Thursday, 30 May 2013

Body conscious, or, "Love Your Body"?

It seems to be universally accepted wisdom that a woman needs to 'love her body'. Just now I came across an article about a female photographer who took nude pictures of women who didn't 'love their bodies' and displayed them to the public, to help the women see what others saw.

I'm more than a little iffy about this whole business.

Gok Wan and his campaign to get the nation into the nude, one woman at a time? Well meaning I'm sure, but uh, please no.

Loving - what does that mean?

What kind of love are we talking about? The word has so many nuances... and the way some of these body-love campaigners put it sounds more like infatuation to me. Is it healthy to stand in the mirror and admire yourself? Be excited about seeing your reflection?

My body serves me very well and does
almost anything I ask...
it just has a real aversion to cold!
Or, what about the grasping, needy kind of love? Strut your stuff, show off your 'assets', because after all you love yourself? I understand this photographer meant it to help, but why do we need others to tell us they find us beautiful... if we are truly secure? It seems to me that those who shout the loudest about 'loving your body' are often encouraging the most insecure behaviour - showing 'what you've got' to others and expecting to be affirmed.

I don't love my body in that way. I don't stand in front of the mirror and admire what's there. I don't avoid mirrors, either; of course, I'll check to see how my clothes fit, and yes, I see things I don't like. No rose tinted 'bodylove' glasses for me! My body doesn't look perfect - without going into details here, but the fact is, nearly everyone deviates from today's beauty ideal in some way. I definitely do.

I do love my body in the Biblical sense: "No one ever hated his body, but they feed and care for it..." - without particular emotions, I do feed and care for my body. It serves me very well, every day, and I appreciate that!

Can't we just 'be', without any particular emotion?

Having admitted I do have my insecurities, I guard myself against making too many value judgements about how my body looks. I don't hide it, or any part of it, from my husband; and when he says he likes what he sees, I choose to believe him. He's the only one whose opinion about it matters; he's the only one who sees it all.

What I question, really, is this: why should we feel a particular way about our bodies at all? Perhaps that's... simply not necessary?

What a thought! All the marketing messages for a billion-dollar industry are... perhaps simply a bit silly?

There are so many things in my life I don't feel a particular way about. I observe them and make adjustments when necessary, but there's no emotion with that. Examples? My heartbeat (too fast? Slow down what I'm doing!), my digestion (problems? What did I eat?), my eyesight (all ok? Great!)... as to the idea that the way my body looks should evoke any particular feeling, I simply refuse to give this any mental space.

Life's too short!


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Thanks so much for sharing!