Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Bodies, Our Beautiful Selves

Look at this. This is my daughter on her first Easter, 1981. Isn’t she adorable? And there is her young mother, wearing a skirt and blouse that she made (what?? I used to do that??) and it’s *tucked in* !! I thought I was fat then! Isn’t that sad?

Recently when “TubaLuba” posted a message about feeling happy with her body, even the extra little matronly roll she has developed, I was amazed at all the sad, self-bashing comments she received. I would say 99% of the comments said something like, “Oh, I’m glad you are happy with your body. I certainly am not. I am way too roly-poly.” Sad to say, I was one of those self-bashing commenters.

Then recently another blog mentioned Queen Latifah. I think Queen Latifah is beautiful and sexy. Has anyone ever heard her complain about being “above average” in size? I’m really asking, because I have not heard this coming from her, but she may have said it. I don’t know. She exudes confidence and beauty and strength! I admire her for those things! I *hope* she has never bashed her self because of size!

My point is (and I do have one), I think it is soooo sad that most American women feel bad about our bodies. What business did I have thinking I was fat back in 1981 when I looked like that!? Why can we never be satisfied? It is a rare woman I have met who doesn’t worry about her body and/or have a poor body image. I truly hope this will change, but it has not changed in my daughter’s generation, at least that I can see.

Charles told me about someone we both know. She is young, bubbly, cute, happy, full of life, and she thinks she isn’t pretty enough. He overheard her saying “if I were 20 lbs lighter I would go after Mr. XYZ.” We felt sad that she didn’t feel confidence enough in her bubbliness, cuteness, happiness, and joie de vivre. Why did her weight have to stop her from going after what she wanted?!

We have ruined so many women’s lives by making them think they are not good enough. Ever. I have wasted a lot of time worrying about my body… in the old days I was “too skinny.” Now I’m “too fat.” I’m just so lucky that my hubby loves me and doesn’t care two hoots about my size. He has helped me to see how silly it is to worry about it (but hasn’t managed to 100% cure me yet, I’ll admit.)

Women have made marriage choices and other important life decisions based on their own poor self-concept, sometimes much of that has to do with their body image. Very, very sad. And how dumb… women go through so many changes! We get periods, we go through pregnancies, we breast-feed, we experience menopause – all these things have consequences to our body shapes. Yet we are only satisfied with a Barbie-doll-body. Isn’t it nuts? We measure ourselves against an impossible standard!

I hope whoever you are, dear reader, will think about learning to love yourself as you are. Think about all your wonderful qualities: intelligent, great sense of humor, good mom, good writer, artistic, creative, funny, curious, friendly, bubbly, quiet, talkative, strong, proud, decisive, helpful… those are what make you worthwhile and loveable. Embrace those qualities in yourself. Me, too! I’m beautiful, funny, creative, and loving! One of God’s miracles! Hooray!

And here is another miracle from God: my son on his first Easter, 1987. Too cute!!




11 comments:

Quilt Pixie said...

very well said. :-) Must admit I don't really think about my body shape or size, except in terms of it allowing me to do X, Y or Z or how long it'll take to recover from doing something...

Biddy22 said...

I was nodding in agreement as I read your latest post. Bravo, and amen to what you've written.

Beth said...

I have sort of a different view... I think that we as woman have to be concerned about our health also.. there are so many diseases that are related to weight and eating habits...that we do need to care about what we do to our bodies. For many many years...about 22 to be exact I didn't care about my body size...but then due to some unforeseen issues I lost a chunk of weight... I did get caught up in it...but only because there was so much more I could do...like take long walks, sit on the floor, stand for longer periods of time (ie outside the American Girl Doll Place when it opened) I don't want to be that person that gets caught up in being a different body type...but I do want woman to be concerned about their health...me included. And maybe this isn't related but just thought I would put in my two cents!

tubaville said...

Well said, hot mama. Well said.

Beth said...

PS Baby E and Baby K are adorable!

Jackie said...

I think as woman we take our thoughts about our body and translate it to how we feel about ourselves - and I think it shows in our day to day activities. I don't know where it came from but my body image and self image are 2 totally different things and have always been so. We need to raise our children that where you get in life does not have to do with how we look but WHO we are!

Patricia said...

As a nurse I can relate to Beth's post, but I also agree with you. There is a happy medium. How do you feel? If you feel good, can do the physical things you want to do without feeling bad, have no physical illnesses related to your weight, then a few pounds shouldn't matter. Actually as we get older, we really look healthier with a little weight on. I try really hard to love me as I am---since it is true, how can we expect to be loved if we don't love outselves. My driving force in watching my weight however has to do with preferring to buy fabric rather than clothes, so I try to stay able to wear what I already have :-)

Hugs! and have a great day!!!

Chris said...

Excellent post today. Here is a blog I follow that encourages women to be healthy and happy with themselves. http://www.nickianderson.com/

Victoria said...

Fabulous post. As a woman, and the mother of two females, (20 and almost 15) this has been a subject that I have thought about a lot. Personally the change my body went through from 2 pregnancies was a shock, and all these years later I am still trying to get use to it. Having said that, I have always tried to focus on all the strengths and gifts that my body has blessed me with, not the perceived "flaws". This at times is a true challenge when we, as a society, are bombarded with Hollywood and fashion model images of "perfect" and "unflawed" woman... no matter what their age or how many pregnancies, they still look like they are 20.

Plastic surgery of these actresses and models that they won't admit too, (I want to scream every time one of them is on a talk show and insists that they lost all of the pregnancy weight and re-gained their tight, smooth flat stomachs by exercise alone... please) and the air-brushed photos of these woman, all have a profound effect on the average woman's self esteem. These images smack you in the face at every check out line, doctors waiting room, and of course TV is filled with them.

I think that as long as the industries that push the "perfect" looking woman as a "product" and goal to be envied, sought after and achieved are left unchecked and unchallenged by the rest of us, this self hatred cycle will continue... and that is a sad, sad thing.

Nanci said...

Well, I'm almost 70 yrs old, though I don't look "70" it's a state of mind. I also have on a bit extra weight, but lord! All my life, I've had hips and ....., can't help it. They are there, still perky and I still get admired for them after all these years. It totally surprises me. I think that having a bit extra weight has kept my face full and thank goodness for a good hairdresser that refuses to perm or cut my hair too short.
I owe all of me to my grandmothers who had oily skin, both of them...and I'm sticking to that...

Nanci said...

I must continue...when my husband looks at actresses today, he asks what happens when their necks give out? Big heads and none of them are looking real.
We watch old movies, and tell me there is someone who looks like Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth...They didn't have plastic in those days.
I hate the look of the women today in movies. So few exceptions..