Seriously, Put Your Arm Down


Even the most vain men who spend absurd amounts of money on clothes and time in front of the mirror don’t do it. But most women do.

Most little boys couldn’t care less, but most little girls care too much.


Doesn’t matter what country you’re from, where you went to high school or how tall you are. If you are a girl/lady/woman and possess an upper arm, letting it squish up against your rib cage is a current no-no.

If you think I need to search for an American runway, benefit dinner or black-tie auction to find such poses, think again. Triangular arms are alive and well in our dinky town too. A mere 1500 people, most living in poverty, and the female population knows exactly what to do when the cell phone appears.

I’ve done it. You might have, too. We act like we’re just trying to be cute, but really? Everyone knows what we’re doing.

Take it from a recovering girl of vanity. The vain life is not relaxing, natural or fun. And when I say “recovering,” I mean “aware-of-my-issues-but-still-very-much-in-progress.”

Unfortunately I still wade in the deep waters of “what will they think?” more often than I’d like to admit.

What are we teaching the coming generation when we pop the elbow? That they won’t look good in photos unless their arms are away from their bodies?

Actually, that coming generation is already here. Doesn’t seem to matter if they’re seventeen and insecure, or eight and a half and confidently rocking the third grade. They’re the ones with their hands on their hips and shoulders back, desperately trying to emulate their older sisters, aunts, moms, friends and stars.

And don’t forget to bend one leg—preferably the one closest to the camera.




Shall we blame this on the gymnastics poses? Cheerleaders? All the ladies on the red carpets? Go ahead. But that still doesn’t negate the fact that every time we strike these poses we’re sending a message to girls and women everywhere:

“Make sure you stand like this so your arm skin doesn’t squish.”


Whether or not your arm looks narrow and toned does not change my opinion about you. I like you for who you are, not how you appear through contortion.

I’m guessing most stick-skinny girls don’t care about the diameter of their arms between their elbows and shoulders. For them it’s more about the look. The pose. The sexy.

But when talking about young girls, why does the word “sexy” come into play? Would it kill them to have their vocabulary stay young and naive for a few more years?


The Pool

Jumping into the pool of vanity is different for everyone, as is the level to which we allow ourselves to get sucked in.

Are you wading in the shallow?

Bobbing in the middle?

Sinking in the deep?

If anyone likes or dislikes you because of your upper arms, run away. There is so much superficiality in this world. For the love of your humerus–let’s not be part of what doesn’t matter.

Instead, let’s start proclaiming to the next generation that it’s okay to take a normal arm photo and not be worried about losing friends. There will always be judgers; let them judge. Will their opinion truly make or break your photo? Your body image? Your day?

Even if you’re not building houses or lifting toddlers, your biceps probably work hard all week just going through your regular routine. Let them relax for a picture.

For all you Hollywood models out there, I’m sorry I’m not looking for your opinion this time. You have not been good to us, so we ask you to step aside while we deal in real life for a minute.

For the rest of us regular people wearing normal sizes, what do you suggest we do? I guess that depends how we see ourselves.

Do you think your outward appearance is more beautiful in the world’s eyes, or God’s?

Whoa there–gettin’ too personal. Move on.


Arm Options

We have choices, people!

1. Stop wearing sleeveless.

2. Hide behind someone or something in every photo.

3. Tricep dips. All day, every day.

4. Get over it.

Yes—that last one. That’s what I want.

I reach for it, swing for it, live for it. But I miss, fall and fail.

Get back up, oh weak one. Get up and fight!

Why? What’s the point? Who cares?

Little girls do. Women your age do. And all the millennials in the middle do. They want to put their arm down, but the world tells them to get it back up. Prop it, pop it, but do not flop it.

Those older ladies though? Why do they finally put their arms down? Why do they rock tank tops with wrinkles enveloping extra tricep skin and still smile on three?

Younger females are desperately trying to figure out the perfect camera angle while their phone friends and spouses patiently move left, right, slightly up and back again.

But the seasoned women just say “cheese” and move on.

I don’t hear any familiar comments that remind me of… me.

“Did I ruin it?”

“Oh, I forgot to put my arm up! Can you take another one?”

“Can we switch sides?”

They’re confident. They’re living in the moment. And when they see the pictures, the focus is on The Grand Canyon, their smiles, their experience.

Seriously, friend… put it down. I’m not enamored with your arm—it’s your soul that does it for me. Your face, your sparkle, your friendship.

And that’s never going to change, no matter how many tricep dips you do.




When did these poses become the norm? Did anyone do this in the ’80s?


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