Normal is a Four-Letter Word

Some days I despair of ever being normal. But what is normal, really? Normal for me is not normal for others. But is normal for others normal for all? Is there such a thing? I’m starting to think that normality is a myth. I should rejoice in what is my normal and not worry about whether or not it meets up to society’s definition of normal.

Are society’s accepted norms really realistic anyway? Look at what society considers beautiful. Stick-thin, anemic-looking models are the unhealthy aspiration of many a little girl. But why? That is not normal and that should not be the goal for which every woman strives. Trust me. I’ve been unhealthily thin and still would have been told to lose a little bit of weight by a top modeling agency. I’m serious. Those woman are put through hell. Their self-worth is continually challenged. They are told by one client that their hips are too big, by another that they need to lose a little weight so that their cheekbones are better defined. They are taught that they never live up to the standards set by others. They develop body image issues on a scale that most of us will never even begin to comprehend.

Why does a woman’s stomach have to be flat? How is a woman expected to be as thin as a rail and still somehow have curves? Why are implants required to be desirable? Why should lips be fuller, eyes rounder, teeth whiter?

Who decided that this is good? Who decided that this is the standard to which all others should hold themselves? Who decided that this is normal?

Perhaps “they” should be taken out of the equation and replaced with “we.” For “we” are far kinder and more fair than “they.” Even better, we should replace “they” with “I.” Because we really shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks anyway.

Hmm… somehow, what I had intended to be a post about my current state of mental and physical well-being turned into a reflection of my own continuing struggle with body image issues. Isn’t that interesting?

About Jenna Magee

IT professional, needleworker, editor/proofreader, author, singer, musician.
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4 Responses to Normal is a Four-Letter Word

  1. Outi says:

    Normal is a subjective matter.

    Personally I am far away from “normal” in terms of weight and still I am accepted. (Actually I am surprised that an considerably overweight single mom seems to have that many takers… *smirk* Which obviously makes me more normal in that matter than I thought.)
    And then is “normal” desirable. It’s average, and who in Earth would want to be average? Even tough many things in us are “normal” I don’t think there should be such a word. Some things are common, some things are highly uncommon, but I don’t think they should not be called “normal”.

    And then there are many things considered normal (like that woman should be flat stomached, thin as heck an have big, big silicone boobs), but that are not desirable to other people.
    Is that normal or is it just a freak feature of society?

    As let’s face it. We are all unique in our own way and we all belong to some minorities, to those “abnormal” groups. So, why demand normalcy when we could just settle with life with different strokes for different folks.

  2. Anne R says:

    I believe the normal people try to live up to has been mistaken for the NORM – big difference. Where NORMAL is a very forgiving, flexible and including state of being, the NORM is quite different. NORM is what we try to achieve but only a very few of us will ever manage; that stick-thin healthy person with huge boobs actually exists in real life, but they are probably 1 per million… NORMAL means 80% of the population, which in turn means a lot of people can manage that. Average is difficult to hit on target, because it is right in the middle of all those different features and personalities without actually having to fit on any real person.

    Good thing about mental health is that it DOESN’T show – which means we accept a lot more diversity in personalities than in appearances.

    I say normal is good, average is rarely a real person and all norms should be kicked in the behind for messing with our heads. Just because the huge clothes manufacturer makes clothes that don’t fit doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me or you, just that they make their garments to fit their ideal instead of making clothes that fit PEOPLE 😉


  3. Joanne says:

    Hi Jenna, I am studying psychology and ‘normal’ is defined as anything upto 2 standard deviations from the mean, or a deviation from the average. Don’t concern yourself with ‘normal’, as it is very subjective.

  4. Terri says:

    Well said, Jenna. If the women who grace the catwalks and cover pages are the “normal” for our culture, then I am quite happy to be “abnormal”! I love my curves; my baby bulge reminds me of the blessing of carrying my two children, my large and saggy boobs remind me of nourishing them late in the night as the world was calm and quiet, and my slighty stooping back is evidence of the years that I have carried their worries on my shoulders to make their path a bit easier! Never let THEM see you sweat my friend…you are more woman than they could ever be and more than any “normal” man deserves! Just call me Abbie Normal, LOL!

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