Monday, October 19, 2009

Love Your Body Day

Tomorrow is Love Your Body Day, a campaign started by the National Organization for Women (NOW). From their website:

Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make each of us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement. Print ads and television commercials reduce us to body parts — lips, legs, breasts — airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. TV shows tell women and teenage girls that cosmetic surgery is good for self-esteem. Is it any wonder that 80% of U.S. women are dissatisfied with their appearance?

Women and girls spend billions of dollars every year on cosmetics, fashion, magazines and diet aids. These industries can't use negative images to sell their products without our assistance.

Through a combination of learning to love myself and starting to do yoga, I recently got over all my body issues (SHOCK!) and promptly forgot how devastating and crippling they can be to one's emotional well-being. What reminded me was the following series of events:

I watched the first 10-15 minutes of Shoot 'Em Up, expecting a ridiculous romp and a good time and instead was absolutely disgusted with how a woman was portrayed as a helpless victim right from the bat. A pregnant woman is "helped" to give birth in the most brutal way possible - so brutal it it more like a rape scene - then is shown with her breasts exposed only after she has died and then is treated even MORE like an object than when she was alive.

I got so mad about this and the way women are constantly being shown as weak little things who can't do a thing without a MAN to help them when I know from life experience that women are two times more likely than men to get things done, are incredibly strong and resilient and can fucking take care of themselves.

I determined to use this anger in a constructive way and so decided to create an army of breastplates called "The Amazons" to help women feel empowered and to celebrate the amazing uniqueness of our bodies. Borrowing from the idea of giving pregnant women belly casts, this would be along the same lines, except not necessarily including the stomach and I wanted to make these look like armor.

My first experiment with casting was on myself.
It's much easier (and less messy) to do others'!

Once I started trying to recruit women to this, I was just how much most women loathe their bodies. I heard more self-deprecating remarks in response to this than I have heard since I was a teenager in a bathroom with a bunch of other teenage girls. Most of these started off with the statement "I hate [insert body part here]." It made me so sad because I then, of course, remembered how fucking awful it felt to feel at war with my body all the time and to be so disgusted with everything the mirror showed me.

So today, ladies, plan now to do something tomorrow that shows your body love. Take a nice long soak in the tub, bust a move to your favorite tunes, get a special someone to massage your back or self-massage your hands and feet. Whatever will show your body love and make you feel good!

Also, if you want to love your body more in general, try to expose yourself to less crap that tells you how to be "the perfect woman." Perfection doesn't exist as a cookie cutter life or body. Perfection exists only in honing your skills and talents and body into the best version you can. That's it. When you ignore what you're "supposed" to be/look/act like, it's much easier to simply be yourself and be happy with it.

And, if you're interested in being cast for "The Amazons" let me know! ^_^ I'm trying to get a range of women of all ages and sizes. So far I mostly have women in their late 20s. The women who have done it say it makes them feel like super heroes. You know you'd love that!

Related posts:

Weight, Honesty and Obesity in the USA

Happy "Women's Equality Day"?

How To Develop Your "Look"

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JOCOeveryman said...

We did a project like this in college in the art program. Yes, believe it or not....I was an art student but decided I wasn't angry enough about anything to be a good artist :-)

Anyway....we did castings like that but not exclusive to one body part. They just picked their least favorite.

You probably already know this but we learned that Vaseline before the casting helps it come off easier and doing more that you need and trimming the casting back makes for a better finished product. Feels awesome on your skin doesn't it?

Anyway.....pretty cool idea. It would also be a cool exhibit if you have like a hundred of them.

May said...

Happily, most of my art projects aren't grown out of anger, but sometimes it helps.

I have been using body oil before casting. Works great!

It is definitely my intention to exhibit them when I've got a big army going :)

JOCOeveryman said...

well let me know when that happens. I would come and see it.

May said...

Will do :)

Jessica said...

I would love to volunteer for this. I have always wanted to do a casting of me. I like my body and I try to take care of it as much as possible.
You are right about how negative women are about their bodies. It is really sad, because I'm pretty sure it has to do with self esteem and/or other issues.
I really miss you and hope to see you soon! When I come to see you next I will let you cast me up! LOL Bye sweetie!