely counter to what I’ve
been taught to wear as a petite and curvy gal.  While I do tend to care
somewhat about what’s flattering to my figure, I also love fashion, and I love being comfortable.  This outfit was perfect for running pre-wedding errands.  While it’s not the most “flattering” look I own, I think I pulled it off!  🙂

Top:  ASOS Curve
Obviously, standards about how women should dress are related in part to body politics and the shaming of women’s bodies.  Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about body policing, particularly as it relates to health. 

Whenever a very thin or plus size person posts an article, a photograph, a blog post, etc., comments of various types tend to follow.  One of the central themes of these comments seems to be concern over health.  These commenters, often referred to as “concern trolls”, cite worries about the health dangers of being under or overweight and sometimes may specifically profess concern for the featured person or people. 

I know there’s some debate about whether one’s weight can or should be used as a measure of health, but the bottom line is that you can not tell by someone’s photograph what his or her blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, or other health measures are.  You just can’t. 

Sandals:  Payless
But even if we said every obese person and/or every significantly underweight person is unhealthy, the question becomes, is it really anyone else’s concern?  Is the health of a stranger really our business?  And realistically, do these concern trolls truly care about the health of the person or people they are referencing, or is it simply an excuse to criticize that person without sounding mean?

What about when the people concern trolling are family and friends, people who really do love and care about you and who are genuinely concerned about your health, rightly or wrongly?  What then?

Clutch:  Target (Available here)
Ultimately, our body shape, size, and weight are our business and ours alone.  People’s bodies may be smaller or larger based on genetics, nutrition, disease, medications, exercise, eating disorders, and a number of other factors.  Some of these factors people have control over, some they don’t, but the reasons why someone’s body looks the way it does is their business, not ours.
Bracelets:  Target; The Limited
In my case, I know that I don’t always care for my body as well as I should.  I often don’t eat the healthiest foods.  I rarely exercise. 
I know that I would feel better if I did, but I also know why I don’t do those things.  My life is hectic and chaotic.  I have five kids, a husband, a full-time job that sometimes demands more than full-time, and blogs to write.  I stress eat and sometimes mindlessly eat while working.  Is it a maladaptive coping mechanism?  Certainly.  But, I’m okay with that for right now because as maladaptive as it may be, it is currently functional for me.  It allows me to get through my day – I have more time to do things that I need to do, and the stress reduction that comes with eating convenience foods helps me be calmer in dealing with my kids and helps me focus on tasks at hand.

I also tend to get hyper-obsessive and focused on whatever my passions are.  In my past, I feel like this obsessiveness coupled with internalization of societal body ideals led me to an eating disorder.  I sometimes get scared that if I start down a path of better fitness that I could get overly obsessive and end up down the same road as before or worse.  While my behavior now may not be the healthiest, starving my body certainly isn’t healthy either.  I still struggle with body image issues, but my body dysmorphia at the time was downright dangerous.

Earrings:  World Market
At the end of the day, it’s my right and everyone else’s to live our lives in ways that work best for us at any given moment.  I’ll likely get back to healthier eating and exercise at some point. Despite my current behaviors, holistic health and nutrition are actually of deep interest to me, and I’ve independently studied on the topics quite a bit.

For right now, other aspects of life have taken precedence, and I’m okay with that.

We have to be open to allowing other people to live their lives in ways that are different than us.  I’ve learned this over the years, but quite honestly, it can be a hard lesson.  It is our own narcissism that wants to force our views and lifestyle choices onto others as the only legitimate way to think, feel, or live.  When I became a vegetarian at 15, I became passionate about spreading the message of factory farming, vegetarianism, animal testing, and other animal rights issues.  I’m still a vegetarian and still care deeply about these issues, but at the end of the day, my lifestyle is my choice.  I can educate others who wish to be educated, but it’s not my place to demand or expect people to live the way I think they should.

By that same token, no one has the right to dictate to anyone else what their body should look like.  Using the guise of health, so often used by people who have no medical or health care education or experience, is a way to try to validate our dislike of bodies that don’t fit the normative social ideal.  When we fat-shame or skinny-shame or whatever body-shame using concerns about health, we are simply trying to legitimize our own prejudices. 

Yes, some people, like family and friends, may have real concern.  To those people who may be reading, if you feel you must, I simply suggest that you note your concern to your loved one once and only once.  Nagging someone about their bodies, regardless of the reason or concern provided, is NOT helpful and may only serve to bring a wedge between you and that loved one.  If you are concerned that someone close to you has an eating disorder, then offer them resources and your support. 

At the end of the day though, concerns over health, legitimate or not, will only be addressed by someone when she or he feels that there is an actual problem (some people are perfectly happy being underweight or overweight, and that is A-ok too!) and when that person feels ready to address it.  Your “concern” over someone else’s body is your issue and not theirs.  It’s neither your right nor mine to push our issues on to someone else.  There are a whole lot of worse things in life that someone could do than have a body that doesn’t fit the societal definition of health.  Instead of concern trolling someone for their body, offer them encouragement in other areas of their life, love and support them for who they are, not what they look like.

And now that we’ve discussed the problems with concern trolling, orange you excited to get back to fashion?  I haven’t worn a lot of orange this past year, but I’ve rounded up a few more ideas on how to add more orange to your wardrobe.

First, here’s another look with the culottes from a recent casual Friday at work:

Blazer:  Eloquii; Camisole:  Forever 21+ (Available here)
Satchel:  The Limited; Clutch:  Torrid
Wedge sandals:  Target; Bracelet:  New York & Company
Orange mixed with warm colors and camel brown is a perfect autumnal combination

Want subtle ways to add orange to your wardrobe?  Try incorporating orange in prints like polka dots on a sundress or a city-scene top
Left to right:  Midi & Crop Tops; Mix the Old with the New
Peach and black is an all-time favorite color combination, a soft and sophisticated way to wear orange
Back to Reality

Stay tuned for another post in this series tomorrow!

Check out last year’s Color and Confidence: Orange here
For the crop top in other looks, see here, here, and here.

Author: Cassie

I'm the owner/publisher of Style Cassentials, a curvy and petite gal OBSESSED with fashion and strong believer in making clothes work for YOU! I love sharing advice on all things fashion, especially shopping and fit tips!

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