That's what one of my 6th grade students asked me the other day.
At first, I didn't know what she was talking about, because she was supposed to be working on a math worksheet and leaving me the heck alone while I browsed Reddit on my phone. (see: Perks of Being a Substitute Teacher)
Once I realized she had said thigh gap...you know "dat gap," I knew it was my moment to be her hero.
To change her life and boost her self-esteem and mold her into a strong, independent, black woman (or whatever).
But then I panicked because I didn't know what to say. So I brushed it off.
And then walked bow-legged away from her desk out of fear of my thighs rubbing together.
I've been working on my self-esteem for almost 23 years now and yet I'm not any more sure of myself than an 11-year-old.
I have to be honest with you, I am sick of talking and hearing and reading about women and beauty.
In any context really.
Can we please just talk about something else?!
Like how women can be funny?
Shoot, even insane?!
LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE.
And I don't mean "for a girl."
I hate that phrase more than anything.
When people say, "Oh yeah, she's really funny for a girl."
Nope, she's just funny. In general. Because the things she says causes laughter. Her being a girl is irrelevant.
I hate that we refer to ourselves as "real women" and "regular girls."
Your cup size does not equate to realness.
We are all real by the sheer fact that we are alive.
And none of us are anywhere near regular.
I refuse to be.
I am me. And you are you. And that's all.
We are not some big clump of average adjectives.
No offense to Dove, but I'm tired of being treated like a little dove.
I'm sick of "challenges" that tell me to not wear makeup for a week and accept my inner beauty and realize that models don't even really look like that.
We are letting others cradle our confidence.
So let's change the conversation.
Because I'm sick of talking about that.
Why not promote self-esteem in a different way?
Like with the stuff that actually matters.
You know the stuff that makes you a better person.
Not a space in between your legs.
Because I'm trying to figure out how to teach children more than just Shakespeare and dividing fractions, but the media is telling me to not worry because even models have cellulite and stretch marks.
THAT STUFF DOESN'T MATTER.
It needs to stop mattering.
We need to move on.
We're letting the beauty industry affirm us in the wrong ways.
They have become those guys at the bars that buy you drinks.
It's a momentary lapse that makes you feel good, but in the end, you're just clouding your mind.
I want women to run for office without the debate if she had plastic surgery and where she got her pant suits.
I want films with mostly female casts to not be down-graded to "funny for a chick flick."
So how do we do that?
How do I answer my 6th grader?
By not giving into the temptation to be something only worth staring at.
Because honestly, it's not worth it.
And I can buy my own drinks.