Stef (firecat) wrote,

Stef's Rants 2005 series #1 "body image"

Requested by sistercoyote

This seems to be more a disconnected series of small thoughts about body image than a rant per se.

When people (probably especially women) think of body image, and when they think of their bodies, it seems to me that they tend to think first and foremost about what their bodies look like to other people. Why don't more people think first about their bodies in terms of how they work? In the end, shouldn't it be more important that your senses are capable of delivering pleasure to your brain than that your shape is capable of delivering pleasure to someone else's brain? Shouldn't it be more important to you that, even if parts of your system aren't working as well as they used to or never were entirely right, the rest of you does function and lets you do what you can do, lets you be who you are?

In one fat acceptance book I read, I learned that some fat people who feel good about themselves tend to have an internal body image (in the sense of how their body looks) that is smaller than their actual body is. Normally, psychologists say that having a distorted body image is bad, but the author says that this is a good thing because it allows these people to go out and be active in society without feeling extremely different from other people.

I really don't understand the increase in plastic surgery among entire subcultures of well-to-do and not-even-that-well-to-do (it's not just for movie stars any more) folks. My favorite movie critic, Roger Ebert, looks like he has recently had a bunch of plastic surgery. To my eye, he looks really unnatural now. I just don't understand what people get out of artificially smoothing themselves.

I watch too many nature shows on TV. Sometimes when they're talking about a herd animal and about how they tend to push out herd members that are different because the herd instinct is uncomfortable with individuals that don't blend in, I think that human beings are herd animals. We make little groups and push out everybody who looks different. And from an individual psychology point of view, it seems very easy to be utterly terrified of feeling different from everybody else. (Note that feeling different from the mainstream, but having a set of people who share your values or traits, is not the same thing as feeling different from everybody, and it's the latter that I think is terrifying to a lot of people.)
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