I’m growing. In unexpected ways.
There are a few things that I have done in the past little while which I swore I would never do. Here is a list:
1. Eat a Rotton Egg Jellybean.
2. Buy a bikini
3. Live in a basement
4. Like Martha Stewart
5. Fall in love with the Oprah Magazine.
Number 5 surprises me the most. I’m not a big Oprah fan, but her magazine, I would like to tell everybody, is stellar. Very good content, inspirational stories, thinkpieces, serious consideration of women and equality issues. I highly recommend it. The only thing I don’t like is the cover. Oh, and there is a certain amount of inconsistency with some of the articles . . . Such as having a story on body self-hatred which attacks society and corporate media for “decree(ing) what we should look like," when 15 pages later it has a section called “How Not to Look Fat in a Swimsuit.” Hmm . . .
Anyway, I have copied a section of the article which has impacted my life. Copyright info is below. Please don’t sue me, Oprah.
“Body hatred has been defined as a personal problem. But it is a social problem, a poilitical problem, a cultural problem. It is not accidental or incidental. It is induced, injected, and programmed. We Americans like to tell ourselves we are free, but we are imprisioned. We are controlled by a corporate media that decrees what we should look like and then determines what we have to buy in order to get and keep that look. We are controlled by our mother’s idea of how we are supposed to look, and our father’s idea. We are controlled by other women’s ideas. . . .
The antidote to body hatred is social activism and community. None of us alone is strong enough to stand up to the daily onslaught of propaganda, imagery, programming, seduction, and mind control. But as a group we can shift and lift the tyranny. Resisting this ideology requires support. It requires a movement. No diet, no surgery will fix the problem. It is collective, pervasive, and ongoing.
Hating one’s body is an all-consuming occupation and a dangerous distraction. It is an addiction. As we spend our days focusing on our thighs and butts, thousands die in Iraq, 37 million live below the poverty line in America, more rivers become polluted, more civil liberties disappear, more rights for women are being erased. In our isolated pursuit of thinness or the perfect body, we give up our power, our vision, our rights. We abandon a world that is in desperate need of our attention.”
- Eve Ensler, “Belly Dancing,” Oprah June 2006 216-218
I think it is revolutionary to state that “the antidote to body hatred is social activism and community.” However, I am not sure if that is correct. I am all about focusing not on our bodies, but on our community and helping the oppressed and downtrodden. However, is this a permanent solution to this particular body hatred problem? I think that it can only serve as a distraction to the problem, as it does not address the real issues involved here, including our society’s obsession with physical beauty or manipulation by the media at large.