"The body never lies." --Martha Grahm.
This blog is intended to be an exploration of what it is to have a body and navigate that relationship with said possession through mortality, society, and spirituality. It will include research, articles, pictures, quotes, personal stories, videos, insights, poems, monologues, letters, jokes, recipes, confessions, ETC. Hopefully in reading this you find connection, sincerity, and heart. Healing is possible. Living is the reward. Contribute!
Monday, May 21, 2012
gchat conversation with C about women and men and conversations about body image and beauty
me: It's okay. It was a good experience.
5:26 PM hey--have you checked out the body blog at all? (or even heard of it? I know you're so busy...)
5:29 PM C: Is it the one you've been posting on Facebook?
5:30 PM me: yupperz
C: I haven't been to it yet, but I've seen your posts
5:39 PM C: Yeah, I worry about girls' perception of their bodies but the overall message I get is "don't bring it up because if a girl has a problem, talking about it with you isn't going to help"
me: I think these posts (so far) can be valuable to anyone who interacts with women or who might one day be the father of a daughter. Also, I'd like to find a way to make it more directly related to men--find a way to get somem ale authors.
I'm sorry that's the impression you've gotten
that kills me.
I think it would be SO HEALTHY for women to have an open dialogue about these things with men.
and for men to have it with women.
5:40 PM I think it could be very, very healing on both ends.
5:41 PM C: Yeah, but would it really help if I brought up eating disorders with a girl who has one?
5:42 PM me: of course!
do you know a girl who has one?
i mean, obviously it depends on who, and in what context.
but I think about when I had my eating disorder, and how healing it was/would have been for men I trusted to speak openly with me about it.
5:43 PM C: Would you have believed them?
me: in what sense? Their sincerity?
5:44 PM (this conversation we are having right now is VERY interesting to me, especially if it is repesentative of how other men feel)
5:45 PM C: Yeah, like would you have believed a guy talking to you about how he perceived your body if you had an eating disorder?
5:46 PM me: hmmm...give me an example because I feel like you're referring to something specific. You don't have to use names, etc.
5:47 PM C: Oh, I'm not
5:48 PM Well, I guess I'm talking from a High School Health class that I took
(that's the last time I talked about eating disorders in a big way)
5:49 PM The sense I got was that talking about a girl's body to her would only insight more of a problem
5:50 PM It didn't matter if what I was saying was true or not, it was just better to not talk about their bodies than to say positive things
me: well. Here's what's true. Words DO contain a lot of power, and I understand the need to play it safe out of fear of doing greater damage.
5:51 PM But these things are already on the mind. ESPECIALLY on the mind of a girl with an eating disorder.
She's being talked to every day by imaginary voices coming from imaginary men. (they actually come from diet and fashion industries, but you get the point)
5:52 PM These voices tell her that how she looks means EVERYTHING.
That she isn't thin enough, her boobs aren't big enough, her stomach isn't flat enough, her hair isn't smooth enough, her skin isn't clear enough, and the list goes on.
5:53 PM That all men fear that the women they date/marry/etc. will gain weight, get wrinkles, will have soft bodies post-pregnancy, etc. and as soon as this happens the men that loved them will leave them for someone younger, firmer, smoother.
THIS ISN'T TRUE (Am I right?)
5:54 PM I'm not denying a need to feel physically attracted to the opposite gender.
I can see your point
me: but the qualifications for attraction aren't so streamlined.
5:55 PM And love (I pray and hope) is not so shallow as the state, qualilty, size, and age of a woman's body parts.
what women need
is more conversations with real men.
we don't know how you feel about our bodies both in general and specifically.
and I could be wrong
but I get the feeling that the truth (how you really feel) is far less frightening than what we fear.
5:57 PM C: That's true!
I love women.
And their bodies.
Just in general.
5:58 PM me: Right. And think about the girls you've dated. I doubted you thought to yourself "Gosh...I wish this part of her body was just a little more/less ___."
it was probably more along the lines of "Gosh! I love this girl!"
That's a total media scam
me: But C. WE ALL BUY INTO IT.
at some point or another and to varying degrees. but yes. even the very wise.
5:59 PM C: Well, how do I get you guys to come to my store and buy my opinion?
me: share it. We'll take it! We just don't know it exists, and sometimes we're afraid to ask.
6:00 PM Also, in regards to women you don't have a crush on, you can still share affirming thoughts and words.
I think both sides would be surprised in this conversation. I think you'd be surprised how much we want to have it with you. And I think we'd be surprised at what you have to say.
6:01 PM C: Huh
I want to have that conversation more, now
me: here. Let me give you an example. You may or may not remember this, but I know you were in the room.
it was right before I left Utah.
C: I remember it.
me: Do you?
6:02 PM when I was expressing frustrations about my body and how I felt it kept men from giving me a chance, etc?
and then S piped up. S didn't say "Dana! I think you're smokin' and I have a crush on you!"
6:03 PM he said "Dana, those guys are shallow. The last girl I dated was around your size or bigger, and I thought she was beautiful."
Are guys who date skinny girls necessarily shallow? No. Was S professing his undying love for me in affirmation? No.
S gave to me something that I didn't know he had, and in the moment, didn't believe that the male gender could possibly possess.
6:04 PM the capacity to find beauty in a woman larger than a size 8.
That was SO HEALING. I wrote it in my journal and think of it often.
C: That's good.
Know what else/
Most of us don't even know what 'size 8' means.
Nor do we care.
6:05 PM This is super fascinating for me.
6:06 PM me: I think about when I had my eating disorder--I had conversations like that from time to time. They were few and far between, but they were heaven-sent. And though they didn't cure me overnight, they contributed greatly to the healing process.
We need and crave real conversations with real men.
about these topics
but we fear it is as uncomfortable for you as you fear it is for us.
6:07 PM C: Yeah
is a really good point
me: I just imagine a world where fathers could have these kinds of conversations regularly with their daughters.
C: "but we fear it is as uncomfortable for you as you fear it is for us."
me: Can I give you a challenge, C?
6:08 PM It's Monday. First day of the working week. Can you try and have a conversation about bodies/body image with a woman in your life this week?
she can be a crush or just a friend. It doesn't matter.
(and this doesn't count :) )
6:12 PM C: YEah, sure
me: Will you? I will ask you how it went if you don't get back to me before then.
Maybe you should write down some questions you'd like to ask.
6:13 PM Ways to start the conversation.
And then just be a good listener. I'm really curious to hear her reaction and your experience.
6:15 PM Also...would you mind if I shared this conversation on the blog? I can take out your name if you like.
6:18 PM C: Yeah, go for it.
That's actually what I was thinking.
This is how you can get guys interested
me: right! :) Okay. So, I want you to have that conversation, (hell! have a few if you ilke!) and I want you to write about it. It only need be a page.