I did not get rid of my seventh grade wardrobe until my sophomore year of college, because I told myself that I would fit back into those tiny excuses one day. Just to clarify, that is a solid seven years of lying to myself.
When I would come back to my childhood home, I would get together with my friends and I would attempt to dress myself in my pre-pubescent wardrobe. We would laugh and laugh as I tried to fit both butt cheeks into a pair of tiny short-shorts. And then they would leave. And then I was stuck there, me, alone with my reality: I was "fat." I did this because I believe I'm a slight sadomasochist (it's not my best quality). But aside from being a sadomasochist, of course I could not see that reality fully. Of course I was bigger! Seven years and puberty had run its delightful course on my body. But even so, I continued to set this trap for myself, time and time again.
Once I got tired of ripping my self-esteem to shreds, I ripped the once worn clothing out of my closet. Piles and piles of denim mini skirts, tees that had "witty" sayings on them, and fancy dresses laid lifeless on my floor. I finally was free from those pathetic excuses staring at me from their hangers; they no longer had power over me. I felt free to live in the body I had earned just by living in it. Which is why I have to say this: Bethenny Frankel, you are fooling no one.
When your professional title is "Skinny Girl," of course wearing your 4-year-old's pajama set is going to spark controversy. Bethenny Frankel's fortune gets bigger as she "helps" women get physically smaller. And even though she has admitted to struggling with body image issues and eating disorders, she still has no qualms about exploiting others who struggle with those very same insecurities and mental illnesses for pure economic gain. She is blatantly perpetuating the unrealistic standard of beauty that declares that we must all shrink ourselves down to fit into what is considered "beautiful" and "sexy." Rather than recognizing the issue and realizing that she is now helping to perpetuate the cycle, she is exacerbating a problem that affects her personally, and profits from it. Not only is she exploiting other women's bodies by pushing them towards this unrealistic beauty standard, but she is also exploiting her own body in the hot pursuit of it as well.
Also, what sort of message is she trying to send to her daughter? Her mother is posing for a picture in her pajamas, probably her favorite set of pajamas, and she is teaching her that being the size of a 4-year-old is what she should want to be at the age of 43. Teaching a child that maintaining her toddler-sized body is what she should want is only going to set her up for a life plagued by body insecurities. This young child was born into the world four short years ago, meaning that her mother's word is gospel. This 4-year-old is already being taught that smaller is better, smaller is beautiful, smaller is what she should want.
My brain works primarily in two ways. There is "Anorexic/Bulimic Paulina," who is no longer a featured player, and there is "Paulina." As is obvious, the latter is the preferred, healthier version of my mind. When I saw the picture of Bethenny Frankel posing in her 4-year-old's clothes today, "Anorexic/Bulimic Paulina" took the spotlight for a total of 32 seconds.
Through that lens, I saw myself trying to fit into my seventh grade wardrobe. I thought of the glory I imagined I would have felt if I had been able to fit into those short-shorts at the age of 20. I remembered the "glory" I did feel when I stepped onto the scale at age 16, and discovered that I was two pounds lighter. I remembered the "glory" of being a slave to the scale, wishing to be smaller, thinner, smarter, better, prettier. I remembered the "glory" of being a slave to my eating disorder.
The last time I checked, Bethenny Frankel is not a comedian. Which explains why the caption ("Think we're ready to start sharing clothes yet?") is not very funny. The "glory" I experienced is the "glory" I saw in Ms. Frankel, and why I say: stay out of comedy, Ms. Frankel. You do a better job making a living exploiting body insecurities. And once you realize that you are part of the problem, there are people waiting for you to become part of the solution.
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