At the core of the ingrained insecurity that so many women feel in regards to their bodies, lies the idea of ownership.
From a young age women are taught that our bodies are not really our own. We’re told this by legitimate news sources, when they feel that it is acceptable to print pictures of a young woman’s labia vulva* for ratings, or devote broadcast hours to the plague of “cankles.“
We’re screamed this message by anti-choice activists and the lawmakers that help them to push forward restriction after restriction all set to remind women that our bodies belong to them once a fetus enters the picture (or even before, when you consider those who fight to hard to restrict the pill.)
We see this when strangers, family, and friends turn a blind eye and rapists are allowed to invade our bodies, without consequence, as the crowd of public opinion quickly jumps in to decipher just what we did to deserve this invasion.
We’re sold this message by companies that push and push to sell us diet pills, spanx, diet plans, diet books, clothing, makeup, lotions… anything, really, to cut us down to size and paint away our uniqueness.
We’re reminded by magazines that tell women who are small to eat a sandwich preferably, I gather, one stolen from a woman deemed too big. Magazines that say eat this, not that and wear this, not that and do this, not that; never content until we’re all eating, wearing, and doing what they’re getting paid to tell us to do.
We’re reminded in whispers by friendly voices sharing secrets. Would you look at her? Who told her that skirt was flattering? Poor girl… she’d be pretty if she just lost/gained a few pounds. We may whisper back but all the while we’re wondering: what do they whisper about me?
We’re reminded even when we’re using our bodies to care for another – as person after person harasses us for breastfeeding in public.
Every day each one of us takes this all in, and yet, we don’t even seem to notice. We wonder why are women do damn obsessed with their bodies? Are they just shallow? Is it genetic? Have they evolved to care more about their bodies? Why doesn’t this happen to men nearly as much? The answer to all of these would be so obvious if we could just take a moment to open our ears and listen to the ever-growing chorus of voices joining together to lay claim and control over other women’s bodies.
[This post is cross-posted over at Fuck Yeah Skinny Chicks, a new blog about body acceptance, so click here to read the rest there!]
* This is why I shouldn’t blog at 3am – I start to forget the proper words for things!