I found out late on Friday evening that Saturday the 29th of October 2011 had been designated this year’s I Heart My Body Day 2011.
The first post I came across was from Random Ramblings of a Stay At Home Mum. I then came across Veggie Mama’s, the Good Googs, Edenland’s (which made me laugh out loud – she’s so equally hilarious and wise) and the post from Glowless.
I spotted a few more posts, but by then I already found myself nodding along with this campaign and telling hubby about it. The words out of my mouth were how much I supported promoting the wonder and beauty of a mother’s body. As expected, it made me think about my body and how I feel about it.
I’m generally happy with my body, actually, more so after having two babies than before. I do occasionally lament the signs of aging, such as my greying hair and less supple skin and a few wobbly bits here and there, but overall, I’m okay about it now. And hubby was right to encourage me to see my jelly belly, saggier bust and stretch marks not as “battle scars” but as my “badges of honour” for becoming a mother.
I continued with the posts, but the more pics I skimmed, the more I realised how conflicted I was starting to feel. Here I was espousing the message that every body is beautiful and amazing and powerful and yet I found myself feeling more positive towards those images that fit western society’s “standard”. In some cases, I even found myself questioning……..basically, judging, some slimmer ones and wondering what there was to complain about if they already mirrored western society’s “standard” of beauty?
Even though I try not to be physically self-conscious or affected by society’s “standard”, especially for the sake of my two little girls, I can see I still am. My words said one thing but my deeper emotions belied the truth.
I had to remind myself that one’s body image is a very personal topic influenced by many factors. Some people are skinny and want to be curvier. Some are larger and want to be thinner. Some are busty and want to be smaller. Some want bigger booty. Some want smaller thighs. Some want to be taller or shorter. Some want curly hair, straight hair, blonde hair, brown hair. Others want smaller feet, softer skin, less wrinkles. The list goes on and on.
Realistically, we can’t be all of these things. Genetics dictate a lot about how we are and we can’t change that, short of cosmetic procedures. Culture also dictates the definition of “beauty”, something I am conscious of from personal experience, having both Chinese and Caucasian heritage, and having lived in both cultures.
The priority should be about our health; being the best and healthiest we can be. The additional priority should be to model true inner beauty for our children, the girls in particular, but also for our boys so they grow up with a respectful view of girls and women.
Campaigns like “I Heart My Body Day” and others such as The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty and The Body Shop’s activism show “real” women and help to counter the endless touched up and unrealistic images of outer beauty we are bombarded with. A step further would be campaigns or movements, such as The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem, 7 Wonderlicious and Pigtail Pals, that also work on promoting healthy self-esteem and inner beauty for our girls.
I know this might sound too simplistic. It’s hard to change thinking so ingrained in society but it can be done. It’s about the value placed on what we define as “beautiful“. After all, weren’t curvy models the “in thing” a few generations ago?
How did you feel about “I Heart My Body” day? What do you think about the message we need to model for our children?
Note: This is not a sponsored post by Dove, the Body Shop. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.