Last night I went to see Embrace, a film on the body image of women. The film created by Taryn Brumfitt could not have a stronger message. Taryn has become famous for posting a slightly different “before and after” picture on Facebook. While she received lots and lots of overwhelming, positive feedback, some people also proved why the discussion around the whole body image topic is now more important than ever. Not too few comments focused on the alleged imperfection of her body. Basically people told her to stop making excuses, that you can have top model shape after giving birth to three children, that it was only a question of willpower. More shockingly, however, some people took their criticism to a whole new level. They pitied Taryn’s husband for being “betrayed”, they valued her body in terms of fuckability and one even went so far to say that he would need a few beers to be able to sleep with her. Not that anyone asked. (And btw: Has it ever occurred to those guys out there that not every woman wants to be fucked by them? Excuse the crude language, but hell, was I angry when I saw those comments in the film.)
Why anyone would look at a picture of a person, evaluate their body and then post a comment under it on social media is beyond me, but given the fact that there people are constantly evaluating, commenting on and criticizing other people’s looks it seems to be a far too common sight. This constant comparison of real people’s bodies with photoshopped images of the bodies of far-below-average thin people is ridiculous and it seriously has to stop right now. First, this whole comparison business has to end. People are different. We all know that. If you are unable to grasp the concept of difference you might as well move to North Korea effective immediately. Second, women have to be represented realistically. If we continue to be represented by photoshopped size zero models we have no chance of ever developing a positive attitude towards our looks, our bodies, our selves. We are real people and we want, we need and we demand that the media stop photoshopping the last bit of reality out of already unrealistic representatives of our sex. Just use real people and stop the whole editing shit – people will still look at your pictures (I kind of refuse to call them photos), because we also haven’t stopped looking at real women on the streets as far as I know.
I truly hope one day – and that’s one day very soon – the media and with it the people will stop talking about looks and will start to focus on personality. Because that is what matters. As a teacher I interact with quite a lot of people on a daily basis, not with bodies, with people. People who have bodies, but are far more than their bodies. And, believe it or not, whether a student is small, tall, petite or big, whether he/she conforms to the most recent beauty norm or not – it just doesn’t matter for our interaction. What does matter however, is their personality, their way of treating people, their way of showing respect towards their fellow human beings, their environment, their self-confidence, their ambition, their friendships, emotions… in short, their character, their personality.
But until that day, until we achieve this goal, I think we women have to build up some form of resilience. We have to stick together and learn to not let all these pictures, these images, comments and derogatory looks take us down. I know it should not be the task of the victim to just get less vulnerable. However, until that one day it might make daily life with our wonderfully imperfect bodies easier to just learn to embrace our bodies, to embrace life as it comes.
For me, this was the most powerful message of embrace: Embrace your body, embrace your life. Live it to the fullest and just don’t give a damn what other/the media tell you about how you should live your life, how you should evaluate yourself and how much self-worth and self-confidence you should have. ❤
This message resonated with me so much I just needed to share this here. I spared you any details about my yet to be completed journey to full appreciation of my body. I might save that for another post. We’ll see, we’ll see… 🙂