Body talk in the women’s locker room

by Granate Sosnoff on 17th April, 2012

The young woman who started it all simply said: “I wish it didn’t matter to me so much.” “It” being how she felt about her body. She then talked about some pretty amazing accomplishments including making a documentary, getting an award, being accepted by Stanford graduate school, living abroad, climbing Kilimanjaro… But still, on a day-to-day basis, unhappiness with her body trumped achievements and talent.

Uh, argh?

What made the conversation different from the usual self-loathing conversations about bodies and body parts is that she was totally self-aware and dealing.

AND it wasn’t her displeasure with her looks – which most of us have to some degree – it was more the fact that she let it get to her.

I think a lot of us have this conflict – letting “it” matter too much.  Not the fact that we think we’re fat and ugly but that we let unhappiness with our bodies or looks matter too much. It’s almost embarrassing.

The responses she evoked were all positive and reassuring. Older women saying “you’re beautiful” (she was) and “it gets better as you get older,” and other kind things we say when someone lets on that they are bothered with their appearance.

We all want to make it go away.

I’d just seen an Italian movie where a lot of different kinds of women, with varying bodies, were portrayed as attractive and sexy as opposed to the perfection we’re served up in America, so I mentioned that. I also mentioned Ashley Judd’s recent postings about the backlash she’s gotten for looking “puffy” and how some of her worst, meany, critics were women and how crappy that was.

But honestly what can you tell a smart girl who isn’t happy with the fact that “it” matters so much.

Lecture about the patriarchy? Try to drum up some anger around how women are overly judged on our looks, etc., etc.

Smart gals know all that.

Luckily, brains and talent, two things she had in spades, are longer-term, important, sexy, and sort of win in the end.

But, yeah, the other thing, “it” I wish it didn’t matter so much either.

 

 

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