When I was around four years old, I announced to my parents, “I like my round belly!” Probably not a sentence you’d expect to hear from a 14-year-old or 24-year-old — by then, sadly, we learn that round bellies and mainstream standards of beauty don’t mix.
But I was reminded of my upbeat four-year-old announcement when I saw this photo series from Interrupt Mag, in which girls ages four to nine describe what they love about their bodies. Some girls liked their hair, some girls liked their hands, some girls liked their whole bodies.
And as Interrupt Mag says, “All of them think about their bodies in terms of practicality: their bodies are tools, with the possibility to do so many things: draw, write, see, walk, run, dance.”
As we get older, we tend to stop focusing on what we can do, and instead focus on what we wished was different about our appearance.
Are women’s bodies useful and powerful? Or just ornamental? It was clear which idea held more sway right before the 2012 summer Olympics.
Championship weightlifter Sarah Robles couldn’t secure a corporate sponsorship to help her pay her bills while she trained because — as she herself said — “You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini, but not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy.”
Olympic gymnasts and beach volleyball players are top athletes just like Robles, but they got more attention (and money) in 2012 because they fit mainstream beauty standards.
I don’t know how Sarah Robles feels about her body, but I think her ability to lift over 500 pounds is pretty spectacular.
And for those of us who can’t lift multiple hundreds of pounds, our bodies do other things that are no less spectacular: walking, drawing, dancing, singing.
Maybe we’d all feel a little more positive about our bodies if we remembered how we thought about them when we were four years old.
Sasha Albert holds a Master’s degree in Gender and Sexuality from the University of Amsterdam, and participates in reproductive health and justice activism in the Boston area.
Sarah Robles may be able to liftover 500 pounds, but she is neither attractive, nor feminine, or soft or sensual. It’s a shame to look like this, for a woman. Where is her unique, gorgeous femninity? Why do we want to be men? 🙁
She’s a tomboy. We do not all want to be men. I personally can always be seen in a black dress, and I love lacy dresses, lipstick, and hoop earrings. I also sew and care for my brother.
You are entitled to your opinion no matter how hateful you are. She is the fighting for you even though you have malice towards others. It is It’s very easy to say hurtful things when you cant be seen.I think you are trying to make yourself feel better. Too bad your parents or guardians didn’t teach you manners.Im guessing you are beautiful outside but on the inside you have a black heart.I hope people treat you the same as you treat them. Sarah is on of the kindest people you would ever want to meet and she can always find good in everyone, it may take a lot of searching to find good in you but she would.
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