Today I noticed that the models in the Lands End swimwear catalog don’t have real legs. I mean, obviously, they have legs. Their legs are real in the abstract. But, to look at them, they aren’t real. There are no bumps, lumps, or changes in color. They are two peach tapered triangles with no variation. They literally have nothing on them that looks even remotely like what my legs look like. They don’t look real. They look like someone who is wearing panty hose, but dark hose that disguises any variation. And, not only that, but allows for no bumps or muscles, or knees. It’s really remarkable.
Recently, I’ve been getting some catalogs that actually show women’s legs. And, they look like women’s legs. I’ve been kind of surprised and, I admit, at first glance taken aback. Wondering, I guess, what these women were doing in a catalog if their legs didn’t look like I expected them to look. But, it was with getting the catalog yesterday, and flipping through it, that I realized why it is that I thought their legs unseemly. Their legs look like legs. They have muscles. They have bumps. They have cellulite. They have knees! I mean, it’s ridiculous. Peoples legs are not uniformly peach tapered triangles coming out of their pants or bathing suit with no texture or variation in size, but they are in most catalogs. They are in most magazines. What a bill of lies we are sold about how we should look. What we should look like is not like those super glossy, extremely photoshopped images. We should look strong. We should have muscles, and dents, and cellulite (even!). We should be real. We should be people who aren’t perfect. None of us are, so why should we try and aim for perfection. We will never achieve it. We will never live up to it. And, is having a leg without any texture or muscle or knees perfect? I don’t think so.
I’ve been working really hard to get strong leg muscles. I think my legs are the strongest they’ve ever been. Stronger than when I was in high school working out every day after school for multiple hours. Stronger than when I was training for and running half marathons. Stronger than at any point in my life. But, they are also bigger. Strength creates mass, and I have struggled with the trade-off, which is ridiculous. Stronger glutes, stronger quads, and stronger hamstrings will help me be a stronger person, a person who isn’t in pain, a person who is able to do things now and in the future.