The National Organization of Women founded Love Your Body Day in 1998 as a day of action to speak out against ads and images of women that are offensive, dangerous, and disrespectful.
“Every day, in so many ways, the beauty industry (and the media in general) tell women and girls that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty template women are expected to follow is extremely narrow, unrealistic and frequently hazardous to their health. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.”
It’s a rather mind-boggling truth that our media is, in quite an extensive way, such an effective tool for collective programming.
We’re all smart. we all get this. Certainly I don’t need to be preaching this to the dear folks who find their way to reading my posts. And yet the truth is the societal message is so insidious, so prevalent, so always-there-in-your-face it’s clear we as a society still don’t actually get it. We don’t seem to be able to make the leap from this-is-crazy to well let’s-do-something-different. If we did then little girls at ever younger ages wouldn’t be obsessed with weight and dieting. If we did our hearts and souls wouldn’t be hurt when someone said something ridiculous about our worth based on our body. And even more importantly the idea that it was actually okay to both dictate and judge what was beautiful on a one-size-fits-all standard would be seen for what it is – positively ludicrous.
I’ve never been thin. And I have been recipient of comments that have hurt me, and for many years shaped how I felt about myself. I can tell you it’s not a good thing. It’s take-your-breath-away painful when someone you don’t know says something deliberately to hurt you; but it’s sad and hurtful when friends who love you slip into judgment as well without realizing it. That’s why I think it’s so important to be mindful of what we’re saying and what we hold to be true, and to always be curious and willing to confront our prejudices.
But let’s not be narrow in our vision – body judgment isn’t just confined to the realm of size. Judgments are made based on skin color, ethnicity, ageism, disability, gender identification and expression, and so much more. How crazy is that?! And how harmful it is to take these judgments and arbitrary standards and hold them against ourselves. We have to find ways to stop this. Which is why I think it’s important to mark Love Your Body as an opportunity to bring collective awareness to these issues. To honor this invitation to reject fat prejudice, fight body-shaming, reject any kind of body-ism that results in judgment and separation consciousness, and join in the life-changing movement with one step – change the world by loving your body and letting go of judging others.
Bustle has put together a collection of body positive performance poetry selections that’s worth checking out here.
But additionally I have my own agenda to promote with Love Your Body Day. It’s my belief that no matter what our life looks like – no matter how we’re interpreting the individual dramas we’re living – I believe the body is key to our experience. That we chose this embodied experience precisely so we COULD experience the individuated point of focus a body gives us. The vehicle through which we strive to bring as much of our multi-dimensional soul-self through and ground here in co-creation with this beautiful planet. So in that respect our bodies are key and equal partners and co-creators of this experience and far more important than we often give them credit for. And certainly deserving our love and appreciation.
I’m always surprised to find so many on their spiritual path who consider the body a burden.
I’ve always loved Mary Oliver’s take on it:
“Bless the fingers, for they are as darting as fire.
Bless the little hairs of the body, for they are softer than grass.
Bless the hips for they are cunning beyond all other machinery.
Bless the mouth for it is the describer.
Bless the tongue for it is the maker of words.
Bless the eyes, for they are the gifts of the angels, for they tell the truth.
Bless the shoulders for they are a strength and a shelter.
Bless the thumb for when working it has godly grip.
Bless the feet for their knuckles and their modesty.
Bless the spine for it is the whole story.”
I hope you’re celebrating your body today and loving it, and celebrating everyone else’s as well.