This post was written by me about 8 months ago but I wasn’t feeling the greatest at the time and never posted it. I’m posting it now because I still want to share, but at the same time I don’t feel like making it into a better post. And now that you’re super excited to read it…
So one time this lady wrote a blog post (or maybe it’s just an excerpt from her book?) that said pretty much the same thing that I was trying to say in a recent blog post, but she said it better. I’m attributing most of the differences between our posts to our respective states of mind at the time each post was written. You see, I had recently been on Facebook and had read what proved to be that one-status-update-too-many status update in which a grown, accomplished woman made fun of her body again. On Facebook. In front of her high school classmates, cousins that she really likes but never really talks to, and, most importantly, young girls who look up to her. So I took about five minutes, got some feelings off my chest, and posted my complaints. Conversely, I bet this writer put like, time and thought and stuff into her piece, and it shows!
Enough apologizing for my slapdash post. Here are some excerpts from the post you should really go read*:
Meanwhile, the culture that tells women our primary value is in our physical bodies is older than dirt. Centuries and centuries old. So it’s not like it just went poof as soon as we got The Pill. It’s all still in us … it just went underground, and its best protection lies in the fact that we don’t want to cop to it. We don’t want to think that way anymore. But we still kinda do.
How do I know this? I use my eyes! To look around! And I see children with descriptors like “hot” and “juicy” emblazoned on their butts. Young women taking part in a sad, unfulfilling hookup culture even though it doesn’t seem at all fun. More and more completely fine-looking people opting to cut into their flesh in a mad grasp at perfection that generally falls grotesquely short.
All of this is fueled by a strange mixture of narcissism and self-hatred, forged by a media culture whose inherent message is You are what you look like. Before we even know what’s going on, we learn to disembody our perspectives. We start looking at ourselves from the outside in. We begin to evaluate ourselves based on how we think others will respond.
And this, which is the second time in a couple of weeks that I’ve seen a woman make this kind of comment, and which probably deserves a post of its own by someone who can analyze it much better than I can:
I remember being 7 or 8 years old and wondering why no one had tried to molest me yet. Was it because I was fat? My tiny brain toiled to figure it out. I didn’t even know what molesting WAS, but I already knew that my body was supposed to elicit some kind of reaction in other people — that’s what it was FOR — and if that didn’t happen, there must be something wrong with it. And me.
We don’t WANT to be like this, and we certainly don’t want to pass it on to our kids. And yet, we do.
Why? Because we’ve been infiltrated. The patriarchy is coming from inside our heads.
For instance: one afternoon not too long ago, I was hanging out with my friend and her super adorable, totally nommable sweet little baby, who was maybe 6 weeks old. We got a little wistful, as ladies sometimes will when small babies are present, and my friend began to share her hopes for the little one’s future. Happiness … fulfillment … the chance to figure out what she wants and the courage to go get it. All good stuff.
And then: “I know one thing for sure … I’m never going to let her get fat.”
And, oh! My heart, how it shattered! Not only for the wee one, but also for her mom, and for all of us. Because, sweet merciful Jesus, this world has made us ALL SO EFFING CRAZY!!
I had good parents who didn’t emphasize my appearance while I was growing up but some of this stuff still infiltrated my brains because, as stated above, “the patriarchy is coming from inside our heads.” And it’s infiltrating the brains of my nieces and my friends’ precious little girls, even though they all have good parents who are also trying to keep this from their little brains. My first instinct is to take all those little girls (and their brothers too, because this stuff messes them up as well) and move to a hippie commune where they’ll never have to learn about reality TV stars or plastic surgery or Cosmopolitan magazine. But I guess that’s maybe not feasible? At least I’m assuming it’s not feasible since I ran into obstacles about four seconds into planning my little utopia.
I think maybe we just all need to try our best to not be crazy about body/appearance issues so that eventually this thinking will have just withered away from neglect. Yes? Yes. So say we all, etc.
Let me ask you this: 40 years from now, when you and I are rad old ladies cruising around the solar system in extravagant glowy caftans, do you want to hear girls asking Does this jetpack make me look fat? I swear to Mars, I will f****** lose it. I will flip over a table and terrify everyone with my freakish oldster strength. Hold me back!
Enough is enough! I want better for the girls of the future! I want them to live in the clear light of glorious, radiant sanity. To be free to do what they want, unencumbered by the craziness of the past. To experience their bodies as nothing more or less than what they truly are: mind-blowingly cool vehicles for creating and drinking up awesomeness in this world.
*WARNING: Contains adult language