Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the body police

It's Wednesday already... I must agree with the lovely Kate from Tuesday who pondered where does the week go... Where did the day go for that matter?

Anyways... I was going to write about this song that's been stuck in my head... Pennies From Heaven (if you've never heard it.. you simply must)... but I've changed my mind

This concept struck me whilst at work watching women police their own bodies. That's what they appeared to be doing. Policing their bodies.

It's interesting. I did a radio interview  (you can listen to the archive of it here by clicking on March 7th) on Monday night with a good friend of mine, Erica. I discussed the advertising world (at the very end of the interview) and I've been developing my thoughts on the whole situation.

We're surrounded by the body police. We hear from them on the television. We see their words in magazines. Our friends morph into them occasionally. Strangers can become the body police. However, WE can also be our own body police.

The thing to remember here is that while it's easy to focus on the media, the one instance of the body police that we can truly change is the last one I mentioned. Ourselves.

You may be thinking to yourself that you don't police your own body. I assure it occurs far more often than what we'd think. I'm currently in college and have a job working in a fitting room. I hear women all the time come in and if some article of clothing does not fit them they initially turn to blaming themselves. Now let's look at that sentence structure really quickly. the verb "does" (in this case the negated verb) belongs to the noun "clothing" NOT "themselves". Meaning that it's the clothing that is doing it (or not doing it) NOT the person.

Clothing is cut different ways. Clothing sizes vary from brand to brand. Every woman has a unique shape. Look beyond the clothing. Usually when I have a woman start to berate herself, I offer (or try to) some insight into why that article is not working - I ALSO offer insight into what might work better that still fits their general style. I go out into the store, I grab some items, come back... they try them on - and usually they wind up feeling better. More assured.

However, it's still saddening how quick we are to think that there's a problem with our bodies. I think the media tells us to police ourselves, but if we quit doing it. Imagine what could happen. As Eve Ensler once said, "quit fixing your body. Start fixing the world"

so much energy exerted enveloping the role of the body police. we should really be policing how we communicate with ourselves.

how is your self communication today?

1 comment:

  1. Until I had some experience with an eating disorder program, I had never really realized the extent to which people "body check" (look at your body in a critical and harsh manner to check for imperfections or "fat"). You'll see people (often women) peering into car windows, the glassy fronts of shops, frenetically checking to make sure they still exist in an acceptable state to be viewed.

    You have a very keen insight about it being the clothes being the problem--not the people. And I think it goes beyond that; women often blame themselves for other peoples' problems and internalize all sorts of unearned guilt. Especially in relation to their bodies.

    I like that you started offering help to the customers who were floundering with their shopping experience. A nice looking, good fitting outfit can change the way you perceive your physical space. But I think we have to be willing to accept ourselves AS IS to really get the most out of enjoying that space...

    Thanks for the great post.


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