I was in the process of writing a post about the Northwestern University sex class controversy (Google it if you haven’t heard) when something real happened to knock that issue into its proper perspective. I can’t tell you what the thing was because it’s not my story to tell. But. Suffice it to say that today I want to say this:
Anyone who tells you that your body is anything other than the beautiful, glorious MIRACLE that it is is, as they say in “Princess Bride,” probably selling something.
No one asked your permission to put toxic thoughts about your body in your head. No one waited until you could give informed consent and then said, “I’d like to tell you what’s wrong with your body; would that be okay with you?” No one said, “Would it be all right if I say how broken and ugly and inadequate you are?” No one stopped to find out if it was okay before they told you all the made-up, fictional reasons you should feel bad about yourself. They just knew they could make a profit if you hated yourself.
No one asked your permission to put those thoughts and beliefs in your head, but there they are. And each of us has the job of finding the beliefs we’re not interested in carrying with us anymore, uprooting them, and finding something new and healthier to take their place. This process is neither easy nor painless. But it is a path to the confidence and joy I advocate everyone bring to bed with them every night.
Negative body image is among the most common causes of sexual dysfunction. But more than that, it’s manufactured misery that generates profits for corporations at the expense of women’s power in the world. It cripples us and keeps us in chains.
I’ll write about the Northwestern thing later. In the meantime, I’m paying attention to the moment by moment beat of a heart, the rise and fall of lungs, the regular oscillation of hormones, the unparalleled complexity and power of a human brain.
I’m not doing this justice, I can tell I’m not. But I desperately want you all to live in the center of your own power. It’s not easy – it’s not even simple. And you can get by without ever managing it, as most people do in this culture which is so inherently toxic.
I can’t change the culture from where I’m sitting, but I absolutely promise I’ll do my bit. I’ll write a book at last. I’ll go places and speak. Maybe some of ya’ll could do some stuff too.