Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Body Parts

So I want to talk about my body today. Why do hate so many parts of it? I’ve always hated parts of it whether I was at my thinnest at sixteen to my fattest…which would be right now. I don’t want to bore you with the list of things I hate…I just want to talk about the hate. This is how it happened:

I played with Barbie dolls incessantly when I was a child. They usually had blond hair, blue eyes, and perfect bodies. Have you ever read the “Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison? Have you ever read, “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf? Both books inherently describe how this Barbie may have ruined my body image for life.

Then when I was in grade school I read Sweet Valley High. Those girls were so pretty, in fact one of them was a writer and I wanted to be like her because she was smart and pretty. They would show their perfect bodies on the cover, describe their beautiful blond, blue-eyed selves in the descriptions. That may have been strike two.

At the end of Middle school I grew up and grew breasts and was given a little too much extra attention by boys, and a few Uncles of mine. I didn’t understand why looking pretty was sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. This was my first dilemma.

When I got to high-school I started reading fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan and Vogue. In there I did find some darker haired beauties but rarely or maybe never did I see anyone of ethnic origin. What I did see was perfect bodies over and over and over and over again. That was my third mistake.

In high school I wanted to be popular but I wasn’t white, so I hung out with the “alternative” crowd where there were us Asians, Indians and non-blonds. I, along with MANY other girls, was sexually harassed by a few teachers. I wanted a good body and I wanted attention, but why was I getting unwanted attention? This was my second dilemma.

In college I learned about feminism and body image. In college I actually started dating. Men were looking at my body up close and personal. I wanted to believe that my worth was my mind, body and soul. However I wanted the frat boys and the football players and the hot men in my classes to look at me. This was my third dilemma.

In college I really learned about the concept of rape and I didn’t want that, but I wanted to be looked at and hit on and liked by men without them hurting me. This was my fourth dilemma.

When I graduated from college I noticed that in the work place body image was all of sudden supposed to be hidden under conservative clothing, yet there were flirtations and such with even married men. Then I was sexually harassed in a very twisted way. I quit that job. That was my first step towards empowerment.

When I was twenty-four and an Uncle finally did the unthinkable and “accidentally” ended up in my bed. I told my parents, who then confronted him and his family. That was my second step towards empowerment.

When I went to Grad School the man who called my house from my school and wanted me in his class was known to sexually harass his students. I changed professors and never took a class with him even though he was supposed to be one of the best and liked me so much and could have helped me get published. That was my third step towards empowerment.

After Grad School I realized that getting published may mean sucking the right dick (Please excuse my crassness). But it could be true. I never dated, had sex with or even flirted with anyone in the publishing industry. And I’m not published.

Because I want my talent, not my body, ever as flawed as it is, to get me to the top.

So why am I not totally empowered yet? Because I’m a human being. I have insecurities and desires and I’m still confused about a lot of stuff.

So why am I so unhappy with my body still? Because there is a lifetime of bullshit keeping me down as a woman. And I’m working on it, I actually look at my body in the mirror standing naked and tell myself “I love my body.”

It’s hard though, in world where mannequins wear a size zero…it’s a scary world out there. I don’t know why they are always trying to sell us skinny when beauty in every other realm of the word comes in all shapes and sizes.



  1. And it never ends, Nina. At 60, I hate my arms. The rest of me looks great, but my arms have loose "chicken skin" I call it. They need to be shrink-wrapped. As for those perfect looking women? When I'm God they will be considered freaks and ostracized from society. :)

  2. i am glad your parents stuck up for you when your uncle made advances. applauds to them.

    i wish you luck with your desire to find a writing career.