Wednesday, June 28, 2006

From Object to Subject

Feminist thought often fuels the way I think about women’s struggles with body image. Recently, it occurred to me that while men are appreciated for what they accomplish, women often find favor for how they appear. This certainly takes its toll in the way we feel about our bodies.

Men DO. Women ARE.

It seems to me that an important goal here would be to make the transition from body as object to body as subject—in other words, to figure out: What can your body DO?

Mine can:
1) Run, bike, and swim
2) Carry 10 bags of groceries from the car to the house in one trip
3) Hug you
4) Dance (for hours at a time)
5) Climb mountains
6) Revel in the warm sun after an ocean dip
7) Since I live in NYC, serve as my mode of transportation
8) Produce other bodies
9) (Egged on by a mind that makes dangerous, but exhilarating, decisions), rappel, zip-line, parasail, and fly on the trapeze

The more you think about what your body can DO, the less time you have to focus on its shape, it’s size, or simply how it IS.

What can your body DO?


PalmTreeChick said...

My body has done incredible things for me, i.e. make me an All-American athlete, but I still chose to hate it and beat it up. I also still think that I could have been better and wasn't good enough (for myself).

I try to be thankful for my health and what I have, but I'm not very good at that. I just want to be thinner and better.

Interesting post to think about though.

kathrynoh said...

I'm constantly amazed at what my body can do when I push it. After spending my life thinking I couldn't run, I realised this year that I can :)

Thinking about this I also realised that our bodies are a pivotal part of our creativity. We can invision great things in our minds but it's only when we process those things through our bodies that we can share them with others.

linda said...

drstacey, this post blew me away. It gave so much food for thought...Thanks for the mind shift.

drstaceyny said...

PTC--but, why????? An All-American athlete? Quite an accomplishment. . .

Kathryn--I just put it together that you're from idiet! (had seen your comments on Shaunta's blog)

Congratulations on exceeding your expectations. Now, just be careful with the knees! (said from experience)

I like the body-creativity part--reminds me of feelings. So often, people (that I work with, that I know, ME!) GET something (i.e., a change we need to make) at a mental level, but it doesn't really click until we FEEL it (and that happens at an emotional and visceral level, which, of course, involves the body).

Linda--glad you found it useful. : )

Also, to Jinniyah, who commented elsewhere in my blog (but I can't find it. . . because I have only slightly more computer literacy than my dog. . .) thanks for reading and for your support.

(cheesy statement ahead) It's really all of you that have helped me to continue to write. I'm, of course, glad that you have found some of it helpful, but your comments and readership have also been quite helpful to me.

PalmTreeChick said...

I don't know why, Drstacey. I strive for "perfection." I want no fat on my body. (yes, I know the health complications of that). I just want to have what I consider to be the perfect body.

Yeah, 2 time All-American and it still isn't good enough in my eyes. I always think I could have been better. I miss that competition!