My first major RANT.
So there I was, about to write a sweet little note about why it’s important for you to accept your body when I thought, why not pop over to Facebook for a little check in? So pop over I did and was promptly met by this F*CKING picture!
You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?
Though I don’t typically write about gender politics, the level of jackassery here is just too much to let slide.
The damaging messages that shape what our children, both boys and girls, are being taught about the female body are still very much alive and wreaking havoc as we speak.
Let’s start with the fact that these brilliant onesies are, with their distinct color coding, letting children know that being a boy means you’re super and being a girl means your life is to be shrouded in shame. That seems fair and reasonable, right? Riiiight.
Now let’s say the people who made the onesies did so in good fun. Fine. And what that tells me is, if they’re men, they think it’s OK to make fun of women’s internalized body shame, which of course, furthers and feeds that shame. And if the makers are women, their own body shame has been so normalized that they think it’s OK to slap that shame on the bellies of newborn baby girls thus bequeathing that shame to the next generation.
I see this body shame every day in my coaching practice.
My clients are doctors, artists, entrepreneurs, architects, teachers, consultants, aid workers. They are very smart people who cerebrally understand these kinds of shaming images are total bullshit and yet they still struggle with their own body shame. They want to accept and embrace their bodies and yet have no idea where to start. And why would they? As these onesies remind us, women have been socialized since birth to feel ashamed of their bodies no matter what they look like. (In fact, many women have a hard time even knowing what they see when looking in the mirror.)
Our body shame runs so deep it’s often hard to suss out what’s shame driven and what’s just our personal preference. Do we hate bikinis because we’re afraid of how we look or because they’re just not our style? Do we bat our partner’s hand away when they try to caress our stomach because we’re ashamed of its roundness or because we just don’t like our stomach touched? Do we avoid daytime sex because we feel exposed or because night’s simply more “romantic”?
The answers to these questions are somewhere in the murky middle and it’s important to question the messaging around us and notice how they impact our choices to show or hide, love or deny, feed or starve our beautiful female form.
That said, here’s what I do know. We cannot let body shaming be OK and we cannot bequeath our body shame to the next generation of unsuspecting newborn baby girls.
Sure, we can fight and get mad and write things like “This is so f*cked up!” (which I did) under offensive pictures on Facebook. Or we can do the only real thing that will prevent this kind of shame from spreading.
We can heal our own.
We can face our shame without judgment and heal our relationship with our bodies. We can open our hearts to ourselves and take exquisite care of the body we have now. (Rather than the body we’re “working towards”.)
We can take a radical stand and show our daughters and sons that we believe our bodies are beautiful so they know theirs are as well. We cannot simply say it. We must model it.
Today look in the mirror and with one hand on your heart and one on your belly, tell your body how much you love her. Thank her for all the steps she’s taken, all the groceries she’s carried and all the warm hugs she’s given.
Just for today, accept your body just as she is. Let that acceptance surround you and remind you that when your heal yourself, that healing is spread to the people and society that desperately need it.
Phew. That felt very good to say. Thank you for reading my rant.
All my love to you and your body,
P.S. My one-day Reconnect retreat is this Saturday and I have 1 space left. (Click here for details.) If you know you need to Reconnect with you and your body, please join us. It’s going to be a profoundly amazing day. Simply email me and we’ll get you in.
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