N is for Naked

1. being without clothing or covering; nude.
2. defenseless; unprotected; exposed.

Despite the fact that GenPink is well pink and I mention bras in my intro the majority of the posts on this blog are fairly unisex. With that being said, this is my disclaimer that this is a female specific post. I’m sorry guys I know with the word naked in the title how could this post not be for you. :D Perhaps I’ll make it up to you in the future.

This guest post was written by Karly Randolph Pitman, a writer, speaker, blogger, and mother of four, offers encouragement for women at First Ourselves.

My 20s were spent in a perpetual quest for skinniness, a relentless pursuit of wearing a size 2. I hated my body. I loathed it. I so desperately wanted it to be…perfect.

Is it any coincidence that my 20s were also full of depression, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness?

At the time, I thought it didn’t matter that I hated my body. After all, I was in good company: most other women I know did, too. I thought the only person I was hurting was myself.

I was so wrong.

Hating my body didn’t just affect me; it affected every woman. Do you despise our culture of female body hatred, of the incessant pull towards physical perfection? I helped create that. Maybe you have, too.

Every little girl on a diet? She was simply following in my footsteps.

I look at my daughters, one a beautiful little girl; the other, a beautiful young woman on the cusp of adolescence. They are fortunate, and blessed to live in modern times. Their foremothers have paved the way for them, clearing the obstacles that hindered earlier generations: They can vote, they have a voice; they can own property. They will witness the first woman in the Oval Office.

So what will prevent my girls from pursuing their dreams? What will keep them trapped? What will stunt their growth? Buying the lie that they are what they look like; that they have to be super skinny to be beautiful, that they must loathe and control and shape their female form into something unnaturally unattainable to be okay. The other freedoms won’t matter, if they aren’t free in their mind: free to love and accept themselves.

I have the power to change that. You do, too. That is why, as a woman, loving your body is some of the most important work that you can do.

It’s important because if it remains unaddressed, it will sabotage anything else you try to do. It’s scary to put yourself out on a limb, to offer your pearls to the world, and hope that it appreciates their value. It’s even scarier if your confidence is undermined, if you’re thinking of all the ways your body doesn’t measure up.

It’s important because you can’t separate your body from the other parts of yourself. You can’t love yourself and hate your body.

It’s important because you can’t be free and clear to love and accept others unconditionally, if you’re not loving and accepting, first, towards yourself.

It’s important because you can’t be the woman, daughter, friend, or woman you wish to be, if you’re consumed about thoughts about your body.

It’s important because hating your body keeps you stuck. It keeps you in bondage, just as surely as violence, sexism, and injustice does.

It’s important because the world needs our sacred femininity.

It’s important because we can’t fix the “big” problems – war, hatred, genocide, or violence – until we first heal these issues internally, in our battle with ourselves.

If you think the world would be a better place if more women ran it, think about how we could run it if we weren’t so preoccupied on things that ultimately don’t matter. Try it from this perspective: if you had to think of a way to suppress the women of the world, what better way to do so than by feeding an obsessive distraction with appearance, so that women can’t focus their energy on what truly needs their help and devotion.

Let’s create a world where little girls aren’t dieting in kindergarten. Let’s create a world where emaciated women are not the ideal. Let’s create a world where we celebrate our bodies by using them to make the world a better place.

Let’s create our alternate universe.

First, ourselves: then, the world.

2 thoughts on “N is for Naked

  1. This one really struck a chord with me. I think that the whole body-fixation really comes into play in the twenties. Not sure why that is, but I see it in all my friends, my sisters…there are only a few people I know who never seem to comment at all on how they wish they were thinner. I hate how much I think about it, but then I can’t stop it even when I decide, “Today, I love my body”. It’s odd, because it’s almost unheard of to be completely at peace with your body – thighs, curvy tummy, size 6-16 and more.

    I truly hope things change – in the media, in our own minds, in the world.

    My nine year old sister was commenting on how she has tummy rolls, when she the most petite, skinny thing you’d ever see. I hate to think that her older sisters were the ones that taught her to look at herself in that way…and the sad thing is, I think we are to blame.

    It’s going to take a whole lot more than a few “normal size” models and those glorious Dove ads to change things, and I’m not sure where it is heading at this point…but we can only try our best to love ourselves first, and then hopefully the rest will come.

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