Happy August! Here at Disruptive Women, we’re just wrapping up our July Body Image blog series. We’ve had such a good time reading your comments on the blog and on Facebook, and we wanted to share some of them with the DW community.
One blog post that seemed to strike a chord with many of you was Margaret Huyck‘s Can we appreciate the mature female body? “Janice” left a comment on the blog: “This made me think of the great Lucille Clifton poem, ‘Homage to My Hips.’ We all spend so many years feeling inadequate and misshapen–your essay is a reminder to love what we have, to appreciate our gifts, to celebrate the moment. Thank you!”
A few of our readers wrote about their personal experiences. Loretta Geyer wrote, “Thank you for your honesty and wisdom. I am 55 and am a psychotherapist in long-term care facilities, so the challenges of aging are front and center for me both personally and professionally.” “Lisa J” shares, “This is a great article! I’ve had even more difficulty with ‘who I am’ as I’ve aged with chronic illness… it has taken a long time to discover my intrinsic value.” According to Chris Rosenthal, “I do see a difference in how I am treated, I approach this by using it with humor and hopefully wisdom. I do find that young women are the worst offenders. Their self assurance that this will not be them is almost amusing, if it were not so sad.”
Some of you reveled in Margaret’s message. Monica Costa-Moreno Dabney wrote, “We women are like wine and cheese…. aged to perfection!” Martha Hill Moore added, “Beautifully written. At a point in ancient history (herstory?), the crone was revered as wise and powerful. We must teach our daughters, and teach them well, to embrace every age as it comes as a blessing that brings new knowledge and understanding.”
Sue Naylor Clark felt that Margaret’s post could have gone further: “This beautifully stated dissent is not strong enough. There remains an undertone of ‘even though. I.e., older women are good and valuable ‘even though’ their bodies have changed, ‘even though’ they move more slowly, etc… Older women are different from younger women, no apologies, no explanations, no comparisons.” And finally, Anthony J. Millan supported Margaret’s comments about older women in the media: “I’m annoyed that older womyn in the media are still exposed to ageist values of beauty and are pressured to gain youthful appearances. Even the most powerful womyn in the world.”
Dr. Jeanine Cogan challenged our readers to consider, Are anti-obesity efforts causing body image problems in kids? Our Facebook fans thought it was a good question. Darlene C. Matthews wrote, “Applied wrong sure, applied correctly can only do good in the long term. Yes, I am fat is not a happy place to be.” She advocated for educating parents better. Denise Salvo responded, “Absolutely! Especially when the schools decide health class focus should be placed on avoiding obesity rather than a balanced presentation of a healthy weight.” Nancy Bruning questioned, “Will focusing on health spawn a generation of hypochondriacs?”
We posted two different but equally compelling perspectives on body image in the gender non-conforming community. After reading Melissa Heckman‘s Body Image: I’m a femme Martha Hill Moore praised her writing: “What an incredibly well-written article. It really made me think.” Lori Ellen had a strong opinion about what she thinks should simply be a non-issue: “Omg who cares? Why oh why are people so freaking mean about what shape peoples’ bodies are? I am soooo sick of stupid humans. Leave people alone unless they are abusers or criminals.”
Kait B. Roe‘s Body Image: I’m a butch was recommended on Facebook by 63 people! Many of our commenters had high praise for Kait’s post, including Blossum Gilmour and Eleanor Kerr. Many of you also wanted to express personal support for Kait and this issue. Val Schaeffer wrote, “I think you are beautiful, Kait.” “babz” said, “You are fine with us, just the way you are. signed, with love, my whole family.” There were also some personal takes. “Freeport beach” shared, “You just described my beloved niece… She has a lovely partner whom our whole family adores… She should be allowed to shine for the amazing person that she is. Thank you for writing this!!” Kathryn Ewers Bundy wrote, “I am in love with, and married to a self-described butch who has no desire to be a man. She has said so many of the things you say in this blog. I love her for herself… Thank you for expressing this so well. I want everybody to read it and I do mean everybody. More understanding, less division.”
Two of our own body image bloggers were personally touched by Jennifer Crane‘s From soldier to beautiful civilian. Kait B. Roe wrote, “Soldier and woman… I applaud you on all fronts.” Glenna Crooks wrote, “Thank you for serving in the military, for being among the first American women to assume a combat role,for the work you do now with others and for being so honest about your transition back to civilian life. Yours in a voice I don’t often hear and I’m glad this blog gave you the opportunity to speak out. And by the way, in the event no one has told you lately, you are not only beautiful, you ROCK!”
A big thank you to our hard-working staff and our wonderful bloggers for making the Body Image series a success. And of course, thanks so much to you, our readers – your comments are interesting, inspiring and, yes, disruptive!