There is so much to this topic that I could write a never-ending series about body dogma, and I’m not even sure I’m going to do it justice here. I also can’t begin to explain what a big problem my body issues were, so this is a charged issue for me. I really suffered from my teen years through to my late 20’s with deep self-hate and was unable to feel good about my body in any way. My body dysmorphia ruined holidays, events, and relationships. After 4 years of deep work around this issue specifically, I have finally accepted my body. I’m mostly able to hold that space, although its tough in today’s world.
My generation had the great fortune of being told we were free to do whatever we wanted (reach for the stars!), alongside watching Pam Anderson run down the beach in that red swimsuit.
What I learned from all of this is that double-sided tape works, people from California do not generate body hair, and women are still not free.
So, here it goes – a short list of
all some of the things I hate about body dogma.
SHAPE/SIZE/LOOKS BODY DOGMA
The first obvious dogma about our bodies is the idea that it needs to look a certain way in order to be loved. This is just complete bullshit and it has affected women everywhere. You are complete exactly as you are, with no need to be thinner, curvier, sexier, whiter, tanner, or whatever it is you have in your head that you think would make you more appealing.
Firstly, because the people who care about you really don’t care how you look. And if they do – fuck those people. Get new people, stat.
Secondly, because this kind of thinking will just keep you in a stuck place emotionally, continually attracting people to fill up the void you have inside. Relationships built up on co-dependency are going nowhere: you’re in love with how they make you feel, not who they are. That may work for a while, but it won’t work forever, and when it stops working everything tends to go down in flames. Trust me on this one, I did this MANY TIMES. (#AbandonShip #MayDay)
The only way to get through this dogma is to start doing deep work on yourself and have a crew of people who love you just the way you are. Step to it sweet cheeks, because you’ve got one body and one life, and you’re completely worth the time and money required to create radical self-love.
FAUX-SPIRITUAL, BODY-SUPERIOR SNOBBERY BODY DOGMA
The second dogma that drives me crazy is the current faux-spiritual body and food dogma. This includes
but is not limited to:
- eliminating entire food groups in pursuit of ‘clean eating’ instead of an actual known intolerance (gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar are the natural suspects here);
- claiming that your way of eating is more superior or more ‘natural’ than another way (Paleoh-no);
- trying to bully or shame people into your way of eating;
- purporting that there is a spiritual benefit by eating one way or another (there is not, so get over yourself);
- orthorexic eating habits which others applaud and call healthy;
- ‘health’ practices which are only about vanity and not at all about how you actually feel;
- trying to convince genuinely ill people that your eating methods could cure them, if but they would only try;
- shame-tastic ‘fitspo’ memes (I.E. What’s your excuse?);
- giving a shit about what other people eat.
Think about this just for a second – why do you even care what another human puts in their body as food? Why is it your business? I’m all for eating fresh foods one day and then smashing a cheeseburger to dust particles the next, but those are my choices, not yours.
The most ill I have ever been is when I pursued the meme-tastic ‘clean eating’ trends: I stopped eating dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. I made my own green juices and stuffed myself full of chia seeds at every opportunity.
My periods stopped, my breasts disappeared, I had severe digestive issues and migraines. Eat for how you feel, and nothing else.
If you want to read more about this, I highly recommend Go Kaleo, a fabulous blogger who writes super intelligently and much more in-depth about most of the above topics.
FAUX-SCIENCE QUACKERY BODY DOGMA
The third dogma I hate is faux-biology/anthropology dogma. “The women who men find most attractive are ones with a hip-to-waist ratio of blah-blah-blah because of bullshit faux-science reason that is clearly no longer applicable and might never have been”. Millions of women crack out measuring tapes, obsessively measuring and re-measuring themselves to make sure that they fit the model of beauty (I have done this, I know!). This stuff I really hate. The only thing I hate more is the BMI system, because it defines and sets measurable limits to people’s darkest fears. If someone thinks they are a little overweight and the screwy, inaccurate BMI system tells them they are obese, what is the outcome? Do we genuinely think anyone is going to start losing weight with determination because a chart told them to?
Shaming of any kind never works. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get someone to lose weight, leave a dysfunctional relationship or make another type of life change. Shame will just get them more stuck.
FAUX-SURVEY HACKERY BODY DOGMA
73% of men walking down the street in one tiny homogeneously dull remote corner of the world on a rainy day, which meant we didn’t get exactly the number of respondents required to form a data set, but that was okay because we asked a few interns in our office too, think that Kelly Brook has the ideal body shape.
What in holy mother of God? Ideal for what exactly? Not for fun, or love, or chatting, or acing an exam, or studying Physics, or lifting weights, or ice cream in the park, or walking your dogs when you have the flu, or swimming in the ocean while the sun sets, and certainly not for reading from a teleprompter (sorry Kelly, you are gorgeous, but you get my point).
All bodies can do those things perfectly fine, thank you very much, so take your ‘ideal’ and stuff it.
FAUX-HELPFUL SHIT-STIRRERS BODY DOGMA
The fourth body dogma I hate is super sneaky as its perpetuated by people who are trying to convince you that they are helping you. I’m talking about crappy wannabe self-help morons that sell body-semi-shame in pretty pink packages. This
looks like: ‘Don’t wear polka dots if you’re large and lovely!’; ‘Delicious divas with a bit more bass will want to avoid this style.” Find the bathing suit for your body type! See how to wear wide leg jeans, at any age!
Guess what: if you have a body, you can cover it or uncover it as much as you damn well please and in any print, pattern, shape or colour you fancy. You won’t hear a peep from me or anyone that still has two firing synapses, because it is not our damn business.
And that is quite frankly all I have to say about that (for now).
What about you? Does this stuff get you stirred up to? Anything I miss? Tell me below.