Friday, May 12, 2017

All Bodies ARE Good Bodies

Earlier this week, I went to a talk at work on millenials' attitudes about gender. (Sidebar: it was really nice to take in some sociology on my lunch hour!) One part of the talk really stuck with me, particularly since we're in the middle of #WiggleWeek and I've got body acceptance on the brain, so I'm going to air out my thoughts in today's post. Strap yourselves in, people: I'm letting my inner political theorist out to play (at least a little bit)!

The speaker's main premise was that there are four main ways that millenials think about gender, but what grabbed me was her observation that almost all the people she interviewed for her study had a negative body image. Whether they subscribed to traditional gender roles, shunned gendered expectations and norms, or rejected the notion of a gender binary itself, nearly everybody said their body wasn't good enough.

If you'll pardon my language for a moment, this is some serious bullshit. We live in a world where norms about 'good' bodies are so strong that they hold sway in people who have incredibly different views of gender politics. They persist even for people who are able to resist other aspects of the hegemonic discourse around gender. Women who don't subscribe to gendered ideals of beauty nevertheless don't feel their bodies are beautiful. Men who don't accept traditional standards of masculinity still don't feel their bodies are good enough.

This is not ok.

I'm not sure what it says about us as a society that we can't escape this pervasive sense of not-enough-ness. But I know what it means to feel that way: lonely and frightening and paralyzed by insecurity. It feels like contentment and inner calm is always just out of reach. It feels like you need to do more. It feels like buying things you don't need, in the hope of escaping those feelings. It feels awful.


But I've also had glimpses of contentment and feeling good enough, and it's seriously heady stuff. For me, I feel like enough when I focus on who I am and what I do, and just as importantly, when I focus on those aspects of other people rather than pure appearance. Contentment comes to me when I look at someone and think "she's beautiful because she looks so happy" or "because she's keeping her head up and sharing her vulnerabilities to show others that they aren't alone," rather than "because she is thin and has socially-sanctioned curviness."

I guess this is a fancy way of saying that contentment finds me when I search for things to affirm: when I become a Yes-sayer, as a kinder, gentler Friedrich Nietzsche might've put it. And in seeking out people who embody beauty in their words and actions, I'm reminded that beauty isn't in the eye of the beholder, but in the actions of each individual. (Note: Nietzsche would hate where the last sentence just took us. Once again, I don't care.)

So this is where #WiggleWeek comes back into the picture. When I see the photos people have posted, I see people who are actively being beautiful. They're sharing a piece of themselves to be a part of a communal effort to build each other up. And I look at those photos and think yes. All of these are good bodies: they're bodies that bring forth goodness.

pinup girl clothing monster hannah wiggle
PUG monster hannah wiggle

And if you're bringing more goodness into the world, then you have a good body. End of story.

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28 comments:

  1. Damn skippy, lady! I am going to incorporate my wiggle into my review later today :D

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    1. I absolutely loved that post, BTW -- that wiggle was EVERYTHING on you!

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  2. I'm so glad you wrote this post. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that most people, regardless of their differing background, politics, etc., have very negative feelings about their bodies. It's really sad, and it's not acceptable that this is still so prevalent in 2017! We have a long way to go. I'm glad that you are an outspoken body positive messenger!!

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    1. <3 <3 <3 slowly but surely, we'll spread the body-positivity word! Hopefully the next generation will be a little more tolerant of themselves and a little more accepting of their bodies.

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  3. You're gorgeous and thank you for sharing this post! Wrote a post about my own body image previously and I totally agree with everything you've said!

    Jessica | growchangeaccept.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Body acceptance is such an important part of feeling at peace with yourself, and I'm glad you're spreading the word <3!

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  4. Loved this! This is so important so thank you for sharing your thoughts xx

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post!

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  5. As soon as I read the title, I knew this was going to be a great post! It saddens me to think that so many people (including me, unfortunately) still have such a negative body image... Initiatives like #WiggleWeek are so important to help people embrace their bodies just the way they are; and I really love your notion of "if you're bringing more goodness into the world, then you have a good body". Such a lovely post with a wonderful message!

    xoxo
    Freya
    thatgirlyt.wordpress.com

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    1. It's my hope that over time, all these little pieces -- the #WiggleWeeks and Body Positivity Weeks and supportive communities that exist on Insta and Facebook -- will help to erase some of that terrible societal programming. I'm glad you enjoyed this post!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this post I find it hard to embrace my body most of the time but one working on it and I'm sure that this post will help me a lot 💖

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    1. You're a lovely person with a wonderful blog and a lot to offer the world, and I hope you can embrace the body that lets you do all of the things you do!

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  7. Your backgrounds in this post are so awesome.
    I wish someone'd told me this when I was in high school. I honestly thought my body wasn't good enough because I was so skinny. People actually told me that. It's taken me a long time to be able to look in the mirror and not hate what I see.

    x Envy
    verdwaaldinvertaling.blogspot.com

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    1. This mural is right near my apartment and I love it to pieces!

      And I wish someone would've told you this in high school, too. It's awful how some people take their own insecurities and turn it into poison for others :(. But I'm glad you can look in the mirror and not feel that poison any longer <3.

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  8. Oh I love this post, it made me smile - your awesome attitude, positivity, and powerful message! Thanks so much for being your ever-loving self and sharing this!

    Mary Lane @NewYorkCliche
    http://newyorkcliche.com

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    1. I'm so glad this post brought a smile to your face! It's so much easier for me to tackle the world with a positive outlook, and I hope I can spread that word!

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  9. This is a great post and I love how confident you are!
    I really struggle with having a negative body image but it's something I work on everyday
    PaleGirlRambling xo

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    1. Honestly, for me confidence came from focusing on what I do and the things that people actually love me for. Body acceptance came later, but it DID come! Your body lets you do so many amazing things and be part of a community, and you deserve to feel good about yourself! Sending hugs <3.

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  10. This post is so wonderful!
    It really sucks that everyone has so many hang ups about their bodies, but it's not surprising in the image driven world we live in :(
    The message in the post is fantastic.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so much! And I absolutely *hate* how the images that we see most often in the world are so unattainable and unvaried. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that's normal and how it should be!

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  11. This is a really fabulous post - thank you for saying it! And thanks for interspersing it with such great photos of your outfit - I love the red and green together! Kx

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    1. <3 <3! Thank you for your kind words! I tried to shoot this outfit so that it would simultaneously show my body as it actually exists, AND also show that the shape of my body isn't the only thing you see when you see me out in the world. Not sure if it worked, but that's what I aimed for!

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  12. This post is spot on, Emily! I didn't think it was possible to love you and your blog anymore. But this is fabulous, and I completely agree with you. It is, however, quite sad how many people have such a negative view of themselves.

    And you look fabulous! I love this outfit. The colors are perfect! :)

    ~Lindsey

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    1. You are so sweet and I can hardly handle the urge to fan my face with my hand right now. I just wish more people realized that it really, truly is what's on the inside that counts. Oh! And that if you like something, you should wear it, full stop! Both of those realizations made me a much happier person.

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  13. I love how thoughtful you are. And how confident. It's such a powerful thing to love yourself and let others see it! xoxox

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    1. <3 <3 <3 <3!! Lots of time spent commuting by bus = lots of time with my thoughts ;).

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  14. This is such a great post! So glad to see so much confidence and positivity!

    Jessica & James | foodandbaker.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed writing this one!

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