Pears, apples, string beans, rulers: not just inanimate objects anymore! Put these items on your grocery list nowadays, and you’re bound to come home with a bag full of diversely-shaped women instead of food or measuring tools. But why?
I recently searched “body shapes” on Google, and the results were pretty interesting. Nearly all of the first ten links had something to do with categorizing one’s body, whether it was through a quiz, fashion guide, or “shape guide.”
There was even a Body Type Calculator (thank heavens! My TI-83 wasn’t ready for that one.). Not surprisingly, there weren’t any links about how everyone has a different body shape and how we should each love the one we’ve been given.
Our culture is so obsessed with categorizing things that even our bodies can’t escape judgment. We have been taught from the cave(wo)man days to judge things in order to stay alive. Shelter: good. Saber tooth chasing me: bad.
This black-and-white, all-or-nothing way of thinking is what made the best and the brightest stand out. They were able to judge “correctly” and live. And it’s pretty great that our species has survived… but I think it’s time to ditch this whole no-shades-of-gray business.
There are just some things we no longer need to label in order to survive, bodies being one of them. By refusing to label our bodies, we reject the beauty ideal that has been spoon-fed to us by our culture, and we show the world that beauty lies in all bodies.
One of the things I’ve learned from hot yoga is that I can live fully in a moment without needing to judge my reflection or those of others around me. Our bodies can be used as the mediums through which our souls sing, and it’s not necessary to categorize them. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I have a body that allows me to make my mark on this world—and I don’t care what the heck kind of fruit or vegetable my body resembles!
As a last note of body love victory, take a look at Jes Baker’s amazing new (and nude, potentially NSFW) project: A Love Letter to the World Through Our Magnificent Bodies. Jes teamed up with a photographer who took pictures of 68 radiant, beautiful women in the nude. And let me tell you, there was some insane body love goin’ on.
Jes’s goal is to show the world that women’s bodies come in all different builds, colors, breast sizes, and stretch-mark patterns. They don’t have to be categorized as apples or rulers; they don’t have to be labeled as “good” bodies or “bad” bodies.
And that is okay.
In fact, it’s more than okay: it’s awesome.
Elizabeth Frankel is a Minnesotan who loves psychology, theatre, and anything related to horses. She seeks to understand why the world is the way it is through critical thinking, and when that fails, she just employs sarcasm.