Some like it odd

of, Elizabeth Sioux se blog

Friday, 26 August 2011

"Can anybody...?" Musings on the body by somebody with a bigger body.

My creative writing lecturer mentioned to me, concerning my short story about a mortician who transforms into a cat, that the body in which we find ourselves has a major impact on the way in which we operate and the way we are. It sounds simple enough, but the more I think about it the more interesting it gets. Wikipedia's definition of Body image says:
Body image refers to a person's perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of their own body. [...] Human society has at all times placed great value on beauty of the human body, but a person's perception of their own body may not correspond to society's standards.
Okay, so most importantly, I conclude from this that it does not make me super superficial for placing so much value on my appearance, as other people do this too. I see the way we look as the only physical projection of ourselves into the world and you can not picture someone or think of someone you know without thinking of their face and along with that the way you experience them. Then, your own perception of your body is very important as it affects the way you navigate through life, what you decide you can and can't do (for example, I don't feel good in sportswear and this was the main factor I detested doing sports in school) and who you think you can or can't be with (the sexual attractiveness factor). It is my competitive nature to compare myself with others, I assume we all do it, and this is the mental framework of "normal", "attractive" and other catagories of seeing the body (or body parts) everyone creates for themselves. Through this framework we then, for the most part, unconsciously assess (judge is such a harsh word) ourselves and others' appearance and bodies. Appearance goes far beyond the body, but for this blog I just want to reflect on my idea of our perceptions of our own bodies.

As we evaluate everything we see and experience, then the way we evaluate our bodies is amplified because here our consciousness is rooted in a physical being that we see everyday and we are (hyper) aware of the way in which others see our bodies. It is unfair as we do not choose the body we got, we can only change it, and the deterioration of the body is inevitable. Scars happen. Accidents happen. Some sicknesses' affects on the appearance of the body will stay with you till you die. Emotional experiences, especially traumatic ones, can also affect body image. It really is a rather unfair situation to be in a body.

This brings me to the much more optimistic goal of these musings: "a person's perception of their own body may not correspond to society's standards". This means you can be the model-looking type and still be miserable about the way you look or you can decide to take control of your thoughts. I say this like it is easy, but it is something you learn as you mature: others do not care as much about you as you think and all the negative thoughts about your body have no purpose or value. Quite the opposite.

So...I have decided to enjoy my body as it is fully functional, healthy and I will accept it and love it. Yes, it is bigger than most girls', but I will not let this shape (erm...) the way I think about myself anymore. And, here it might get a bit extreme for sensitive minds, I will not groom myself if I don't feel like it just because society expects me to look a certain way. I simply do not share this fear of body hair. Or girls with big hips. Or bad tattoos. Or crazy hair. Or girly men.

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