Body Be

January 26, 2010

What the hell? I thought to myself yesterday as I prepared to check out at the craft store, baby William in tow. On the checkout rack was a popular tabloid with the headline "Best Winter Beach Bodies" and a photo of a famous actress and her family strolling the shoreline of some tropical paradise. Really? Have we honestly reached this point in our culture, where women are expected to obsess over their body image all year round?

Oh, right. Silly me.

But that wasn't the worst offender of the day. At the grocery store, another magazine devoted to exploring the alleged intricacies of the never-ending "Bradjennelina" lust triangle trumpeted news of Jennifer Aniston's new "Revenge Body" designed to snag Brad Pitt and turn Angelina Jolie green with if Brad's just sitting around waiting to throw his affections to the woman who can produce the tightest buns.

(It's far likelier that he's a despicable shmuck who has figured out that he can play two women all he wants and get away with it...or that the media is making up the whole thing. But I digress....)

Revenge body? Ok, I'll admit that there might be such a thing. After all, what woman hasn't dreamed of showing up to her high school reunion looking far more fabulous than she did in the 10th grade just to stick it to every guy who ever rejected her? But the implication that an attractive, talented woman would pour all of her energy into producing a lovely body just to catch the eye of a man with flighty intentions is disturbing, disgusting, and just plain wrong in my book. And how many women buy into this load of horse hockey!

Granted, I'm no Jennifer Aniston, especially since just giving birth. I have stretch marks on my thighs and loose skin hanging from my belly. But I still have reason to like my body. It is mine, after all. And as my husband pointed out, that patch of loose skin is incredibly soft.

There's too much in society that forces women to feel bad about themselves: we're told that we're not sexy enough, smart enough, successful enough, feminine enough, adequate mothers. But women were never meant to be shoehorned into a narrowly defined ideal type. We are much stronger and much more valuable than that.

If you are a woman, take a moment today to celebrate your body, no matter what kind of body you have. Turn a deaf ear to a culture of "revenge bodies" and "winter beach bodies" and know that you are beautiful in your own way.

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