I Love My Body

I love my body. As a woman raised in a society that teaches women that their bodies are imperfect and inferior, I bring to this love a sense of heart-felt victory. 

It is important to note that I did not spend my life trying to hammer my body into some artificial idea of perfection. Even if I had one of the body types that have been pre-selected as perfectable — and I do not — it wouldn’t have worked because I did what everyone does all the time every day: I got older. 

Being old — a subjective state that depends on what you’re trying to do — makes it impossible to be perfect in any physical sense. And like most young people, I didn’t realize how cute I was when I was young. I was still struggling with not being “right”.

Because all women get that lesson. We’re not right.

I’m discussing this in terms of women, because I’m most familiar with how that happens. Men, at least straight white men within a range of body types, don’t get these lessons the same way. 

There are a number of other body issues that come up for those who are trans or nonbinary or otherwise not part of what society has deemed to be the way things are. The history of mocking gay men as too feminine and lesbians as too male sets the stage for even harsher abuse of trans and nonbinary people.

All people raised as women, in pretty much all cultures, get the message that their bodies are imperfect. In some cultures, they are even treated as the source of all sin (evangelical Christians, for example). Their bodies are wrong.

I learned to love my body by taking up martial arts. I know that’s a stretch, because one aspect of martial arts is learning to do things with your body, some of which are very difficult. And further, martial arts training is often based on some very male thinking, so the idea of what bodies are supposed to do and how they are supposed to look makes the assumption that women are inferior in some way.

And yet, training first in karate and later more extensively in Aikido taught me to love my body, because I figured out that I learned things by using my body, that I was not just the person who thought, but also the person who moved.  Continue reading “I Love My Body”