It's Fat Tuesday, and somewhere a woman is probably showing a bunch of strangers her boobs in exchange for beads. You go, girl!
Meanwhile, here at the ranch, there's something that's been coming up a lot lately that I would like to now discuss. I just got done reading this at Jezebel. It's about how everyone is so worried about how thin Megan Fox is! But also, she makes a living being thin and hot! What's a girl to do!
Society believes that it owns women's bodies. I cannot tell you how many times I've been standing in line at the grocery store and noticed a magazine that said, "Tori Something-or-other is TOO THIN! But also, LOOK AT BRITNEY'S FAT ASS!" Have I talked about that before? I feel like I've talked about that before. The message is two-fold. One, women have about a five pound range in which we will find their bodies acceptable. Two, we (meaning everybody) get to discuss women's bodies publicly because what we think of their bodies is very important. More important, oftentimes, than what we think of their work or their character.
The other day I was telling my boyfriend the reasons I used to hate having big boobs. One of them was that people felt like they could just tell me I had big boobs. All. The. Time. I could never figure out why this was a thing we needed to talk about. Believe me--if a girl has big boobs, she knows. Next subject! When a man's body is commented on in the course of the conversation, it's usually somewhat functional. "You're slim, dude, and I was at this store the other day that had clothes that would look great on slim dudes." Not only is it typically functional, but it's also much more rare. For every time my boyfriend has to hear about his slimness, I've probably had to listen to comments about my body from friends and family members 30 times over. Why do we all feel it is so okay to tell a woman what is up with her body?
The message is that women's bodies don't belong to themselves--they belong to the group.
Women comment on women's bodies, too. Let's get that out of the way right now. This is a societally conditioned thing. It's something we all fall into. And believe me, there is nothing wrong with the occasional, "You look nice," or, "Have you done something different with your hair?" But when someone has to listen to five people in one day make a joke or comment about her boobs, it's time to look at what's really going on. When a woman is both praised for, paid for and shown concern over the state of her body, it's time to question why we're talking about these things.
And this isn't about attacking what anyone is attracted to, either. Let's get that out of the way as well. I'm not saying you can't be attracted to a woman. I'm asking why is that a news flash? I'm asking why we have to discuss women's bodies in what I think are inappropriate situations? You want to tell me you like my boobs when we're in bed together (honey, sweetie, fiance, love of my life only)? Have at it. Knock yourself out. You want to talk to me about my boobs at all during a conversation about Linguistics class? Fuck off. You want to comment about my figure while we're at work? Who do you think you are?
You are part of the society that says, "I own you. I get to express my pleasure/concern over the state of your body whether or not you've asked for my opinion on this subject because my opinion on this subject is inherently important. Because you are a woman, and, therefore, just a body."
My tattoo says, "I am not a body. I have a body. I am a soul." I got that tattoo when I felt like I'd successfully recovered from anorexia and bulemia. I got it to celebrate the fact that I'd taken my body back from all the people who felt like it was okay to tell me what they thought of my body. Make no mistake. It was me who chose to listen. But, "I have a body." That means this body--it's all mine.