Graced With a Reminder, Combatting Body Image Issues

By, Heather Rice

MasterPeace Boutique (Featuring “You are a MasterPeace” Reminder Bangles)

Just last night I clicked on a performance video I was tagged in on social media. (In my other life I am a singer/songwriter). I looked over at my husband and said with deprecation, ” Ugh! Couldn’t he find a better angle? I hate the way I look in this video”.  He immediately said, as he always says, “Babe, you have such a warped view of yourself. You are beautiful.” Yep, he’s a keeper. I sheepishly grinned and made yet another inner pact with myself to not judge myself so harshly. To be honest, I’m mortified that I even had to have this conversation. I am the CEO of an apparel line called MasterPeace Apparel that empowers women and that tells me and every one of us that we are a masterpiece, no matter what size, shape, color, or age. Hello! I’d like to think that I’d kicked these insecure thoughts and habits, just like I’ve kicked that second cup of coffee, but… I guess I’m a work in progress. It’s humbling to realize that you need to learn the same damn lessons an infinite number of times. And yet, here I am: humbled.

Dena and I had a photo shoot centered around our hot off the press Starry Seamless Panty and Bralette. It was so important to us that our sweet models, Alex and Chelsea, felt empowered and not objectified while bearing so much skin for the camera. We were lucky to have a fabulous Mexican photographer, Ale Hidalgo, and she held such a safe space for us all during the shoot. Before scheduling the shoot, I researched the meanings of “empowered” and “objectified”. While an experience or visual representation one person may find “sexually awakening”, another may find to feel harmful or degrading; therefore, perception is most paramount. In an article from the publication, Everyday Feminism, Ronnie Ritchie writes ” Sexual empowerment is active. It’s ownership. Autonomous. Self-serving. Objectification, on the other hand, is a passive relenting of control. It’s powerless. Self-sacrificial.” I found this to be very interesting.

Without frolicking too far down this twisty turney rabbit hole, I think we can all agree that this is a sensitive issue that we must approach with compassion and a willingness. A lot of people carry hurt surrounding their body image issues.

One cannot deny that from the dawn of time women have been portrayed so unrealistically in the media that many young people have been brain washed to hate their bodies. It seems that objectification is a profitable enterprise.  Do Something.Org shows us how our girls are unknowingly paying that price in their article: 11 Facts about Body Image:

– Twenty years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, they weigh 23% less than the average woman.
– The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
– One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder.
– In 2007, there were about 11.7 million cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. Ninety one percent of these were performed on women.
– A study found that 53% of thirteen-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.

Make your skin crawl a little bit? Mine too.  So, I suppose my body image has been shaped since I was a little girl. And comparing a real, live, human body to a photograph or a video is never accurate.  As Ani DiFranco said, in on of my favorite songs called “Evolve”, “I have the kind of beauty that… moves.” (I highly recommend her empowering album: http://www.righteousbabe.com/collections/ani-difranco/products/evolve#.V1m4IBQrJE4) I have struggled, as many of us have, to love my own body as she is.  Every time I brush my hair, feel my “love rolls” pinched by my jeans just out of the wash, or step out of the shower to “take stock” as I’ve done in the past, instead a meaningless habitual grimace I must try to look at my only body in the mirror and say “I love you, just the way you are today. Thank you for carrying my heart.”

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The lie is that I am not good enough, but the answer is that am a masterpeace: a loving re-iteration of my truth from God. And as my inner emotional life is always a work in progress, a wild garden in constant need of tending,  I am graced with this reminder, and humbled… once again.

 

Sources:

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/04/empowered-vs-objectified/

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