Today is Love Your Body Day.
In 1998 the National Organization of Women founded Love Your Body Day as “a day of action to speak out against ads and images of women that are offensive, dangerous and disrespectful.”
“Every day the beauty industry and media tell women and girls that being admired, envied, and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. They provide them with a beauty template that is narrow, unrealistic, and most importantly ingrained into their brains leaving any woman who does not fit this template feeling inadequate.”
In the almost 20 years since the first campaign while I think ad images have perhaps changed somewhat in being less blatant, I’m not altogether sure the messages aren’t simply more insidious and less obvious. There certainly hasn’t been the societal change one would hope for in 20 years of activism.
But I do hope at an individual level we’re all doing a better job.
I always feel like I’m in an odd position with this. As a woman of substance I clearly don’t make the cut for the prescribed norms of beauty. And there have been some really hurtful experiences around this over the years. And plenty of body non-love. I truly hope that at this point in my life I’m over that. I love so much about myself and my life, it feels kind of a shame to just tolerate my body as a given. Body acceptance isn’t necessarily body love. So from that perspective I have some shifting to do.
But from the spiritual perspective it feels like I’m in a different place altogether. I come across so many people on a spiritual path who consider the body a burden.
In some respects I think the well-known and bandied about quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”
contributes to this.
I prefer to believe the body is key to our experience here – that we chose this embodied experience precisely so we COULD experience the individuated point of focus a body gives us. And so in that respect our bodies are key and equal partners and co-creators in this experience and way way way more important than we often given them credit for. And most certainly deserving our love and appreciation.
I love what Mary Oliver has to say:
“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.”
And I love Kal Barteski’s body positive messaging for this women’s health clinic. I’d love to see this showing up in every neighborhood everywhere.
Here’s a peek at a journal page I did.
I kind of like my yarn trim hair in all its fushia and blue glory. I may need to try to replicate that on my head. On the page, my head folds down so there are some thoughts inscribed under it. And the body lifts up. You can see a peek of the envelope I’ve got under there with some journaling folded up in it. And on the top of the envelope I glued a favorite cookie fortune: “carve your name on heart not marble.” I think that’s a fabulous invitation.
Wishing you a most wondrous day and hope you find all manner of delightful ways to love your body, today and always.