What if your body is not to blame?
In the introduction to a several-page spread in a popular women’s magazine recently, the creative director “confesses” that he hates his arms, and how much he can relate to the body-hatred experienced by his female counterparts. While I’m always happy to see men acknowledging honestly their body image concerns, his confession was the introduction to an article on how to solve “dressing dilemmas.”
What to do when your panty hose run three minutes after walking out the door (when you’re running ten minutes late)? How to find trendy heels that won’t cause bunions? How to stop that turtleneck from itching so badly that you rip it off and hurl it across the room… at work?
These are some of the “dilemmas” that I face, and would have been legitimately interested in learning how to “solve.” But this particular article had other issues in mind – to use their descriptions, turkey neck, spare tires, front butt, pit chub, bat wings, frump butt, and thunder thighs.
If that hasn’t sent you spinning into post-traumatic flashbacks of high school bullying, it’s probably because we’ve been so desensitized to such offensive and deprecating phrases. I was floored that these terms were used to describe any part of the female body. But I guess in the society in which we live, I shouldn’t have been.
A quick glance in the grocery line reveals all sorts of clever little phrases for women’s bodies – chub rub, side boobs, and the list goes on. What’s so frustrating about this, however, is not so much the phraseology, but the fact that the names are intricately tied to an expectation that women have flaws that need to be somehow rectified.
When did our bat wings become a problem? When someone decided it was profitable for them to be a problem.
Bear with me here, because I realize this might sound like a foreign language.
We are not born with flaws, and we do not die with flaws. Our bodies are exactly how they are meant to be at each moment in time. There is nothing inherently wrong with our bodies. And do you know how I know that? Because they are the way they are, and that is reality.
So we long to be taller, or have bigger breasts, or smaller feet… But what we know, the only thing we know, is that this is we are the person we are supposed to be, inhabiting the body we are supposed to inhabit. Whatever explanation makes sense to you – genetics, God, destiny, a combo of all of them – the fact remains that we are who we are, with all of our uniquenesses in tow. And if that is who we are, it is who we are meant to be.
With that said, it seems that we have it all wrong when it comes to our approach to our “dressing dilemmas.” What if the clothes with which we adorn our bodies are not meant to cover “sins” or hide belly fat, but rather are meant as an expression of our creative self? What if the clothes were an extension of how we see the world? Or, if you don’t want to go that far, a way of simply keeping us comfortable in inclement weather? What if, for once, they weren’t a means of hiding these, apparently, un-namable body issues?
What if it’s the clothes that are wrong? What if it’s the corporation selling the clothes? What if it’s the magazine that advertising the quick fixes to our body blemishes? What if it’s our government for allowing manipulation and sexualization of our physical selves. What if it’s anyone or anything at all rather than our body to blame? What then?
That’s a lot of questions. They’re not meant to be answered. They’re meant to be felt. Sit with them and notice what comes up.
How do you feel? What if your body isn’t wrong?