BLOG           BEHIND THE SCENES            ABOUT            IN THE MEDIA           SHOP             ECOURSE            FOLLOW            ADVERTISE

10/14/13

#BodyConfidenceWeek Is It Really Important?


Little girls in Victorian times were more concerned with their needlework, writing letters and if they were generous and kind*. Enter the twentieth century and our teens and pre-teens are consumed with the size of their waists and wearing the right clothes and makeup. This infatuation with one’s outer appearance, over inner qualities, continues for the rest of a modern woman’s life. In order to love ourselves, we must also love our bodies and how we look. There is a seemingly impenetrable link between our sense of self and how we rate our different body parts.

And the body positive community is not exempt from this phenomenon either. Do we have to love our bodies? Can we like ourselves without feeling positively towards our rolls, chins, thighs and robust waist? Lately, I have been questioning some of the messages that the body positive community spreads. Love your body! Have a healthy body image! Love yourself! I say these things as well, and still believe them. But I wonder if we are putting too much importance on our outer appearance and actually buying into another way for companies to make money off of us. We have to have the latest fatshions and will easily partake in anything tagged #bodypositive. Are we just as obsessed about our looks as the diet industry? I think that sometimes we might be pursuing body confidence and vanity at the expense of our other qualities.

On the contrary, unless you never go out in public, use the internet, see a magazine or watch TV, then you are fighting a daily battle against media messages and poorly written sitcoms that overuse fat jokes. (Seriously, can we knock this shit off so I can watch my favorite shows) We have a long history of being told we need to buy perfection. We are faced with no choice but to confront our body image. It is nearly impossible to live outside this pressure. Without a doubt, I would much rather be confident and vain then succumb to negative body talk and unattainable perfection.

There is a part of me that wants to smash the patriarchy and give a big fuck you to anyone that tells me my body is wrong because it is fat. Sometimes I cringe at the fluffiness and naivety of the love your body messages. Like it was watered down, contrived to tap into a market and gain page views. Are we carefully looking at the morals behind these messages? Do they intersect with other issues and cultures? Inclusive or exclusive? Let’s not forget there is more about being body positive than feeling or looking beautiful.

But it doesn’t devalue what body confidence means to me. It is an act of rebellion to say that we love our bodies. It feels radical and it’s powerful to be part of this level of self-confidence and fabulousness that usually thinner women are only allowed. It isn’t easy to just start loving our bodies after years of being trained and groomed not to. It requires tools, experiences, activism and practice. It’s more than wanting to feel pretty. I want to feel worthy, free from discrimination and have access to a life that I want to live. Whether it is putting on a comic book pattern dress for an outfit post on my blog or writing a book instructing women on how to be a fat bitch, it is going to bring us closer to that world. Then, dammit, loving your body is important! It is life and death.

*As observed in the diaries of young girls in the book The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

15 ♥ COMMENTS ♥:

elfeleven said...

I really appreciate this post. I will say, though, that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that young girls in the Victorian era cared about the shapes of their bodies and the sizes of their waists. (Here's a non-scholarly piece of evidence, but I can totes dig up an article or two if it would be helpful: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114361957/antique-victorian-young-girls-corset-or) This is not a uniquely modern obsession, and it's a little naive to suggest that it is (just as those who rush wholeheartedly into body positive everything may also be exhibiting naivete?).

Rachele said...

I totally agree with you. I think just as far as what younger girls thought about, their bodies weren't on the top of the list. I am reading a book called The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls and she talks about what girls wrote in their diaries. Maybe I will reword what I wrote because I think it might have came out wrong...

Anneroo said...

Thank you for this! I was just thinking along these lines last night, after leaving a body-positive website feeling kind of crumby. There was a feeling of overemphasis on appearance and being sexual and sexy, to the exclusion of valuing people (in particular women) as a whole person. I think we need to remember to value of our "body/mind/spirit"-- and cultivate awareness of how we think, how we create, how we talk to and interact with others outwardly, and on an energetic level. Our outward beauty is intrinsically linked to our inner happiness. I appreciate the reminder : )

JesTheMilitantBaker said...

Amen! The third chapter of mah book talks about why i focus so much on the body. It goes something like this:

"People often ask me why I place so much focus on the body.

Why isn't the focus on our inner beauty? Why aren't we talking about what we contribute to the world? Why aren’t we mentioning how marvelous our soul is? I've thought long and hard about this question, and I've come to a solid conclusion. It goes something like this: we are more likely to be told by the world that we are good people than anything else. Funny, creative, intelligent, communicative, generous, maybe even extraordinary. What we are NOT told is that our bodies are beautiful just the way they are. We are taught that our figure is flawed, and not only is it flawed, but that the majority of our worth lies within our physical appearance. Which, of course is never “perfect enough” by societies standards. This affects our lives on a monumental level.

We become too embarrassed to meet up with the friend we haven't seen in years because we might have gained weight. We sabotage relationships through thinking that we're unworthy of physical affection. We hide our face when we have breakouts. We opt out of the dance class because we're worried we'll look ridiculous while participating. We miss out on sex positions because we're afraid we'll crush our partner with our perceived weight if we are on top. We don't approach potential friends because we assume they will judge our appearance before anything else. We shirk when walking in public spaces; trying to take up as little room as possible. We build our lives around the belief that we are undeserving of attention, love, and amazing opportunities when this couldn't be further from the truth.

Our bodies are installation art that we curate publicly. Our bodies are the first message those around us receive. Our bodies are our personal bookmarks in the world. Our bodies are magnificent houses for everything else that we are. Our bodies are a part of us, just like our kindness, talents, and passion. Yes, we are so much more than our outer shell, but our outer shell is an integral part of our being too. This is why I focus on them! The way we view our bodies impacts the way we participate in the world... and wouldn't it be wonderful if we loved and accepted them for the perfect things that they are?
But it's easier said than done, amiright or amiright?"

That was way longer than I expected. But yeah.
Amen sister.

Eve said...

This is powerful. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on these ideas!

unitedstatesofbecky said...

Oh my gosh! I recognized that quote right away - I have read that book a couple times and I really love it! :)

Hope said...

This is definitely something to think about. Obviously there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good and feel good about yourself, but I don't think it should be the end all be all of body positivity. It should be about the inclusion of all bodies without judgement. It should take us to a place where we don't even need it anymore because no judgments or assumptions are made about others based on their physical appearance. Obviously that is extremely fluffy and maybe a it naive, but a girl can dream.

Rachele said...

That's okay, fluffy things are cute :)

Rachele said...

I wish I read it when I was a teenager! So good.

Rachele said...

Yes! Fashion is a powerful!

Rachele said...

We'll see...It can be weird hashing out ideas and playing devils advocate in a blog post. I hope that's what people realize I am doing! I am a trouble maker.

Rachele said...

Perfectly said lady! Also get me a book deal and maybe I will finish my beast ;)

Rachele said...

You're welcome! Thanks for your honesty. I get that feeling too!

Rachele said...

I've seen lots of cute dimply legs! You are a hot mama and rock those gams!

Neighbor Chick said...

I'm with you all! We have to ignore the messages and KNOW our own worth. And, my goodness, those sitcoms are the worst. You're sitting there laughing and then ZAMMO. Those jokes are NOT necessary! It's mean-spirited. No thank you, sitcom writers.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...