Wednesday, February 17, 2021

More Than a Body

I've been there: the shameful feeling of being the only female in the family gathering that didn't get a 'you look so cute, today!' response that is so typical when a woman just walks into a room. I've been known to squeeze my tummy tighter, profess to keep clothes once I got skinnier, compared myself to sisters and IG friends, desperately wished different things about my body or hair, fixed up my hair before I did a Marco Polo video (or delete halfway through because I couldn't stand the way I look-just did it the other day!) and the list goes on and on. 

But here I was thinking that I knew what the book More Than a Body book would be about. It would basically sum itself up by saying, 'just think positively about your body.' This book blew my mind, though. "Regardless of how the definition of beauty expands, it's still being reinforced as the most important thing about us. A more effective approach to healing our body image issues needs to reflect the understanding that focusing on the appearance of our is the problem." -p. 8 

I love when a book completely changes my thinking and heightens my senses around the issue that they just stated: that we've made women's bodies the most important thing about them. Just in the last week I've heard so many different comments that reinforce this. 

At the park I overheard a nanny, probably in her twenties, say to the eight or nine year old, "don't scrunch your face, you'll get wrinkles." I've heard others jokingly make comments about their unapproved stomachs, or others praise a new mom that looks amazing after having a baby. And this one on instagram really was interesting. She has almost a million followers and she had a photo of Stacey Plaskett, one of the House managers for the impeachment trial, on a post with this caption: 

Not the focus I know but Impeachment Manager

@stacey_plaskett is defending our democracy while looking SO FLY IN A LITERAL CAPE DRESS

Part of me was like, so if she wasn't looking 'so fly' then it wouldn't validate what an amazing job she did? Why couldn't Stacey's searing testimony and compelling arguments be the focus rather than what she looked like? 

"We want people to feel good about themselves, including about their appearance. But what we really want people to know is: Regardless of how you look, or how you think you look, you can feel about about yourself because you are not your appearance. Your beautify is not your life's work. You don't have to be beautiful. As blogger Erin McKean wrote at her site, A Dress a Day, "Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'" -p. 99 I want to give a big AMEN to that. 

I say all of these things but this is the journey of a long uphill climb. It's going to take a lot of shift thinking because this idea has been so engrained in culture and my beliefs of how as a woman I should appear. And thinking that it matters. 

Their discussion on dress codes was fascinating and already spurred some thoughts about why women choose to wear pants to church. This is not something they addressed but something I made a connection on my own. I can see how some view it as a comfortable thing rather than a feminist move. And since our dress codes are so specific for women, even in the church, why are we upset that women wear pants to church? By golly, it covers the legs, people if that's what you're worried about! But really that whole section turned my head upside down.

But in all seriousness this is a book that I want every women to read. So much to unpack and I want to discuss it with someone so please read it!


  1. Wow! What a powerful book! I want to read it! I'm guilty of doing all those things mentioned. Those beliefs are certainly engrained in our culture. I want to think better and do better. It's it still OK if I say you are radiately beautiful on the inside and outside? Love you.

  2. Sounds like a life changing book. I am going to need to read this.