When I started SOAM, my hope was to change what our view of normal is when it comes to the bodies of women, particularly mothers. Our current view is held only within our culture. When you look at humans from an evolutionary point of view, you would never imagine that tribal women, untouched by our culture, would ever question the way their bodies change after having children. Watching the movie Babies reinforced that idea for me. Those mamas in Africa were completely comfortable with what we aren’t. I have even seen the bodies of other mammals change after having babies. So, when it comes to the entire course of human history, our need to look a particular way seems very small, very abnormal. My hope, then, my work here, is to help get us back to understanding and accepting what is normal. What I want for future generations is for body image issues to be such a foreign topic that no one ever even considers that their body should be anything but what it is. That it becomes a non-topic.
My personal feeling is that in most cases, fixing the problem of body hate, is an internal one. Body image issues are generally a symptom of deeper self-image problems. I know that when I was younger I always believed that if I just lost x amount of weight I’d be much happier. But once there, I didn’t feel any different, actually. I was still hoping for that magic moment. I think this is true of most women. As it turns out, the magic is there within you all the time, you just don’t notice because everywhere you turn there’s another advertisement for a way to fix your problem. Of course, the most sure way to fully fix everything is to do the work; wander the forest, defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, discover that what you’ve been following is really just a little man behind a curtain. You already have the magic. The joy in this path is that you’ve learned so much more about yourself, about the world, about humanity, and about beauty.
For women who are otherwise comfortable with themselves, perhaps body image issues are tied to society’s habit of fat-shaming. The other side of the media-driven frenzy to look a particular way is that anyone who doesn’t look that particular way gets shamed. People who are overweight are considered to be lazy or slow. It isn’t exclusive to fat people, though, skinny women are often accused of having eating disorders. What fat- (and thin-)shaming is, is judgement based solely on looks. No one except a person and perhaps his or her health care provider can know for sure why that person weighs as much as he or she does.
Now that’s a long introduction to my actual intent here because what I’m about to say could easily be taken the wrong way. So before I go on, please understand that I really and truly do not judge anyone their choices. I don’t live your life, so how can I possibly know the right choice for you? So if you have made a choice that is different from the choices I, personally, would have made, please don’t feel like I think you did it wrong. Have confidence in your choice; I support you.
I have such a hard time with the tummy tuck posts. I never know if I should share them at all. I do it because I want every woman to have a voice. But I feel like posting them is condoning them and I don’t want to do that. Largely because I don’t think it solves the problem 99% of the time, partly because I wish more women would stand together against the bullshit ideals we’re supposed to live up to, and another, very significant part, is because I have a friend whose mother died during a tummy tuck. So it hits home.
So I’m asking you, the readers, what are your thoughts? Does allowing tummy tuck posts condone them? If so, is that right or wrong? Should I post them here or not? Why? Let me know in the comments below.
PS. I will post all comments unless they are inflammatory, or attack either side of the issue.