While I don’t know who is the star in this vintage photograph, I like to think we all have star costumes we’re embodying.
Back in 1998 the National Organization for Women initiated an annual Love Your Body celebration “to raise awareness about women’s health issues, protest harmful and offensive advertisements, and promote the importance of positive body images for women and girls.”
I was surprised to discover that there is no posted celebration date listed for 2015. On one hand I understand – given our current political and social atmosphere there really are so many URGENT issues affecting women’s lives and rights that need attention.
And yet the truth is, the love-your-body issue is far from adequately resolved, and I think at the very least it deserves some considered and focused thought. Which is why I tend to write a yearly blog post around this time. It’s certainly not a one-and-done think about it kind of issue – it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. Considering less than five percent of women naturally possess the body portrayed as ideal in advertisements, and 50 percent of three to six year old girls are afraid of being fat, I’d say there’s still a long way to go with this issue even all these years later.
I’m a woman of substance and I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of less-than-loving-kindness throughout my life, even surprisingly from some of those who ought and usually do know better. And so as a gentle reminder, even if you think you don’t need reminding, I encourage you to be conscious of the ways you hold judgment and to speak only lovingly to other human beings no matter what their body looks like. None of us deserves anything less. We are ALL beautiful.
I find it interesting and amusing that preferred body types have changed radically. Of course it depends on culture and society, but here’s an interesting infographic showing how body type ideals have changed in America over the last 100 years.
I think it can be really helpful to remember this – that preferences can be artificially manipulated and then subtly and not-subtly “endorsed.” Remembering this can help loosen the hold of expected standards because you can look at them and laugh when you realize how crazy and tied-to-nothing these things really are.
Chantelle Winnie Harlow with vitiligo and Patience Hodgson with Klippel Trenaway Sydrome are brilliant examples of what it’s like to be comfortable in your own skin, and paving the way for expanded views of what’s beautiful.
And while I’m a strong advocate for everyone having the right to do what they choose with their own body, I totally love what Marilyn Monroe had to say:
“I want to grow old without facelifts. I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I have made.”
There are so many reasons to love our bodies, not the least of which this is how we carry our light. I had to smile that just this week this song appeared on my radar: Elijah and the Band of Light’s It’s Nice to Have a Body.
Another fabulous reason to love your body is the possibility to adorn it anyway that delights you. I have a journal I call my Secret Closet and in it are various costumes and adornments that delight me. I’ve mentioned before that I like Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia and Free Will astrologist, and this week my horoscope read:
“We humans have put buttons on clothing for seven millennia. But for a long time these small knobs and disks were purely ornamental — meant to add beauty but not serve any other function. That changed in the 13th century, when our ancestors finally got around to inventing buttonholes. Buttons could then serve an additional purpose, providing a convenient way to fasten garments. I foresee the possibility of a comparable evolution in your personal life, Cancerian. You have an opening to dream up further uses for elements that have previously been one-dimensional. Brainstorm about how you might expand the value of familiar things.”
That really delights me for all sorts of reason. I love the invitation to think outside the box, but I also love the reference to buttons as I happen to be quite enamored of them – collecting them and using them in various art expressions. So of course, I had to do a journal page.
On the back of the body is written the quote from poet Joy Harjo:
“I am not afraid of love or its consequences of light.”
Amen to that!
And there you have it, my celebration of Love Your Body. What do you think? What are you celebrating? What are your favorite adornments? Do you have a Secret Closet? Do tell – you know I love to hear.